I am giving myself 17 min for this post, and then I have to go to bed so I’d have a fighting chance to get up at 4:30 tomorrow.
So forgive lack of editing etc etc.
I know many of you don’t care for my fiction-related pursuits, but I have it on good authority (mine; people sent me emails) that some do actually enjoy these posts.
Here are random thoughts; they are the best thoughts.
I don’t know that I’m very good/any good at fiction, but I know I am already much better than the first time I submitted a story in August (has it been that long)?
I have published/or have forthcoming what is now 10 stories, 4 flash (under 1000) and 6 microfiction (ultrashort flash, up to 100). I have 6 pending (2 micro, 3 flash, one short story longer than a flash).
The long one (about 2000 words) has been shortlisted at a good market and is waiting for the issue cull. That one is the weirdest and perhaps best one I’d written and soooo fun. Anyway, it was rejected twice from top markets with personalized rejection letters and invitation to send them more stuff, which is as good of a rejection you can hope to get.
I have another flash that I think is really good and that has been with a great SFWA-listed market (means they publish SF/F and pay a professional rate) for a conspicuously long time, which I guess means I have passed the first cull. I hate that this makes me hopeful and I hate that I will be soo disappointed if/when they cut me near the very end. But at least it means they liked it… And why can’t I believe that they would actually take it? I’ve got issues, obviously.
What have I learned?
I am timid: I really have no belief in my abilities (why should I, seriously) and am greatly dependent on external recognition. This is not cool. I think with some actual successes this will get better, at least temporarily. I am envious when I see people publishing their first story in a great zine. But I am too impatient for many top zines; I want my fix fast. I tell myself that this is a hobby, I do not have to have my freak competitive flag fly.
I do best when I write what I want to write, without worrying about what I think is wanted. I don’t do great at writing contests, although I took part in only two, and I am still really really new, and, you know, a dilettante. I need to balance writing for craft-development sake and writing for publication. I think I will keep writing microfiction pieces but hold on to them, post them here or on the other blog, and use them to experiment more.
I am seeing patterns. I know this is not 100% or whatever, but women seem to produce these heartfelt pieces, whereas the pieces written by men, even when they are personal or supposed to feature vulnerability, end up being a whole level more detached. I don’t know how much I am imagining or projecting or whatever, but there’s a definite difference between the tone of supposedly equivalently heartfelt pieces written by men and women.
I am ashamed to admit that wish I could write more like a guy. Internalized misogyny and whatnot, but I wish I could produce acclaimed, respected prose, without having to sell my heart, if that makes sense.
In that vein, I have today cemented the status of the weirdest member of my kickboxing gym (as if being the only one with an accent weren’t enough) because I polled my fellow gym-goers on how they would write down the sound made by kicking a heavy bag. Everyone scratched their head for a few seconds. I love awakening the nerd in people. But yeah. that’s me being all research- and business-like about my fiction.
I am sitting on this story about aliens because I have noticed the SF community, especially hard SF, to be unbelievably nitpicky about getting the science right. Thus, I have read this paper on neural networks deriving the relationship between number of limbs and limb-to-body-length ratio based on neural network connectivity because I want creatures with a certain number of limbs.
I’m also looking into discovered habitable planets with stars whose peak in the emission spectrum is at a specific wave length because I want photosynthetic organisms to have a certain color…
So that’s me, and with a minute to spare. How’s your week going?