zanzjan: (Default)
Things Written:
Zombie Cabana Boy, horror short story.
Surf, science fiction novelette
Ancou, science fiction novel (the flesh-eating bacteria one) first draft

Things Published:
Zombie Cabana Boy in Black Static 17. One review (that recommended it) referred to it as "toe-cringingly tacky", which is *exactly* what I was going for and pleased me greatly.

Submission Stats:
11 things submitted total this year:
- 1 sale
- 7 rejections
- 3 still pending
121 submissions total since I started writing:
- 10 sales (9% of overall, full list here)
- 101 rejections
- 6 withdrawals
- 4 total pending

Of the pending:
Tor: 1765
Tor.com: 239
Analog: 26
Other Market: 3

Conventions attended:
None.

---

That was my year in writing. Not bad with a full-time IT job and being a single parent to a moody teenager and two toddlers. (-: I think it's unlikely I'll make it to any conventions this year, though I'm sort of thinking about Balticon (which I've never been to before) or Wiscon if I can work out the travel logistics. Chances are good I won't be at too many cons until the sprogs hit an age where they can participate in kid programming, which is still another couple of years away.

Projects for 2011:
revise, finish, and submit novel Ancou
finish unnamed short story (currently ~1k) started this week
finish the Aztec story
finish the mountain story
continue to seek an agent
attempt to find new in-person writing group
zanzjan: (Default)
This was an even worse year for writing than reading, for much the same reasons except with an added dash of despair on top to really dampen efforts.

First, as to the business end of things: I sold nothing this year. Two pieces of mine appeared in print for the first time: my plant in the Field Guide to Surreal Botany anthology, and my story Concession Girl in Interzone 217. The lack of sales is largely explained by my failure to submit much of anything: I made a total of 4 submissions this year (3 of which are still out) and one agent query (swiftly but kindly rejected.) It is also in small part explained by this apparently being the year of Never Hearing Back, as I have, as of the end of 2008, five pieces out on submission and every single one is long past its expected response date.

My writing is really important to me, but I wonder if I'm dooming myself to failure by my general unwillingness to make a pain in the ass out of myself (intentionally, at least -- I'm sure I do it more than often enough unintentionally.) I don't like to hassle people, I don't like to pester, I don't like to be angry at people or have them angry or irritated at me. While I've sent queries on some of the more outrageously outstanding submissions, I haven't been aggressive about it because I don't want to be that kind of pushy. And so I flounder.

As to the creative side of things: also, a very dry year. I finished no new stories. I made forward progress on several old ones, started some new ones, and most importantly I revised/fixed/rewrote what I had of a first draft of Miledrop so far, to the tune of some 42k, and in so doing have gotten rid of the roadblocks that were keeping me from moving the story forward. Now that we're nearly through the obligations of the holidays I'm just about ready to jump back in. It'd be nice to have a complete first draft of this sometime before spring, get it out to my faithful beta readers, and maybe have a final manuscript ready to go before the end of fall.

So that's my primary writing goal for 2009: finish Miledrop. It would be nice to finish up a couple of the shorter things too. Also, I need to find a way to resolve the status of those things that have been out there for far too long already, in such a way that I don't feel like I've burned any bridges or turned away from opportunities.

At the very least one hopes that next year at this time, this report will be less threadbare.
zanzjan: (Default)
Only read a pathetic 39 books this year, but I've been kinda busy. I'd hoped to make it to 40, and I expect I'll have finished my first book of 2009 before New Year's Day is over, but distraction with furnace woes derailed my plans to curl up in the comfy chair in the library and read for the evening.

There were a lot of really worthwhile books in this year's lot. If I had to pick any as the absolute top, I'd have to choose Karl Schroeder's Virga trilogy. The worldbuilding was exquisite, and on top of that it was also just a great, fun, cool adventure story. With pirates! Man, this series just pushed all my happy-reader buttons and I couldn't get enough. I find myself hoping he adds more books to that series over time, as I suspect he could go quite a while yet before he exhausts even a tiny percentage of what he's built.

Other great reads: Stross's Halting State, McDonald's Brasyl, and Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union -- all Hugo contenders (the last the winner) and each of them deserved the award. In some ways it was a relief not to be voting this year, as I'm not sure I could have picked among them. I would strongly suggest not reading McDonald and Chabon back to back, though; McDonald's book is liberally peppered with Brazilian slang (with a handy glossary in the back), and Chabon's is similarly filled with Yiddish slang (with a handy glossary in the back) and by the time I was done reading both I kept mentally switching back and forth in my brain from Yiddish --> Portuguese --> English and ending up very confused.

Jasper Fforde's The Fourth Bear was ludicrously fantastic, and there's not a thing I could say about the plot that wouldn't spoil it something awful. I finally read me some Scalzi and didn't regret it one bit. Oh, and Leonie Swann's Three Bags Full, picked up entirely on a whim because the cover caught my eye, was delightful. Rachel Caine remains my top (really, only) choice for the occasional paranormal-romance wordcandy fix.

As far as worst book, there weren't any absolute dogs in this year's run, but the blatant sexism and racism in some of the Agatha Christies was bothersome (yeah yeah, "times they were written in" and all that.) I also finally got around to C.S. Lewis' Out of the Silent Planet and very much enjoyed the first half of the book (where stuff actually happened) but then the second half was just total smug, somewhat condescending theological wankery. I also entirely failed to enjoy Ken MacLeod's Execution Channel, where I usually like his books -- this one just felt like the concepts hadn't had the time they needed to mature, as if he wrote it before he was ready. That was probably the most disappointing book of the year.

Anyhow, the full list of books is behind a cut )
zanzjan: (Default)
the year in review (long and image-heavy) )

So that's the recap. I hope your year was pleasant, and your next even more so.

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