If any of you know me, you know I don’t read as much science fiction as I do fantasy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love a good space or cyberpunk jaunt. I’m also interested in writing more science fiction of my own, and what better way to do that than with a contest motivator?
Enter The Jim Baen Memorial Award: The First Decade. It is a collection of winning short stories from the Jim Baen Memorial Award contest that William Ledbetter and Baen Books host every year, in honor of positive science fiction and the late and great Jim Baen.
I’ll be enjoying, then studying, these stories over the next few weeks, so expect at least a few posts about it, including a review of the book overall. I’m impressed with what little I’ve skimmed so far. I regret to say I don’t recognize many of the names off the bat (Again, not really the genre I’ve spent much time reading in recent years), but I do recognize Brad Torgerson. I loved The Chaplain’s War, so I’ve high hopes for his short story “Gemini XVII.”
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.
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!
A few months ago I sent a flash fiction piece called “Second Thanksgiving” to Anassa Publications for their “Existence on Mars” anthology (Photo below taken from their site, done by MK). It was basically a retelling of the First Thanksgiving where the Pilgrims and the American Indians met and found a way to coexist, at least for a time, but the native Martians are not what you expect…
Anyway, I just heard back today that they want the story to be rewritten, but that they will otherwise accept it. This is an interesting challenge, as I’ve never been asked to rewrite something before. Minor edits, yes, but major scene changes? I’ve got to get to work on this, but it could be fun!
My science fiction short story “The Littlest of Sparrows” won itself a place in the 2013 “In Places Between” Contest hosted by the Imaginative Fiction Writers Association (IFWA). There were more than a hundred submissions and, in the end, a total of eight winners. The story ranked as one of the five Honorable Mentions, which is a great accomplishment for the tale.