I haven’t written a short story in a while. I don’t actually know how long, because I am terrible about keeping track of such things.
I’d like to have more. There are a couple I’m holding that haven’t found a market yet. And I’m coming ever closer to publishing them myself on Curious Fictions. I haven’t submitted anything in a while, because I couldn’t manage a rejection letter in 2020. I had two stories published last year, One Last Stand for the Cold Blooded Chaos Society over at Translunar Travelers Lounge and Moon Errata on the Toasted Cake Podcast, both of which were written in 2019. And I think, because it’s been some time since I’ve had a complete short story, I’ve been a bit rough on myself.
For most of 2020 and the first bits of ’21 I’ve been writing a novel. According to my inner demons, and based on absolutely nothing, I’m not writing it fast enough. It may be the fact that my outline keeps changing to move the goal of ending this thing always over the next horizon. Idk, it’s hard to know why it feels so slow.
But I like it. Not surprising, I know. It takes a lot of effort to write a full novel and you’ve got to like what your doing to keep going. But I like it enough that I can’t think of other stories, and I have got to get to the end of this thing before I can build up a list of shorts and get back to collecting rejection letters.
I was going to go to Kij Johnson’s and Barbara J. Webb’s novel writing workshop last year, but 2020 happened, and new developments in 2021 mean I won’t be able to attend the online workshop this year. (The online workshop looks really amazing and if you are all interested, do audition for it!) I wanted to work on this novel with them, but I know I can’t wait until I manage to take their class. But I’m not doing it alone.
I wrote alone for a really really long time, and as a shut in, I thought it was for me. Nope. Get yourself a community, friends. The novel I’m writing now looks so different from my first few pages. The pieces are still there, but having friends to read (friends who write and know how a story goes together) and highlight things I’ve missed are invaluable. And I’d be completely lost in the dreadful middles if I didn’t have their insights early on. It’s a slow process, yes, but progress is possible. I’m not abandoning things.
Well, I’m abandoning short stories. But only for the time being. And my demons are going to have to get used to it. Who has the energy to argue with demons, anyway?
Here’s a bit from what I’m working on.
Across the field of brambles, high enough in a pine tree that the top bent to her weight, a small woman in a brilliant blue coat waved cheerfully to Tuulikki. Her face split into a wide smile, and she lifted her spidery hands from the branches. Her toes were wrapped around the tree as tightly as fingers and kept her balance steady as the tree swayed. She cupped her hands around her mouth and shouted across to Tuulikki’s window.
“Hello! You are under siege!”
Tuulikki set down the vial and opened the window. There was no sign of anyone below her window. The woman in blue was alone.
“I know,” she shouted back.