I am a member of the Young Gunns, a group of writers who have completed one of James Gunn‘s science fiction writing programs1 and yesterday I was updating the other members on my recent writing accomplishments. As I made the list of recent sales and story appearances, I was rather astounded at just how many I’d had:
- In October, my story “Lost and Found” appeared in Daily Science Fiction.
- I sold my story, “The Negative Impact of Climate Change on the Unusual Beasts of the World” to Analog and it will appear sometime in 2013.
- I sold my story, “Flipping the Switch” to the original anthology, Beyond the Sun, edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt. The book will be out in the summer of 2013.
- I sold a piece of nonfiction, “Gem Hunting” to Analog and that will appear sometime in 2013.
- I am working on editor requested revisions to yet another story that I’m attempting to sell to a new magazine.
- I am working on a draft of another nonfiction piece for yet another science fiction magazine.
In addition to this, there is my bimonthly book review column in InterGalactic Medcine Show, as well as the occasional interview features that I do there, most recently my interview with Ken Liu. And it’s possible that I’ll have a new column in another magazine next year.
All of this has built up steadily over time and has kind of caught me by surprise with the way it came together as it did. It is really rather astonishing to thing that I managed to accomplish this much, when I can still clearly recall those years of desperately wanting to make that very first story sale. It seems to me that I’ve built up some momentum and I’d certainly like to maintain that momentum. But how?
Last night, while considering this, I decided to jot down a list of all of the stories I’ve been wanting to write, regardless of what kind of stories they were. It seems to me that I’ve already managed to do the hardest part, which is make that first story sale (and indeed, I believe I have 9 story sales under my belt and a couple of nonfiction sales as well). Now I can relax and have fun, write the stories that I want to write and enjoy the process of writing them, which is, after all, why I write in the first place. I like telling good stories.
I ended up with 10 stories on my list. I tried to list them in the order that was most appealing to me at the present moment. In other words, I started with the story that I most wanted to write, and worked backwards. I have titles for some of the stories, but for others, I simply have placeholders. I marked each story with a classification (science fiction, fantasy, etc.) and with an estimated length (short story, novelette, etc.) Then I added a note to remind myself what I was trying to do with that particular story. Here is what my list looks like today:
- “And We Jumped Into a Sea of Stars” (2nd draft) – science fiction/short story.
- “In the Aftermath of Victory” – fantasy/short story – my epic fantasy.
- “Miles and Miles and Miles” – science fiction/novelette – my alternate history baseball/Apollo story.
- “Bird Story” (placeholder title) – horror/short story – my attempt at horror.
- “Cassiopeia’s Chair” – science fiction/novelette – my Walden story
- “One Hundred Trillion Pictures of the Luthuli” – science fiction/novella – my exorcising demons story
- “Fortress, Inc.” – fantasy/flash – my attempt at humor
- “P.T.S.D.” – science fiction/novelette – my attempt to answer a question that occurred to me while reading a Connie Willis novel.
- “White Noise” – fantasy/flash – my Ray Bradbury pastiche story
- “First Light” – science fiction/short story
It seems to me that these stories provide plenty of fuel to allow me to attempt to maintain the momentum I’ve built up over the last few years. The stories are different enough from one another in theme, type, style and length to let me experiment and not pigeonhole myself with one type of story. Some are long but some are very short. If I could manage to get through a draft of each of these stories by the end of 2013, I think I just might be able to maintain my momentum.
Plus, I feel like I learn as much from each story sale as I do from each story rejection. And I do expect I’ll collect my share of rejections from these stories. But looking at this list, I’m not only enthusiastic about the stories but I think that one or two of these could end up being stand-out pieces.