2014 in review

On 1 January I made a post about my writing in 2013 and my hopes for 2014. I like looking back on the past year at its end, so here we go again.

My writing goals for 2014 were (slightly abridged):

  1. Get a story published!
  2. Get more poems published.
  3. Work on a poetry collection.
  4. Increase writing output – get back into the groove of writing, preferably every day.
  5. Rework Dim Vanities and decide what to do with it (whether to continue editing it smaller-scale, or do a total reboot, or just stick it in the trunk).
  6. Improve my plotting skills.
  7. Finish more stuff and edit previous work to a submittable point.

So, how did I do?

1) I exceeded my goal of getting one story published – I now have three stories out and two forthcoming. I am really proud and happy about this.

2) I got more poems published – nine of them. And to some highly awesome magazines, too. Yay!

3) I haven’t got the poetry collection into a submittable shape yet, but it exists! and it’s looking pretty good. Finishing it up and submitting to potential publishers is one of my goals for (early) 2015.

4) I haven’t managed to write fiction or poetry every day (except during Nanowrimo), but I have increased my writing output, I think. But this is something to work on – writing something creative every day even if it’s just an exercise.

5) Haven’t had the energy to start reworking Dim Vanities or do anything too much with it. However, a couple of weeks ago I got a flash of feeling that made me decide something: DV needs a radical rewrite. It might still not be publishable even after that rewrite, but I’ve got to give this novel one more chance. I still love so many aspects of it – I just need to rewrite the plot and give the characters higher stakes and more emotion. This is, therefore, a project for 2015. (Camp Nanowrimo, perhaps?)

6) I haven’t worked systematically on improving my plotting skills. I’ve been writing more stories, which I think helps, but plotting is definitely still something that I need to work on.

7) I have been trying to finish more things that I start! And I’ve managed to edit at least some first drafts of stories into a submittable point (and sold a couple of them, too – “Chrysopoeia” and “The Ruin”).

***

As for more concrete evidence of my writing in 2014, here’s a list of my publications this year:

POETRY (9 poems)
02/14 “Ninety-Eight” and “City of Stones” in Issue #33 of Chantarelle’s Notebook.
02/14 “Helsinki Love Song” in Wild Violet Magazine.
05/14 “The Alchemist’s Lover” in the “Alchemies” issue of CSHS.
06/14 “Looking-Glass Lover” in Issue #28 of Niteblade, “Looking-Glass Lover” (after my poem).
06/14 “Shrug Charm” in the Spring 2014 issue of Goblin Fruit.
11/14 “Kuura (extract from a Finnish-English dictionary)” in Issue 11 of Stone Telling.
11/14 “Sorrow-stone” in the “Summer Is Dead” issue of Goblin Fruit.
12/14 “Raw Honey” in Strange Horizons. Listen to me reading the poem in the SH December Poetry Podcast.

PROSE (3 stories)
07/14 “Wind Chimes” in 365 tomorrows. Flash fiction.
10/14 “Chrysopoeia” in Issue 9 (Fall 2014) of Quantum Fairy Tales. Short story.
12/14 “Munankuorikehto” (‘Egg-Shell Cradle’) in issue 3/2014 of Spin, the quarterly magazine of the Turku Science Fiction Society (TSFS). The magazine can be ordered from the TSFS webpage. Flash fiction. (in Finnish)

Oh, and rejections? There were many. It’s especially heartening to see some poem or story published that has previously been rejected (many times, even). I don’t really post about my rejections, but of course they happen. A lot. Way more than acceptances. I’ve learned how to deal with them pretty well – I usually don’t take them too personally any more, although getting a rejection is always a disappointment of course.

In addition to this published stuff, I also wrote oodles of poem drafts (I really can’t be bothered to count, there’s so many), several writing exercises with potential for more, one Nanowrimo novel (crapola zero draft, but with definite potential), and some short stories. Oh, and I edited two 10k+ novelettes. NOT BAD.

***

Now, what about the coming year? Here are some writing goals for 2015 (many of them, as you can see, carrying over from last year):

  • Get more stories published.
  • Get more poems published.
  • Revise the ms and submit poetry collection for publication.
  • Start gathering poems together for a speculative poetry collection.
  • Increase writing output – get back into the groove of writing, preferably every day, even if it’s just a short poem or writing exercise.
  • Continue to write more in Finnish. It’s been so great to tap into that part of my writing brain this year, so I want to continue experimenting in my other native language too.
  • Rewrite Dim Vanities entirely. Do this with the help of a proper outline.
  • Improve my plotting skills.
  • Finish more stuff and edit previous work to a submittable point.
  • Submit more stuff, both prose and poetry! Try to submit something at least once a month.

In general, I’m really pleased with how much I’ve written this year and how I’ve improved as a writer. So far it’s been easy for my PhD work to coexist with my writing life – I really hope that state of affairs will continue! And I think it will, if I just make good use of my time.

***

In conclusion: Dear readers, I wish all of you joy and fun writing times in this coming year!

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“Munankuorikehto” out in Spin magazine

My Finnish-language flash fiction piece about fairies, “Munankuorikehto” (‘Egg-Shell Cradle’), is out in the Turku Science Fiction Society’s magazine Spin! Huzzah! Here is the link to the issue itself (in Finnish).

It came out a couple of weeks ago already, but I was unaware of the fact because I haven’t received my contributor’s copy yet. However, I’m planning to go and check out the magazine in the Academic Bookstore today. I’ve never had my name featured on the front cover of a magazine before, so I think I’m permitted some squee!

Sorry all you non-Finnish-speakers: this story is doubly locked from you due to being a) in Finnish and b) in print only. It’s one of those stories that just came to me in Finnish from the start. I’m so pleased this got published – my first publication ever in Finnish!

“Raw Honey” in the SH poetry podcast

Merry Christmas/Winter Holiday of Your Choice, all! I’ve had a lovely two days of delicious food and family hangout, and am now nudging myself into the writing groove again. I have a first draft of a story to write…

While I was engaged in Christmas preparations, Strange Horizons released the podcast of December’s poetry. Listen to it here at SH!

In addition to my poem “Raw Honey”, the podcast includes “Rust” by Kythryne Aisling; “Warriors” by Thato Angela Chuma; and “Letters to S. From Poet-Build Beta-3” by A.E. Ash. Great poems all – I’m happy to be amongst such lovely work.

Sunday recs: The Dishonesty of Dreams

Today’s reading recommendation is a poetry collection: The Dishonesty of Dreams by Adrienne J. Odasso.

I’ve been reading Adrienne’s poetry for a long time; I really admire her work so I’d love for other people to find her stuff, too. Here’s my review of The Dishonesty of Dreams (copied from Amazon.com):

The Dishonesty of Dreams is a haunting collection filled with lingering sadness and a strange, aching beauty. The cover works really well with the dreamlike, blue feeling of the poems. The poems flow well from one to another, and this collection was really enjoyable to read in a few longer sessions. Some especially amazing poems (that I keep returning to) include “The Still Point of the Turning World”, “Carnal Knowledge”, “Five Times I Lived by Water”, and “Cry Wolf”. Many of the poems in The Dishonesty of Dreams live in the liminal spaces between real life and the imagined – a wonderful place for poetry to exist.

Some of the poems in the collection are also available to read online. Here are some of my favourites, all very different but with Adrienne’s words shining bright:

Sunday recs: Long time no rec

Sooo it’s been quite a while since I last posted any Sunday recs. I’ll try to get back into the game again – I’ve been reading lots, as always, but have neglected to recommend my favourites.

Here’s a few poems I’ve enjoyed over the past few weeks:

“The Glass Men” by Alexandra Seidel (in Ideomancer). Haunting, the repetition of “these are the men of glass” makes me think of T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men”.

“The Cultivation of Beauty” by Sara Cleto (also in Ideomancer). As I think I’ve mentioned before, I have a weakness for all things related to Beauty and the Beast. This is a strange, rather dark but interesting take on it.

“Artemis Speaks to Aphrodite” by Alicia Cole (also in Ideomancer). Such achingly beautiful words. Artemis is my favourite Greek goddess, too.

“The rivers, the birchgroves, all the receding earth” by Rose Lemberg (in Strange Horizons). This is incredibly gorgeous. I am utterly in love with the language in this, and the atmosphere of hope tinged with sadness.

“Raw Honey” in Strange Horizons

My poem “Raw Honey” is up in the latest issue of Strange Horizons. Yay! I’m so happy to be part of such a wonderful magazine, and for the second time too.

Read the poem here!

I’m well pleased with this poem. In my mind it’s set in the same world as my previous SH poem (“Wolf Daughter”) – a magical forested land inspired by Finnish mythology but not drawing directly from it. This wasn’t planned, but happened organically – when I wrote “Raw Honey”, only later did I realise that there might be a connection with the previous poem. There may be more where these two come from, too.

Story sale to Luna Station Quarterly

My short story “The Ruin” will be appearing in the next issue of Luna Station Quarterly, on 1 March 2015. LSQ is dedicated to showcasing women writing speculative fiction, and I’m looking forward to being part of this lovely project. Huzzah!

Pleasingly, this story is set in the same world as my Nanowrimo novel for this year. So, even though the novel is a festering heap of incoherence right now, at least some prose from that world will be out! (Some poetry is already out in the form of Boat-husk over at Through the Gate.)