The fifty-sixth author interview on TBPL Off the Shelf went live today. This time I interviewed H. Leighton Dickson about self-publishing her first books, why she writes spec fic, and all the things going on in her head (story related!) You can find the interview here!
So earlier in the week, I got sick. It sucked, because while I was feeling completely like crap, I didn’t feel like working on that short story I’ve got on the go (even though I had just a few paragraphs left to go on that editing pass!)
But what I did end up doing was reading. Quite a bit, actually. As of today, I finished one book and read two more, including Steve Brusatte’s The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, which I read in about 24 hours (thanks in large part to starting it while waiting to see a doctor yesterday). The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs actually ended up being book 25 in my reading challenge! So yes, as of earlier today, I accomplished one of my goals for the year – I read 25 books! At least some good came of being sick. 🙂
In all seriousness though, I am feeling a bit better today. I’m now on antibiotics, which I think is the main reason for that. I’ve eaten a bit more today without feeling super nauseous (thanks to being nauseous, I barely ate anything over the last two days). I’ve spent the evening making soup (it seriously has ended up an entire evening affair – I started at about 6pm, and it finally finished at almost midnight! Oh well, at least I now have soup). And over the last few hours of soup making, I sat down to finish this editing pass on my short story. 🙂
So with my story shaping up, I went to go and check the Duotrope listing I’m planning on submitting it to. The listing closes in about a week and a half, so I’ve still got plenty of time to work on it. Unfortunately, I just realized the listing wants short stories of 3500- 5000 words in length. And their website says they are looking for horror (the Duotrope listing says horror, sci fi, and fantasy). This story is currently quite a bit shorter than 3500 words (it’s now 2440, which is over 1000 words longer than the first draft, so it’s moving in the right direction), and is not at all a horror. I just sent them a message over Facebook asking about the genre and whether they are open to accepting shorter submissions (someone else asked about the shorter submissions on their website, but they didn’t answer). And of course after I asked my questions I found that they say they are open to all forms of speculative fiction. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get this story to 3500 words or not. But that’s a problem for another day. For tonight I’m just happy to be done this editing pass! And whether it gets submitted anywhere or not, at the very least it will hopefully be one of the two polished short stories I wanted to write this year. 🙂
Whoops, I meant to post this on Friday. But that’s okay, I have a little more to report after today, too.
I’ve actually spent a fair amount of time writing outside with my laptop. I’ve been taking a lap-desk out and just hanging out in the backyard. I don’t have very good internet access, especially if I’m away from the house, but that hasn’t been much of a problem; I’ve mainly been editing a short story I wrote, so the few times I needed to look something up quick I just used my phone.
The idea to write outside with my laptop started after last week, when I gardened. A few weeks prior to that, a brand new deck was built at the back of the house. So between the deck and all the gardening, my backyard is a very happy place where I’d like to be hanging out in as much as possible during these short summer months.
The first afternoon I went outside, I didn’t hang out on the deck because I thought that it was in direct sunlight through the entire afternoon (until about mid-evening). Well it turns out that it isn’t; I can sit out on it writing on my laptop until 2:30pm! At 2:30 there isn’t much shade left because the sun is almost directly overhead, making it really hard to see the laptop screen. But that’s okay – 2:30 is the time when I relocate to a shadier part of the yard.
So earlier this week, I planned out edits then started working on that short story. The short story is the one I mentioned during my Blog Planning post from earlier in June. It ended up sitting a bit longer than I had planned, but that’s okay since I’ve been working on it. The story started out at 1,245 words; it’s now up to 2,264 and I’m not quite done this editing pass; hopefully I’ll be finishing it over the next few days.
I’ve also done a lot of work on Sustainably North this week. I finished reading the book I wanted to review on it this month, You Grow Girl by Gayla Trail . That post was written earlier in the week, then edited and scheduled on the blog for tomorrow at noon. Then today I figured out another two posts: an article about disposable vs reusable plates (written and scheduled – that will be on the blog on July 2nd at noon) and another book review (I fluked into reading a book that I thought was a good fit for my July theme of parties – that post is written but I haven’t decided if I want it appearing on July 9th or 16th). I’ll need to get another three posts figured out for July, then I can move onto my August theme of camping.
So yeah, it’s been a busy but very productive week. I’m actually really happy that I’ve now got a bit of breathing room on Sustainably North (especially since there’s a long weekend next weekend, and my week is already shaping up to be quite busy!)
Over the last week, I unfortunately haven’t done a lot of writing. Well, that’s not exactly true – I did get an article written for work, which *should* be in the paper next weekend (depending on whether or not the paper actually publishes it). But I didn’t get a lot of personal writing done.
What I did do though was a bunch of planning for Sustainably North. I decided I’m going to try treating that blog like a magazine. By “magazine,” I mean that I came up with some monthly themes; my hope is to write an intro blog post for each theme at the beginning of the month, then two regular posts and one book review. During months with five weeks, I’m not quite sure what I’ll do for that last post. I’m currently thinking I’ll do another Article Roundup, but I’ll have to see once that happens. Nearer the end of the year, I’ll assess whether or not this strategy is working.
So for June, I’m going to continue writing about gardening stuff. I’m already doing that a bit, so I thought it would be an easy topic to continue in order to transition to “magazine” in July. Ideally I’d like to have my posts all written ahead of time (so far I’ve been writing Sustainably North posts pretty last minute), so I’m going to hopefully use June to help me get that set up. I also have a book picked out for a June review, so I need to get that read, too!
Other than working on Sustainably North stuff, I also did finally type up the handwritten first draft of that short story I wrote over the long weekend. I’m really glad I did it too – the notebook I’d written it in was sitting out on my table for like a week! Feeling fed up with it sitting out was what finally got me to stop procrastinating and get it typed up. I’m hoping that over the next week or two, I’ll have a chance to start revising it. 🙂
So last weekend was a long weekend here in Canada. I set myself a couple of low-grade writing goals: get a post written for Sustainably North (that’s kind of a given), and write a first draft of a short story. The Sustainably North post ended up a short rant about garbage and what to do about cat litter (I don’t have an answer to that last one – if you have any ideas, please let me know on the post!)
So that left the draft of the short story. I knew what I wanted to do – I found a market on Duotrope that wants short stories about monsters (and not the usual ones either). With a bit of thought, I decided to write about a monster from Imezza (specifically a kraken, because why not?) I originally started developing Imezza specifically to write short stories in it, so this seemed like an easy choice. Unfortunately, as much as Imezza is developed, there are still gaping holes in the setting. Which makes it very hard to stay focussed on writing in the setting right now because I keep getting sidetracked by research needs.
The main problem I was having last weekend was that I decided to focus on a character whose species hasn’t been very well developed by me to date (whoops!) And then the kraken itself started giving me grief. Do kraken look like octopus? Squid? What do their eyes look like? That last question sent me onto the internet for probably 45 minutes or so. I now know how octopus eyes see colour. But I never did track down what colours exactly octopus eyes come in (I ended up having to image search octopus eyes to see what colours they come in).
Despite all the research quagmires, in the end I did succeed in crafting a first draft of a story. It’s going to need a whole lot of work, but at least it’s a start. And in the process, I hit my writing goal for last weekend, so that’s a win in and of itself. 🙂
I’m rather proud of myself: I’ve managed to successfully post on Sustainably North weekly for over a month! When I first started that blog, I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with it (considering my track record on here hasn’t been great). I don’t know that I’ve managed to find the proper voice for the blog yet, but it has been getting a bit easier to write posts. I don’t want to stretch myself too thin or get overwhelmed (I have a really bad habit of that because I always seem to take on too much or try to work on multiple big projects at the same time), so I’m going to keep Sustainably North going at one post a week for now.
With that going well, I need to start adding in other things too (but nothing too big because I don’t want to get overwhelmed). Specifically, I think I need to start working on some of my goals for the year. I’ve already managed to read 16 novel-length books (8 were actual novels), so I’m not too worried about my reading goal. So that means it’s time to either work on one of my RPGs or look at writing a short story.
Oh, thinking of short stories: I WAS working on one back in early April. I found a market that sounded intriguing and started writing something for it. But by the time I got through most of a draft, I realized the story wouldn’t actually fit the market very well. So that got shelved and unfortunately I haven’t been working on anything else since.
So I think my plan of attack for this week is going to be to start working on another short story. I need to either find another market on Duotrope that interests me, or else pull out one of the stories I’ve shelved and actually finish it. I’ll see what catches my interest over the next few days. 🙂