Friday, July 29, 2011

How I Learned To Stop Worrying, and Love My Rejections 29/07/2011

Can a rejection be an indicator of growth, change and success?


Today I received a rejection. It wasn't any old rejection. It was from Strange Horizons, one of my favourite pro markets. And check this:

I got personalized feedback from editor Jed Hartman.

To put this in context, Strange Horizons has a huge slush pile, which their response times are indicative of (currently sitting at the 70 day plus range). They're a popular market. You want to make a name for yourself, having Strange Horizons on your publication credits is something.

Because the SH team has such a huge slush pile to wade through, form responses are not to be sniffed at. Therefore, me getting a personalized response with really informative feedback is FRAKKING AWESOME! It means I'm getting better, it means they know my name, it means they see I'm really trying.

This feedback has opened my eyes to the failings and the good parts of the story, and has given me a clear idea of how to fix it.

Jed and Strange Horizons, THANK YOU!

Ur negativities cannot penetrate mai Rainbow Wall of Happiness

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Writing: Truncated.

I've taken another step on my writer's journey: I've sucked it up and trunked some stories.

I've avoided doing this for quite some time because I thought abandoning these stories would be admitting defeat. I didn't want these pieces to defeat me, and I thought if I just kept hacking away at them, re-writing, re-thinking, I could pressure and mold them into something I'm happy with.

I'm not happy, and I came to a point this week where I realized I'm ok with that. These failures have once more taught me a lesson, and shown me some of my creative limits.

Plus, it's not like these stories are abandoned for being total arse. There may be an idea, a character, a setting or turn of phrase that I really like and I can recycle later down the track.

My trunk may be digital, but it's a folder that's warm and snug for my wordlet babies. Sleep well, knowing you were crafted with enthusiasm.

ETA: In my internet rambling linkages today, I serendipitously discovered this great article by Deborah J Ross at the Book View Cafe, which pretty much sums it all up: "Letting Go, Moving On"
Part of a writer’s maturation process is accepting that sometimes you hit the mark and sometimes you don’t. You do the best you can with each story, reaching to make each one better. With each flop (and also with each success, when it comes), you take what you’ve learned and use it to tackle the next story.

Keep Calm
And Make It So
(Picture via Fuck Yeah, Captain Picard)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hey Now Hey Now, Rejection Rejection ay yay 27/07/2011

"Through The Open Door" rejected via form letter from Lightspeed. (Number 15!)

"Tasty Maidens" rejected with personal feedback from Silver Blade. Thank you!

"Polly Ticks" rejected via form letter from Port Iris. I somehow broke their submissions system, hehe.

"Halfway Between Asleep and Dead" rejected with big positive vibes from New Myths - I came SO CLOSE with this one, top contender apparantly. Ahh well, good to know I'm on to something with it.

"Halfway Between Asleep and Dead" rejected via form letter from Electric Spec.

"The Words Women Say That Men Don't Hear" rejected via form letter from Ticon4, and then Comets and Criminals.

"Team Work" rejected via form letter from Cast of Wonders.

The worlds tragedies weigh heavily on my head.
Wait. Other way around.

Monday, July 25, 2011

This is my day, how's yours?

We don't get snow in Christchurch, so this is a novelty...if a little nerve wracking considering the already stressed and broken rooves in the city. I haven't seen snow like this in the South Island since the "Big Dump" of 92.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Writing: My current WiP is expanding at a rate of knots

I'm a magpie when it comes to my writing projects. It's a symptom of my short attention span. If something is not pleasing me, I tend to set it aside with an "I'll come back to it later". More often than not I don't.

I've worried that this may effect my transition from short story to novel writing. I want to attempt the novel at some stage, but I've never got past the Thinking About It stage. I have a few notes, but I haven't plotted. I'm notorious for winging it on a lot of my projects, and I know that this contributes to my inability to stick with the WiP if the going gets tough and I stall on a scene. I know this, I recognize this, and I have to work on this.

Monday, July 18, 2011

An All Female Venue: I'll be going on-station at Luna Station Quarterly

Some more good news! Luna Station Quarterly, a venue for female and female identified SFF writers, will be publishing my story "The Woman With Flowers In Her Hair" in September.

Luna Station Quarterly is a pay-by-exposure e-zine, where I'll be able to post up a bio and links.

A lot happening all at once! Alrighty semi-pro and pro-venues...I"m waiting on you. Hit me with it!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Living a small town existence in a big city

Last night I spent yet another Saturday night doing a whole lot of nothing. That's because there isn't much to do around Christchurch at the moment, and what can be done is very busy or difficult to get to.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Step Up: "The Ten Thousand Steps" Sold!

I'm so very pleased and proud to announce that my story "The Ten Thousand Steps" will be appearing in a forthcoming edition of Expanded Horizons.

I'm very excited about this for two reasons: Expanded Horizons is a fantastic venue for feminist and intersectional speculative fiction that I will be very proud to to be published in; and TTTS is the second story set in Katewin and The Phoenix's world of "Mid-life Crisis" which was published in Flash Me Magazine December last year - this means I'm on to something good!

Yipee, what a week!

[Image: Patrick Stewart wearing the famous "This is what a feminist looks like" t-shirt]

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Twixt" M-Brane SF June 2011

The June 2011 edition of M-Brane SF e-zine is available for purchase now, and contains my story "Twixt".

This story contains language, and discussion of sex, sexuality, rape and genderqueer issues.

I am stoked that editor Chris Fletcher has taken a punt on this story, and that he's willing to push boundaries with his science fiction. Thank you, Chris.

Check out this awesome cover:

'Tis very strange seeing my name at the top of the cover.

And yes, I know I use the phrase "born this way" in the story, but I wrote it long before I knew the title of Mother Monster's song/album.

Monday, July 11, 2011

VA: PodCastle - "5 Rules For Commuting to the Underworld" by Merrie Haskell

"5 Rules for Commuting to the Underworld" by Merrie Haskell is this week's "PodCastle Miniature", narrated by MOI!

PodCastle can be subscribed to via iTunes, or you can listen to the show at their website. Here's the direct link through to the episode here where you can listen on site or download.

I likes PodCastle coz they let me read in my normal accent, and I totally got my sarcasm on with this one!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Well, that's torn it...

In the ongoing gender balance in SF debate, Cheryl Morgan has posted another great blog entitled "Anthologies: Some Data", in which she breaks down some gender divisions.

In the comments she had this to say:
I’m getting a strong message from other people that anything that smacks of “women’s press” will automatically be labeled “feminist” and, as Gwyneth said on the BBC, being labeled “feminist” is career suicide if you want to write SF. It’s not just people in the UK telling me that.
Well, I'm screwed then ain't I *wry grin*. Maybe I haven't had my naivety and optimism mashed out of me yet. Ah well, carry on battering against the castle's defences.

"Feminazi!" - A Play in One Act

W1, W2: "Feminazis give women a bad name!"
W1: "We don't need feminists or feminism!"
W2: "Yes, banish them from our clean, green planet so they don't make us look bad to men ever again!"
F-Godmother: "Umm, OK. Your wish is granted. No more feminists. No more feminism."
W1, W2: "Hooray!"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Feminist Science Fiction: Girl Cootie Zeitgeist - All In.

The invisibility of women in science fiction meta conversation got another boost recently, as yet another ToC failed to make the grade.

Cue the screeching halt, mansplaining and return to 101. AGAIN.

Seriously people, this is getting tiring.

There's a lot of fingers and pointing and excuses and protestations of how it all looks Just Too Hard to fix the problem of sexism in publishing (if you even want to acknowledge that it exists) because of how wide ranging and systemic the problem is, so why even bother.

You should bother because we are human beings who are artists who are half the population who have meaningful insight to offer to literature. Because Science Fiction can be anything we want it to be.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Moar Rejection: Rejection Boogaloo 4/7/2011

"Anthropology, Redacted" rejected by the ever fantastic Redstone SF. Srsly, they give the best rejections. So encouraging to noobie wee me.

"Polly Ticks" rejected by Night Blade. Somehow I've managed to delete the email (wut?) but I believe it was a nice rejection.

"The City of Sand and Knives" rejected by Ideomancer with (Zomg! Ideomancer!) personalized feedback. Next to the encouragement from Redstone, this was some of the best feedback I've received yet from an editor (Zomg! Ideomancer!).

"The City of Sand and Knives" rejected by Comets and Criminals with personalized feedback. Go submit to Samuel Mae's new zine, yo, and help out the NZ specfic scene. It's GREAT to see another zine being run out of New Zealand.

"Situation Vacant, Apply Within" rejected by Warrior Wisewoman 4 anthology via form letter. (I will tell the story about this story at a MUCH later date, when I've got over myself being a prat)

"Spa day," you said. "Fun and relaxing," you said. (relaxo-kitteh sez you suck)