What the hell I’ve been up to in 2013

Well, you can’t do everything at once, and I’m not good at New Year’s Resolutions, but I’m proud to say it’s been a good six months of writing for me — which was my goal for this year. And, oddly enough, all of it was werewolf-related…

Unfortunately, it means I haven’t been blogging as much, though I did have a blast writing a guest post on Roger Zelazny for the ever-Insatiable Booksluts, getting to interview Allison Moon on feminist werewolves, and welcoming both her and werewolf author Rhiannon Held to each write guest posts for As You Were. Throw in a couple of book reviews for the Winnipeg Free Press and an interview for Prairie Books Now, and you might think I was done tooting my own horn. But no!

OK, I will just come out and say that after years slogging away at my werewolf novel, Bark at the Moon, I finally threw down the gauntlet to myself and said “Finish the damn thing!” (a.k.a. “write a new draft that hangs together and keeps all the cool stuff from the previous seven drafts”). Because I make a stupid habit of posting to Facebook about this, in the ensuing discussion, I declared I’d start the new draft in January and finish it by the spring equinox. Managed to do that with about a week to spare.

So: goal No. 1: ACCOMPLISHED.

Then I decided I was really tired of looking at my only published writing in book form on the shelf of my office — some anthologies published while I was in high school. I’ve had short fiction published in print and online, but I wanted to get some new books on that shelf. And, I decided, having given up on pantsing, there was no reason why I couldn’t outline and write a batch of new stories and send them out there, even as I started looking for new markets for some old stories. (Douglas Smith has an excellent series on writing short fiction in the speculative fiction market, which has been a godsend for me, and should be for any writer looking to make a career of it or even just get published regularly.)

So, I picked a number of anthologies, checked the deadlines, and started writing. Currently I have four new werewolf stories written and submitted, plus a previously published one I started shopping around as a reprint. I’ve heard back on two submissions — a rejection, and an acceptance.

Better yet, the acceptance came from one I was really hoping to break into: Tesseracts 17. If you’re not familiar with the Tesseracts series, it’s an annual Canadian anthology of speculative fiction published by Edge. My story, “Sin A Squay,” will be included in this years’ edition when it is published this fall.

So: Goal No. 2: ACCOMPLISHED

Since it turns out writing short stories takes a lot of time and I have a novel that needs another look (I feel I am always going to be revising it, until a publisher pries it out of my hands), I’m not sure what my goals for the second half of the year will be, other than to keep sending stories out and finding that novel a home. I’m not quite as brave as Chadwick Ginther, who posts his goals every month or so and then reports on them. I may just keep reporting success after the fact 😛

We’ll see how the rest of 2013 goes, but for right now… it’s feeling AWESOME.

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8 thoughts on “What the hell I’ve been up to in 2013

  1. Thanks for the link! I’ve been wanting to sell my short stories and had no idea where to start. I’ll definitely check that out.

    It sounds like you’re really progressing with your goals, which is awesome. It’s never easy to get back into a novel once you’ve taken a break from it. Congrats!

    • Thanks! And I can’t recommend Doug’s series strongly enough. It made me realize I’d been approaching the writing, submission and business of short stories in a totally haphazard fashion and this, as much as any defects in the stories themselves, was resulting in not getting more of them published.

  2. Okay… here is my best publisher advice: put the novel down and step away, no one needs to get hurt here! lol – Every author, myself included, constantly wants to touch and retouch their work. There comes a time when you have to let it stand on its own merit, and keep your clawed paws off it. (said with kind and caring guidance) 😉

    • That is very, very helpful to hear from an outside source! Part of the things I thought needed addressing were fundamental problems, but I have not reread the whole thing since finishing the draft. I now see there are likely a few things that really need fixing, but that it’s basically ready.

  3. I remember putting down a draft of my fantasy novel for three months and then going back to line-edit and discovering I could cut 3,000 words by using contractions where appropriate. And all this after I’d thought I’d handled all the language issues. Sometimes it feels like it never ends!

    • Indeed. Gah!
      It’s amazing how the first version, even of a new draft, is full of a writer’s tics and bad habits (at least mine are). I write so many things I’d copy or line edit out of anyone else’s MS, and my own when I look at it again.
      But… what made the difference this time around was outlining before starting the new draft. Cut 60,000 words without blinking and never missed them.

      • That’s inspiring! And you’re so right. When we’re drafting and even for a while in the immediate revision process, we’re just too close to see anything because everything we mean is already inside our heads. I never let my CW students get away with half the flaws I don’t even see in my own WIPs.

        • It’s the main reason I trust editors and crit partners. Whether I agree with the fixes they may provide, I know they’re seeing problems I just don’t.

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