Finishing projects feels good

Around the end of December 2013, I came upon a post with pretty pictures of the 33 most beautiful abandoned places in the world. One of those clickbaity list posts, but this one struck a chord. I love the desolate beauty of abandoned things.

And so I decided to write something about all 33, inspired by the pictures but not necessarily relating to the real-world location or function of the place. I had thought I’d finish it all by the end of January 2014, but I didn’t keep at it diligently enough. I had a months-long pause and forgot all about it, but in mid-December I finally kickstarted my project again. And now, I have just finished writing a poem about the 33rd picture.

I didn’t manage to finish this project in the time frame I’d initially set myself, but I did finish in the end! And now I have 33 pieces of flash fiction and poems based on the pictures. Some of them will never make it past the initial draft phase; some of them I’ve already edited and sent off; some of them are rough now but contain interesting kernels of plot and character that might grow into proper stories one day; one of them will be published this year (as “The Ruin” in Luna Station Quarterly). Most excellent.

I’ve discovered that writing prompted by a picture is a good way for me to get my brain jogged into action. Will have to keep finding interesting pictures to leap into and write about. I should keep doing writing exercises of other sorts as often as I can, too – they’re a great way of building up writing muscle.

Award eligibility post (works published in 2014)

Firstly: this feels so weird. Award eligibility is for real writers, right? Not me? No, shut up, evil!brain. (This post by Amal El-Mohtar is very relevant…)

Anyway, I have done my research and to the best of my knowledge, it appears that the following works are eligible for awards (for 2014):

Poetry (eligible for the Rhysling award short poem category)

Short stories (<7,500 words)

An Alphabet of Embers ToC!

Rose Lemberg, the editor of the forthcoming anthology An Alphabet of Embers (which includes my story “The City Beneath the Sea”), has posted the full ToC on her website: check it out!

I can’t overstate how excited I am by this project! I’m really looking forward to reading the other contributions when the anthology comes out. And, of course, it’s totally awesome that this was my first pro fiction sale.

Sunday recs: Three stories and a novel

Hi, this is me procrastinating! Soon, soon I will go and finish the zero draft of a story that’s been unreasonably hard to write considering that I know how it ends and all…

Anyway, here’s three stories I read sometime late last year and enjoyed:

Collector’s Item by Daniel McPherson (in Daily Science Fiction): a robot servant.

Sardines in a Tin Can by Wendy Nikel (also in DSF): robot slaves.

Dream Cakes by Kelly Jennings (in Strange Horizons): an awesome meld of SF and magicky things. No robots, though.


Bonus novel rec: Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred is utterly amazing. It’s been on my to-read list for ages, and I finally started it yesterday morning. Well, I ended up reading it in two breathless, long sittings. It’s been a while since I read a novel in a single day! So worth it. Most other time travel novels suddenly pale in comparison…