The Writerly Update: “Where the Hell Did June Go?” Edition

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up:

* A story sale! My flash fiction piece “The Little Things” will be appearing in Every Day Fiction on July 9.

* I’ve added my short story “The Deepening” (from issue 37 of Aoife’s Kiss) to those I have available on AnthologyBuilder.

* In a few weeks I’ll be heading off once again to TNEO, a week-long workshop for alumni of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. As a result, I’ve been knee-deep in critique mode the last several weeks, but those are pretty much done now. I rewarded myself with new shoes.

And now I must sleep and prepare for Monday, which is soon to assault me with its Mondayishness.

Two quick bits of cheery news

Three more weeks until the semester ends and I might actually have time to be an active blogger again. Emphasis on the might part given the way my crazy schedule goes.

In the meantime, I’ve briefly surfaced for two quick bits of cheery news:

1) My story “Sea of the Gods” was accepted by BayCon to appear in their next upcoming progress report. They were originally going to publish only one flash piece in a progress report, but lucky for me, they decided to publish a second one.

2) And my opera-singer-meets-the-zombie-apocalypse story “The Holy Spear” from Black Static 25 made Ellen Datlow’s full list of honorable mentions for The Best Horror of the Year, volume 4.

Now back to those looming end-of-semester deadlines.

Signals and study and stories, oh my!

It seems I went AWOL on the blog posting front. Again. But now that I’m here, many things…

SIGNALS: First, a signal boost: Say Yes to Gay YA, where authors Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith talk about an unfortunate instance of being asked to either make a gay character in their novel straight or remove the character’s POV altogether. EDITED TO ADD: Some follow up. And this is where I bow out without further comment other than to say: must so many people resort to needing to cast a villain with a dastardly agenda in the matter instead of considering that it’s more likely not so clearcut?

STUDY: Busy grad school is busy! But despite some initial moments of panic (because that’s what I do), I’m settling into the school routine just fine and have started to find a balance between class and everything else I need to squeeze into my days. You know, like writing. Speaking of…

STORIES: Appropriately enough for a writer, there are sevveral things going on in the story department:

* Now available for purchase is the 2011 Untied Shoelaces of the Mind Anthology, which includes my twisted little flash piece “Mr. Fluffy.” The story should also be online soon in issue 5 of Untied Shoelaces of the Mind.

* My story “The Cycle of the Sun” was accepted for publication in the March 2012 issue of NewMyths.com! My Odyssey classmates will quite possibly remember this piece as “the orgy story.”

* My steampunk lemurs on a dirigible story, “A Red One Cannot See” (originally published in Shimmer’s Clockwork Jungle Book issue), has been added to my stories available at AnthologyBuilder

* And I’ve finally gotten to work on the revisions for my story “The Girl Who Welcomed Death to Svalgearyen,” which I got some great feedback on back in July at TNEO. Much like my daily schedule right now, these revisions are proving to be quite the balancing act. There are some changes to make that I think are going to really strengthen the story, but I feel like it would be easy to do too much and totally edit all the life and magic out the story.

Odyssey: The Before and After Shots

Tomorrow I head off to the The Never-Ending Odyssey (aka TNEO), a week-long workshop for alumni of the six-week Odyssey Writing Workshop, so my current blogging scarcity will likely become even scarcer. But before I head out, an actual post!

Gearing up for TNEO over the last several weeks got me wondering: just how much have I really grown as a writer since attending Odyssey in 2007?

Writing workshops are most definitely not for everyone, but for some of us, they can be an amazing, inspiring, eye-opening experience. And contrary to what some would suggest, not all writing workshops result in cookie-cutter stories written to some kind of formula. I’m sure there are some that do, but my Odyssey classmates and I went into the program as very different writers, and we all came out of the program remaining very different writers.

Had I not attended Odyssey and just continued writing and seeking feedback on my work, I’m sure I would have still improved and grown as a writer over time. But I think Odyssey pushed me in the right direction harder and faster than I would have been able to do on my own. The question, though: how do you quantify that?

Writing success can be subjective and dependent on factors other than talent or the strength of a story. (Sure, you wrote a fantastic story about radioactive bunnies, but Magazine A just published a story about radioactive bunnies.) And of course, sales and artistic merit don’t always go hand in hand. (Repeat to self: I will not rant about sparkly vampires.) But because I’m someone who writes with the hope of achieving publication success, sales are probably the best measure I have to go with. That, and I’m one of those sick people who actually enjoys crunching numbers.

Crunching and analysis under the cut…

The Writerly Update: Rising from the Grave Edition

Holy crap, has it really been that long since I’ve posted something? Sorry not to have been keeping up lately, but life has continued to dance on the insane side of the fence. Hopefully come fall I’ll be able to settle back into a blog reading and writing routine. Until then, I’ll probably remain my current scattershot, occasionally resurfacing self.

In the meantime, here’s the bullet points of what I’ve been up to in the writing department:

* My zombie apocalypse story “The Holy Spear” has been accepted by Black Static. This will be my second appearance in their pages, which I’m thrilled about.

* Speaking of Black Static, reviewer Peter Tennant wrote a nice post about my story “The Wounded House” from issue 20 on his blog.

* Received my shiny contributor copy of Aoife’s Kiss (10th anniversary issue) this morning. Pretty.

* Gearing up for this summer’s TNEO workshop for Odyssey alum. As of last night, all the critiques I had to do are officially done! I’ve still got a ton of other things to do, but it’s nice to put a big fat check mark next to that beast of an item.

* Unfortunately, progress on the writing front has been mostly non-existent. I got in a good afternoon of revision work on My Big Fat Epic Fantasy Novel a couple weeks ago, but otherwise, that’s been kind of it. But now that TNEO critiques are out of the way, I can hopefully get back in gear. I’ve got some revisions to do on a short story, several flash pieces I should probably polish up and send out somewhere (anyone have suggestions on where to send an unabashedly liberal-leaning gay superhero flash story?), and then back to the novel grind.

A sale, and unexpected responses to saying you write fantasy

I’m happy to say that I’ve sold a twisted little flash piece of mine called “Mr. Fluffy” to the wonderfully named Untied Shoelaces of the Mind.

And on a non-pimpage note, I’ve now encountered the following situation enough that I’m curious to know if any of my fellow fantasy writers have as well:

I’ll be in a conversation with a non-writer and/or non-speculative fiction reader who finds out I’m a writer and asks, “What kind of stories do you write?” The “science fiction” and “horror” parts of my answer usually go over as expected, but saying “fantasy” often earns me awkward silence and a strange, questioning look. So, even though I’ve never written anything with an elf in it, I elaborate with, “Elves, magic, Lord of the Rings, that sort of thing.” The person then laughs in relief and says, “Oh, when you said fantasy, I thought you meant like sexual fantasies.”

Erm, no, I did not. At least not unless one of my characters has a sexual fantasy relevant to the plot.

Two Quick & Shiny Things

First, my story “Dumping the Dead” was selected for inclusion in The Best of Every Day Fiction Three.

And second, a review of “Mortis Persona” at Tangent Online says, among other things, “Barnett’s lush prose does a fantastic job of building this world.”  I don’t think I’ve ever had my prose described as lush before, but it’s a description I’ll happily accept.