2015 in review

Last day of the year; I’m still going to do some writing (on an ooold tale that I just can’t bear to abandon yet); then off to a New Year’s thing if I have the energy.

Anyway, time for my now-traditional writing-related year in review thing.

My writing goals for 2015 (from this post):

  1. Get more stories published.
  2. Get more poems published.
  3. Revise the ms and submit poetry collection for publication.
  4. Start gathering poems together for a speculative poetry collection.
  5. Increase writing output – get back into the groove of writing, preferably every day, even if it’s just a short poem or writing exercise.
  6. 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.
  7. Rewrite Dim Vanities entirely. Do this with the help of a proper outline.
  8. Improve my plotting skills.
  9. Finish more stuff and edit previous work to a submittable point.
  10. Submit more stuff, both prose and poetry! Try to submit something at least once a month.

Uh, that’s quite a lot of goals. No wonder I didn’t complete all of them. :D Well, that was mostly because of PhD/work-related stress and lack of energy/time. Especially the past autumn has been, quite frankly, rather horrendous because I’ve been juggling so many things and only just managed to keep from bursting apart with stress. But so, how did I do with these goals?

1) I totally got more stories published! Yay! Not in pro magazines, perhaps, but nonetheless I got four stories published. I’m especially proud of “Moss”.

2) I got more poems published too, although less than I’d have wanted, alas. But I’m especially happy with my sales to inkscrawl. And with the cute origami chapbook Watching the City.

3) Wellll I failed at revising my poetry collection and submitting it. Sigh. I’ve been putting it off because of busyness for ages – and I was going to work on it now in December, at latest – but nope. Too much stress –> it’s really hard to revise such a thing.

4) I actually forgot I even had this goal of gathering poems for a spec collection, probably because I wasn’t making headway with my other collection either. Anyway, um, this is totally a good goal and I should pursue it next year.

5) I don’t think I’ve actually increased my writing output – 2014 was pretty good for writing lots. This year has been so busyyyy that I haven’t written as much as I’d have wanted. However, I have finished more short stories than in 2014, so that’s something. (Haven’t sold too many of them, but still.) Definitely didn’t manage to write every day except during Nanowrimo. This is defo something to work on – the routines of writing.

6) I wrote more in Finnish! Yaassss! Poetry as well as some prose. This is a big deal for me and I’m very pleased that one of my Finnish stories (first draft written in late 2014, though) got published.

7) I REWROTE DIM VANITIES (now with a different working title: The Beast of Briarwood Hall). This is one of my biggest writing achievements of 2015. During Camp Nanowrimo and then Nanowrimo proper, I rewrote the novel that keeps haunting me – and the version I have now feels like it could actually work. Like I only have to revise instead of majorly rewrite. And I did it with more outlining than I’ve ever used before. I feel so happy about this. I’m planning on starting the revision in January and am really looking forward to it!

8) Improving plotting skills – hmmmm such a vague goal. I have written more short stories, and thought extensively about plot wrt the novel rewrite, though, so I suppose I have improved a bit?

9) I finished some short stories – and finished the zero draft of the novel. So yeahhh. And I’ve been working on finishing some previous stories that I’ve left to languish on my harddrive.

10) I submitted stuff, yes, but not nearly as often as once a month, alas. The silliest was submitting so little poetry – I have oodles of the stuff lying around, but didn’t submit much. Work-busyness can mostly be blamed for this. It’s hard to muster energy for submitting stuff when you’re tired. However! I have submitted more short stories than ever this year. Lots of rejections, naturally. But I have compared to previous years, I’ve submitted so many short stories. Yay for that.

***

To remind myself that I did indeed publish stuff, here’s all my publications in 2015:

POEMS (7 + the 6 in the origami chapbook):
03/2015 “Palimpsest” in Issue 216 of Snakeskin.
04/2015 “Pomeranian”, “Lauttasaari Bridge”, and “Human Nature” in Issue 217 (April Short Poems) of Snakeskin.
04/2015 “The World in Springtime” in The Stare’s Nest.
06/2015 “Betweening” in Issue 8 of inkscrawl.
07/2015 Watching the City, a micro-collection of six poems from the Origami Poetry Project. Print it out and fold it into a tiny book!
12/2015 “Storm-yarn” in Issue 9 of inkscrawl.

PROSE (4 stories):
03/2015 “The Ruin” in Issue 21 of Luna Station Quarterly. Short story.
06/2015 “Moss” in Issue 26 of Silver Blade Magazine. Novelette. (TW: implied incest)
09/2015 “Memory” in The Flash Fiction Press. Flash fiction.
12/2015 “Vierain silmin” (‘With Strange Eyes’) in the Finnish speculative ezine Usva. Short story. I recommend downloading the PDF, it’s got pretty pictures and nice formatting. (in Finnish)

***

Also, I joined Twitter. :D It’s been a wonderful way to keep up with the writing community and I’ve met some great people! Procrastination galore, of course, but Twitter has really helped me connect with other writers.

***

Soooo what about the new year? Here are (some of) my writing goals for 2016:

  • Submit more stuff, both prose and poetry! Try to submit something at least once a month.
  • Get more stories + poems published (in pro markets if possible).
  • 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.
  • Revise The Beast of Briarwood Hall and (possibly! maybe! yikes!) submit the ms to agents.
  • Have fun with writing and remember the joy of it even amidst PhD stress.

There. Tried to make those somewhat more concrete than last year’s. You will notice a lot of stuff got carried over, too. PhD and other workstress has been making it harder to concentrate on the bigger goals. But I need to write – writing makes me happy in a way nothing else does – so I need to work on finding the mental space and energy and time to write even as I’m working on my PhD. Here’s hoping I manage, and that 2016 is less stressful than 2015!

I wish you a wonderful new year, dear readers. May the writing force be with you!

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“Storm-yarn” in issue 9 of inkscrawl!

The newest issue of inkscrawl is up – and with it, my poem “Storm-yarn”. I’m really looking forward to reading the other poems in this issue – guest editor Bogi Takács has got together some really exciting poets! And a nice big issue. Yesss.

I wrote “Storm-yarn” in August specifically for the submission call for this issue, but the original inspiration comes from a story I started in 2007 (!). I never did finish the story – it wasn’t really very good – but the notion of knitting up a storm came from there. I wrote a short poem-draft based around the idea in December 2012, but it went no further till Bogi announced the topic for issue 9 (Atypical Weather), and my brain started ferreting around for ideas. “Storm-yarn” bears no similarity to the poem from 2012, but the same idea of yarn and storms is there – and now it’s finally out in a form that I’m very happy with.

Sunday recs: Stories + novels

Sunday recs! Featuring three delightful short stories, and two excellent novels.

Tomorrow When We See the Sun by A. Merc Rustad (in Lightspeed) – a weird and cool space opera. A dark atmosphere but so beautiful. Merc’s worldbuilding is great, and I especially love how they use language. Poetic writing in prose <3

And the Balance in Blood by Elizabeth Bear (in Uncanny Magazine) – such a delightful novelette!! In contrast to Merc’s story, this one is hopeful and has lots of funny bits. This story reminds me that I should get round to reading Bear’s novels.

Wing by Amal El-Mohtar (in Strange Horizons) – a lovely short piece from 2012, lyrical and strange. Mystical books, yay.

***

Then for the novels: I’ve got longer reviews/squee for these on Goodreads, but I just really want to recommend two novels from this autumn that I read recently:

Black Wolves, Kate Elliott’s newest novel – set in the same world as her Crossroads trilogy, but you needn’t have read the trilogy to enjoy this one. (I greatly enjoyed the references to the trilogy, though!) In fact, I didn’t even like the Crossroads trilogy as much as Elliott’s other stuff, but omgggg I adored Black Wolves. So, so good. A must-read if you’re into epic fantasy. It does some pretty bold things with structure, but I think it works very well. And there were so many great characters. Lots of women being awesome, and a very interesting portrayal of a fantasy society in the process of great societal changes. So great. I wish I could re-read this book again with new eyes, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy rereading it in any case.

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho – which I just read over Christmas. A riot of a book, vastly different from Black Wolves, but that was probably a good thing since I’d just finished BW before starting SttC. Zen Cho’s got a really good Regency thing going on: I’m so happy there’s more stuff in the general vein of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell! This was a light read on the surface, but Cho also deals really well with issues of e.g. racism and colonialism.

I’m really looking forward to the next parts of the trilogies for both BW and SttC!

Finnish story “Vierain silmin” in Usva!

I just noticed that the Finnish ezine Usva has published its folklore issue, which includes my story “Vierain silmin” (‘With Strange Eyes’). You can read the whole issue here – well, if you can read Finnish, that is. (I recommend downloading the PDF – it’s got pretty pictures and the text is formatted more nicely.) I can’t wait to read the rest of the stories, they look great!

“Vierain silmin” is set in the Finnish city of Turku, and is a weird urban fantasy thing about the otherworldly perils that may befall a person wandering into a park at night.

Anyway yaaay! I’m just so pleased to have another story out in Finnish. I feel more confident with my Finnish-language creative writing these days; I still write more in English, but I feel that I can write in Finnish too (even poetry!), which makes all the difference.

Some story notes in Finnish, because well, you have to know Finnish to read this story:

Eli suomeksi (en tiedä olenko ennen kirjoittanut suomeksi tässä blogissa, oudon tuntuista!): kirjoitin novellin alun perin kilpailua varten, jossa etsittiin Turkuun sijoittuvia spefinovelleja. Olin hurjan iloinen, että uskalsin myöhemmin lähettää sen Usvaan. Sain Usvan toimittajalta Anne Leinoselta todella hyviä kommentteja, joiden perusteella muokkasin novellin sen lopulliseen muotoon. Käyn Turussa säännöllisesti jatko-opintojeni takia, mutta kaupunki on kuitenkin aina jollain tapaa vieras, ei koti – eli oli mielenkiintoista kirjoittaa sinne sijoittuva novelli. Siinä näkyy jonkin verran “minun Turkuani”. Tosin itse en ole (vielä?) törmännyt kummallisiin rituaaleihin Kupittaan puistossa. ;)

Poetry sale to Polu Texni

I’ve sold a poem to Polu Texni – “Witch’s Lens”, due to appear around the Spring Equinox next year. Yay!

I’ve been lax with posting lately, alas, for the busyness has continued. I haven’t been writing as much after Nanowrimo, which is sad, but I have been tinkering a bit with my poetry collection. I really need to get that revised by the end of the year.

I should also probably make an awards post, but doing that is pretty daunting because my impostor syndrome keeps telling me it’s preposterous for me to do such a thing. Silly brain.