Year In Review 2022

As we close out 2022 I thought I would write a short blog on my writing journey this year. Both achievements and set-backs. And while there certainly have been a few of the latter, I will say I am quite proud of all I have done, even if it has not yet produced the desired published fiction works 🙂

Novels:

I finished edits on Schism of the Mages Order a 106k word adult epic fantasy novel.

I went through 8 stages of edits, including beta reads and critique partners

I also wrote (and re-wrote, and re-wrote…) a query letter for it

I also wrote a synopsis.

I then sent it out to 15 agents. 1 partial request, 2 fulls, but at the end, no takers.

15 agents isn’t a lot and I should send it out to more.

I also wrote another novel Leather and Steel, a 96k word adult epic fantasy novel

I went through 7 stages of edits, including betas

I wrote the query letter

I also wrote its synopsis

I have so far sent it out to 1 agent, mainly because that’s the only agent I’ve actually met in person.

Short Stories:

I’ve written 21 short stories (14 science fiction shorts, 4 fantasy, 3 horror) from as short as drabble (100 words) to as long as 7500 words.

Venturing into horror was a surprise to me. I don’t like horror. Not reading it, not watching movies of it, not…well, apparently writing it I do. It wasn’t intentional. I pantsed a few of the short stories thinking they were SciFi and to my surprise, 2 ended up as horror, and the third was deliberate after the first 2 happy accidents. And the thing is, I think they are not bad.

I’m in the process of polishing about half of the 21 stories, the other half are under submission various places right now.

And that has ended up, inevitably, with a number of rejections so far (9 rejections on 19 submissions). So far, no acceptances. And no small achievement – I have not allowed this to drag me down. Or at least not for long 🙂

I also submitted my work to Writers of the Future and NESFA short story writing competitions

Social Media:

I built this webpage

I wrote this blog

I posted my first twitter post August 9th 2022, now up to 1400 tweets and oscillating around 500 followers

I even experimented with social media tools like social bee and tweet hunter

I joined two discord channels (both writing related).

Writing Tools:

I finally transitioned from writing things on index cards

Instead, I learned scrivener

And Plottr

As I said above, I used social media tools like social bee and tweet hunter

I learned twitter and discord

I learned prowritingaid and grammerly

I learned how to make mood boards with canva, and how to find free-use images

I learned about QueryTracker, made an account and used it

I joined Submission Grinder and now use it to track my short stories

Other SciFi/Fantasy Writing:

I got my first check for writing! For the SFWA blog. I was super excited to write for one of the top organizations in the field, even if it was not a fiction piece itself, but on writing.

I also got an invite to write from Dan Koboldt for his Science in SciFi series, and that too went live online this year

Mentorships/Networking

I applied to the HiveWrite mentorship program. Didn’t match but from this got:

  • an hour feedback with Allegra Pescatore which was super helpful
  • and written critique from Sunyi Dean which was also encouraging.

I attended Chicon8 which was inspiring, meant I got to attend talks by writers and agents, but also got to meet some really cool people: Dan Koboldt, Michael Mammay, Arley Sorg, Neil Clarke, Joshua Bilmes, and really those connections were for me the highlight, whether each of them remember it or not!

I applied for the SFWA mentee program – no word, though it’s looking less likely given they are doing all matching in December, and apart from Christmas that’s virtually over now.

Applied to speak on science topics at Boskone – never heard anything, but can’t say I am so disappointed. I’m not such a fan of public speaking.

I applied to the Futurescapes writers workshop – and got accepted, so I will be participating this March.

I took part in #SFFPit, my first twitter pitching event – it was actually why I joined twitter – (zero likes from agents – but forced me to summarize my book, and also got support from people on twitter I am still connected to)

I also joined as often as I could a number of writers chats on twitter: #writeandwine #asfchat #writechat

I contacted a few local writers groups, but they were not meeting still under covid. But i tried!

Beta-reading and Critique Partnering

At Chicon8 I also met AB Martin in person who I had met originally through twitter and has since become a good writing friend and we have exchanged query letters for mutual critiques which has been very helpful to me

I have exchanged first 3 chapters of books with 3 other new writers on the writehive discord channel, critiqued theirs, as well as reviewed their critiques of my work which was equally helpful

I also, through twitter, had the chance to beta read a novellete for the very talented JT Greathouse. I can’t explain why this made me feel so great. It showed me his unpolished/unedited/unfinished writing was better than mine fully edited, but it was truly inspiring. I also loved the novellette 

Learning the Craft and the Business

The biggest thing I have done is just done a lot of reading (26 novels and innumerate short stories this year – trying to analyze and understand what they did as I read) and a lot of writing (2 full length novels, 21 short stories, 2 science in scifi pieces – both of which were published!).

I attended a lot of craft talks at Chicon8

I watched all of Brandon Sanderson’s BYU writing lectures on youtube

I listened to Writing Excuses starting in Season 10, as recommended by the authors

I read 3 different books on the craft

I attended writerly and other free online F and SF conferences on writing

The Future

And looking to the future for 2023? Well, I have those 21 shorts to continue submitting. I don’t think all will end up published. I’m confident about some.

I want to query my second novel, and/or finish up querying my first.

I have also begun outlining a couple of potential next novels but have not yet ‘fallen in love’ with one to the extent I know it will be my next big project

I plan to apply to Clarion West and Odyssey writing workshops. The latter is more practical for me with work, so I will have to keep my fingers crossed there, but I think I will make either work, if accepted.

And I’m headed to Boskone 60 in February, so if you see me there, or are going, feel free to say ‘Hi’!

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