Writing in Public: Day 21, Month 03

I received good news earlier this morning from across the giant pond aptly named the Pacific Ocean. My short story “Zombielock” has made it to the final round of selection at Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. I should hear the final yea or nay within three weeks. Regardless of how it does in the end, I’ve made it farther with this submission than I have with any of the others sent to ASIM, so it is further proof that my writing is improving and moving in the right direction.

Most of the morning and afternoon were messed up for writing, but I was able to plan out two stories:

The story I want to write for Penumbra’s “Hyperspeed” themed issue is going to be a story similar in setup to the game FTL, where a lone military ship is trying to flee enemy territory to bring vital intel back to friendly lines. To do this they have to successfully navigate a pair of hyperspace corridors while being pursued. There’s going to be some steampunk (Or present day nautical) technology despite the advanced setting, specifically in the use of speaking tubes, telegraphs, and signal lamps.

Spindles has a call out for two kinds of fairy tale retelling, one geared for children and the other for adults. Specifically, the editor wants these stories to feature diverse character, diverse places, or people with disabilities and different sexual orientations. For the adult story I’m going to be focusing on disabilities, chief amongst them amputations. The fairy tale I’ve chosen is the Chinese fairy tale “Help in Need” where a military officer must choose which of his men – living and dead – to send to help out a princess of the spirit realm. In the original story the only ones who are able to truly help the princess in her battle are soldiers who have already passed on. In my version of the story the only ones who will be able to help the spirit princess will be soldiers who have parts of their body already in the spirit realm. Think of phantom pain, and you’ll see where the idea is coming from. In this fight their disabilities are what help them carry out their mission. They do not hinder them.

Tomorrow the plan is to get the rough drafts written for both. The first story can be no longer than 3,500 words, while the second can be up to 5,000 words. The due date for both is the 30th, and I have more stories than this to write. So, expect it to be a busy week! It’s my hope it will be a busy week, in any event.

  • Blog Posts: 456
  • Planning and outlining: 1,200
  • Short Fiction: 000
  • Novel Fiction: 000
  • Salable words: 000

Total Fiction for Month: 000

Total Salable for Month: 000

Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 111,840

Total Salable for Challenge Year: 24,884

Submission Sunday – Week Ending 03/02/2014

Here are this week’s totals.  A couple of new stories finished, but mostly resubmissions:

Summary: 2 New, 5 Resubmissions

“Harmonious Bedlam” submitted to Crossed Genres.

“Unit Zero” submitted to Penumbra.


“Sand” resubmitted to Fablecroft’s “Insert Title Here” Anthology.

“A Necessary Sacrifice” resubmitted to Betwixt.

“Paper Planet” resubmitted to Asimov’s Science Fiction.

“The Heart of the Wendigo” resubmitted to Straeon.

“Who Killed Zombie Robin?” resubmitted to Nightmare Magazine.

Week in Review – Week Ending 02/16/2014

This week was an interesting one.  Blizzards, shoveling, blizzards, shoveling.  I’ll admit all of that left me drained physically and mentally.  I was able to push through some of the writing goals I had, but the week ended with a lot left to be done.  I can only blame so much of this on the weather, as the rest lies squarely on my shoulders.  I knew the week was going to get bad and I didn’t take precautions and frontload as much writing into the better days as I should have.

The plan should always be to think of tomorrow as being worse than today in terms of productivity.  Tomorrow could be perfectly fine and productive, or the car could break down or the heating system could die and the day could be spent dealing with that.  Better to assume it will get derailed and focus on the present than to hope for a better tomorrow.

With that said, the rough drafts of four stories were finished.  They are:

  • “Fallout Ariel”, originally on the goal list.
  • “Ninja Mama”, originally on the goal list under the Kazka 713 “Journeys” theme.
  • “Alien Concept”, a flash fiction story that just came to me and had no bearing on the original goals.
  • “Listening Post”, originally on the goal list under the Penumbra‘s “superhero” theme.

“Songs of Fate” and “Interstellar Explorers” were not started, though some planning/outlining was accomplished.

On the reading front, I did finish the stories that Daily Science Fiction sent out, and look forward to enjoying more next week.  My goal with this reading is to eventually start reverse-engineering the tales and breaking them down into their component parts.  Such an exercise can only help improve my own grasp of the craft of writing, and it’s something I want to start doing with everything I read.  The more I can understand what goes into an accepted tale, the more likely my own work will find a home in the publications I read.

Writing in Public: Day 04, Month 01

Today was another day marked with more planning, outlining, and research than with actual writing.  I was able to begin the rough draft of “Listening Post.”  The first page is written, and I have a pretty good idea of where I want to go with the tale, at least from the perspective of the first draft.  Revision is where the story’s framework really coalesces for me, so I’m looking forward to getting started on that as soon as possible.

While out shoveling snow I spent a good bit of time thinking about “Listening Post” and “A Gentle Breeze” and I’ve come to the conclusion that “Listening Post” stands a better chance of fitting the more traditional superhero mold that I’m assuming Penumbra is looking for.  On the one hand the main character, Listener, is not going to be your typical superhero who’s capable of duking it out with a volcano despite never having been to the gym nor having any kind of flame retardant clothing.  He’s more of a desk jockey, his abilities tailored less to combat and more to behind-the-scenes intelligence gathering.  On the other hand, he is part of a team that does include the more rough-and-tough superheroes we all know and love, such as Pugilist and Shootist (He’s a John Wayne fan, as you can probably tell).

Anyway, on to the breakdown:

  • Nonfiction: 240
  • Planning and outlining: 825
  • Fiction: 300
  • Salable words: 000

Total Fiction for Month: 3,468

Total Salable for Month: 000

Writing in Public: Day 03, Month 01

Today was not very productive from an actual fiction-writing standpoint.  I spent a good bit of the day reading articles on writing technique from Superhero Nation, a website devoted to the writing of superhero novels, short stories, and comics, and also writing in general.  I had gone with the intent to look up some common tropes of superhero stories to either play off of or avoid entirely, and ended up reading a bunch of articles on general writing techniques.  It was well spent.

The reason for the superhero interest has to do with Penumbra‘s superhero theme this month.  There were a few different ideas floating around in my head, and two coalesced rather nicely today.  The outlining is ready to the point that I should be able to get rough drafts for both finished tomorrow.  They’ll be sloppy (Rough drafts always are for me), but they should be finished and ready for revision Saturday morning.

It’s obvious that all of my writing goals won’t be met for the week, but there should be five stories finished.  And the number of stories I wanted to write was five, so…

Anyway, today’s numbers:


  • Nonfiction: 206
  • Planning and outlining: 2,806
  • Fiction: 000
  • Salable words: 000

Total Fiction for Month: 3,168

Total Salable for Month: 000

Goals for the Week Ending 02-16-14

Starting today, every Monday there will be a post of my goals for the current week. This will include writing goals as well as reading goals. Reading is as important to a writer as writing, for both are learning experiences that help us to grow in our craft.

Or, so I like to think. Anyway, on to the goals!

Writing Goals (Any titles listed are working titles):

  • Write “Fallout Ariel”, a flash fiction story of a technical diver meeting a mermaid at the outset of nuclear war. (1,000 words or less)
  • Write a flash fiction piece for the Kazka 713 “Journeys” flash fiction contest. (1,000 words or less)
  • Write “Songs of Fate”, a fantasy short story for Crossed Genres‘ “music” theme. (4,000 words or less)
  • Write “What Use, This Strength?”, a short story for Penumbra‘s “superhero” theme. (3,500 words or less)
  • Write “Interstellar Explorers”, a science fiction short story about human prospectors discovering – and dealing with – a pre-spaceflight alien race that is very warlike and will be a threat if they do reach the stars. (6,000 words or less)
  • Write outline for the second draft of “Into the Wastes”, a fantasy novel about a company of crusaders sent into their kingdom’s northern hinterlands to deal with one threat, only to discover multiple threats.

Reading Goals:

  • Read each of the five stories that Daily Science Fiction puts out this week.  It’s free to subscribe, so I highly recommend it.  They put out many wonderful stories of varying sizes, shapes, and stripes.
  • Re-read my notes for “The Wastes” and lay the groundwork for a second draft.
  • Re-read portions of Elizabeth Haydon’s Symphony of Ages series, mostly for how she incorporates music into her writing.  This will be important for my own musically-themed stories.  Plus, it’s a good series!

Submission Sunday – Week Ending 02/02/14

Starting today and continuing each Sunday I will post a list of submissions completed for the previous week.  This will serve as a form of accountability for me, as when weeks go by where I submit nothing (Either new or resubmissions) I can now be publicly shamed over it!  Even with writing happening, if nothing is getting submitted it can’t be considered a productive week.  From a short story standpoint, anyway.

So, without further ado, here are my submissions for the week:

Summary: 4 New, 0 Resubmissions

New Submissions:

January 29th, “Starting from Zeroth” submitted to Penumbra Magazine.

January 31st, “Supply Chain Management” submitted to Crossed Genres.

January 31st, “False Light” submitted to On the Premises.

February 1st, “Paper Planet” submitted to Unlikely Story.