The 2022 Writerly Recap

Oh hey, it’s that thing I skipped doing last year: the naval-gazing yearly round up! Here’s the quick and dirty version since there’s way too much other stuff I need to get done:

Published in 2022

Sold in 2022

The three stories above, plus:

Written in 2022

  • First draft of a new fantasy novel, tentatively titled Barren Water
  • One new short story, “Reasons This Is Not a Horror Story”
  • Revised and started submitting a short story written the previous year, “The Pitch Pipe Forest”

Other Writerly Things I Did in 2022

  • Did online readings in January and December for the awesome folks at The Story Hour
  • Participated in a great online panel (Crossroad Blues: Exploring the Boundary Between Life and Death) as part of Weeknight Writers’ Storycrafting Sessions: Horror, a one-day virtual conference

On the To-Do List for 2023

  • Revise the new novel, then throw it out to folks for feedback
  • Revise “Reasons Not a Horror Story” (after getting some more critiques in a few weeks) and start submitting it
  • Write some new short stories
  • Possibly revisit my novel The Ashdowners. I received an invite to revise and resubmit from a small-press publisher, but I need to let it simmer a bit before deciding if it’s something I want to tackle.
  • Who knows!? Let’s see what happens.

The 2020 Writerly Recap

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these end-of-the-year round up posts on here. In fact, it’s been . . .

*checks date of last writerly recap*

Ok, so maybe only 6 years. But after 2020, it sure as hell feels like 84.

Despite the steaming pile of donkey balls that has been 2020, I managed to stay productive on the writing front. In large part because I’m fortunate to be in a position where the pandemic hasn’t upended my life anywhere near as much as it has many other people’s lives. Not to say it hasn’t been stressful or depressing. (Being a singer during a pandemic suuuuuucks, especially when most of your singing had been with choirs.)

We all have different ways of dealing with these things, and my way is to keep busy. I did hit an emotionally difficult patch back in the early fall where everything felt So. Damn. Hard. The thing that eventually pulled me out of my funk? Cataloging my book collection. Because I am a nerd and organization is my super power and so that’s what made me feel better.

But enough about that. Here’s what happened on the writing front this year:

Published in 2020

Written in 2020

I finished my steampunk fantasy novel, The Ashdowners—woo hoo! And I started querying agents—less woo hoo. Soul crushing process is soul crushing! But for now, at least, the search continues.

I started a new play—a comedy that, in a departure from my usual stuff, is actually not fantastical in nature. I worked on it in fits and starts early in the year, but sadly haven’t touched it since June. I’ll get back to it . . . eventually. With the pandemic-inflicted challenges live theater is facing right now, I just haven’t been able to keep myself in the right head space for the project.

And finally, I wrote lots of new short fiction this year: one brand-spanking new flash fiction piece that I’ll start submitting soon, one formerly 5,000-word story pared down to flash length (the aforementioned “The Dragon Queen of the Suffix County Public Library”), and four new short stories (or technically, three short stories and a novelette). Of those four, one is out on submission, two need some revisions, and one is likely going to be trunked unless I have a sudden burst of inspiration for how to make it something more than competent-but-predictable.

2021 To-Do List

Continue the agent search for The Ashdowners.

Revise those two short stories that I said need revising.

Maybe get back to that play.

Tackle more of the short story ideas darting around my brain like over-caffeinated squirrels.

Keep flinging my finished stories at magazines.

Do some preliminary research for a novel idea I’ve had on the back burner, then start outlining and writing.

More than anything, though, I look forward to tossing 2020 out the nearest window.

The 2014 Writerly Recap

Welcome to the Yearly Writerly Recap, which is sadly on the verge of becoming the annual “New Year’s seems as good a time as any for Barb to finally blow the dust off her poor, neglected blog” post.

Speaking of my neglected blog, I’m hoping to change that in the new year. For three years, I was distracted by this pesky little bugger known as grad school. Schoolwork bumped a good many things down the priority list, and blogging was one of them. But then this past May came, and I got me a shiny new master’s degree, at which point I was like:


So now I have more time for things I enjoy again. Like writing. Which brings us to the recappy stuff.

Published in 2014

Forthcoming in 2015

World Fantasy Convention

I finally had the chance to attend the World Fantasy Convention for the first time in forever, and it was amazing amounts of awesome sauce. Much to my surprise, I landed a reading spot on the programming, which was a con-going first for me. Even more surprising was not only having an audience for my reading (without resorting to bribery!), but having a couple people in the audience whom I didn’t actually know. Yay random strangers!

Writerly Progress

2014 was a rare year for me on the short story front in that I barely wrote any. In fact, I wrote only two, which is way less than I would have thought. One was a flash piece (the aforementioned “Dream Logic” that appeared in Daily Science Fiction), and the other is a 6,500-word fantasy piece that’s currently sitting in a slush pile, clamoring for the editor’s attention.

A good chunk of my writing time this year went toward reworking My Big Fat Epic Fantasy Novel. I had all these revision ideas I was excited about, but the project has been in my brain so long that objectivity had gone out the window, and so I was still clinging to elements that didn’t make sense in light of those changes. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to run a synopsis past some fellow writers and do some epic levels of brainstorming with them, which helped me finally notice pieces that didn’t fit in the puzzle anymore. Things like, “Do you even need this character? He doesn’t impact the plot at all. He’s just there to be awful.” Based on that, I spent a good month and a half totally retooling my outline. And there are handy-yet-insane plot diagrams now. I love my insane plot diagrams—because now when I change something, I can more easily see what other plot and character elements that change affects.

So that’s where I am as we we bid adieu to 2014. For the new year, I’ve got some short story projects I want to tackle (one is already underway), and then I’m going to dive into the novel revisions. Shiny 2015, y’all.

The 2013 Writerly Recap

Yup, it’s that navel gazingish time of year again when New Year’s provides me with as good an excuse as any to to take stock of my writerly shenanigans.

So, 2013. It’s the year that came riding in on a wave of awesome, yet now looks poised to trickle out with a whole lot of meh. The first half of the year, I was feeling good about my writing (but not in an unhealthy and complacent I-don’t-need-to-improve kind of way), selling stories consistently at the pro level, and had gotten acceptances from a couple publications I previously hadn’t been able to crack. But that all came to abrupt end in September, when a months-long dry spell in both the writing and selling of things began, which in turn makes me feel like I’m back at square one. Again. So, um, happy new year?

Anyway, the awesome was awesome while it lasted, so with fond remembrance of its awesomeness, here’s 2013 in a nutshell:

Published in 2013

Sold in 2013

Four of the stories above, plus these two forthcoming in 2014:

Writerly Progress

Sadly, I’ve barely written a thing fiction-wise since September. Or blog-wise either, as you can probably tell by the silence and cobwebs here. Stupid non-writing life getting in the way. But before that, fiction was accomplished. I finished major revisions on an older short story and wrote six new stories. One of those stories went straight into the trunk, sure, but two of them sold pretty darn quickly, so I call it even. The rest, though, are traipsing around slush piles with heads bowed in shame as they collect more rejections.

I also managed to return to revisions on My Big Fat Epic Fantasy Novel this year. I didn’t get very far into them before my fall semester began and school work took precedence, but my brain has clearly still been plugging away at the novel even when the rest of me hasn’t. I recently had a big old revelation about one of my protagonists that is going to seriously change several things in the story. In a good way, I think. I hope. Mostly I’m just grateful that my brain had said revelation before I got to rewriting the parts of the novel it affects.

So, what awaits me in 2014? For starters, I intend to make some more headway in the novel revisions before my spring semester starts in late January. And then, LAST SEMESTER EVER, PEOPLE! By May, I’ll have my master’s degree and should finally have time to be a writer again. And I’ll be able to read for fun again instead of spending all my time on textbooks and dry academic articles. Damn, I miss fiction.

The 2012 Writerly Recap

A New Year’s surprise: I’m actually writing a blog post!

*blows dust off the den of writerly wackiness*

So, 2012. You’ve been insanely busy, frequently maddening, occasionally shiny, and utterly draining. You’ve been the year of the “lovely writing and there’s a lot to like but . . .” rejection. You’ve been the year of stories I adore and am really proud of not finding any love. But I am done with you, 2012. Done, I say! Now get off my lawn.

2012 Writerly Progress

Despite having some trouble with that whole writing/work/school/singing balance thing, I somehow managed to produce a fairly respectable amount of fiction this past year (respectable for me, at least). One new flash story still needs some pondering and revising, but I also finished four other new stories, one of which has already found a home (see shiny things below). I finished some substantial revisions on two other stories, one of which was a rewrite request that led to a sale to Every Day Fiction (also among the shiny things below). And I’m partway through major revisions on yet another story.

Shiny 2012 Things

Since my last blog post, I’m thrilled to say that I received an acceptance from Flash Fiction Online for “The Swan Maiden,” one of the new stories I wrote this year. This will be my second appearance in FFO.

As mentioned in a post many months back, my opera-singing zombie story “The Holy Spear” from issue 25 of Black Static made Ellen Datlow’s full list of honorable mentions for The Best Horror of the Year, volume 4. Admittedly, it’s a rather lengthy list, but I’m pleased to be on it all the same.

And I’m happy to have seen the following stories published in 2012:

2013: Bring It!

Ok, 2013, here’s what I’d like to get done in the writing department: Those revisions on that story I mentioned earlier. Some more flash stories that actually stay at that length. Perhaps tackle a couple of those short story ideas that have been nibbling at my brain. And get back to the revisions on My Big Fat Epic Fantasy Novel.

Work with me on those, 2013, and I think we can accomplish some awesomeness together.

The 2011 Writerly Recap

Yup, it’s that time again: the end of another artificially imposed construct approaches. January 1 may be a fairly arbitrary marker for the start of the new year, but it does serve as a convenient measuring stick for looking back and taking stock of where I’ve been and where I’m heading writing-wise.

So with that said, let’s take a look at 2011—not as epically awesome as 2010 was for me on the writing front, but not a bad year.

Novel Progress
Ha! I said “novel progress.”

There was lots of valuable brainstorming and jotting down of notes and ideas during 2011, but otherwise, revisions on My Big Fat Epic Fantasy novel took a back seat to a great many other things. Hopefully that will be remedied in the near future.

Short Stories
Stories written in 2011 include:

  • “Demon Dreams,” a 6,700-word fantasy piece that’s probably going to end up being even longer once I finish revising the dang thing
  • “The Girl Who Welcomed Death to Svalgearyen,” a 3,800-word Norwegian folk tale-ish fantasy story that sadly has only racked up form letters at the few slush piles it’s visited so far. I had my hopes up that this one would get a little more love.
  • “First Date in the Horror Aisle,” a goofy little 2,800-word YA-ish science fiction story (despite the title)
  • And a 1,000-word comedic superhero flash piece that’s probably too heavy-handed to sell anywhere

My one writing goal for 2011 was to do better than my paltry 2010 output of only one new story, so I can definitely check that off as achieved. I wish I had gotten more done, but trying to balance writing time, day job, and grad school was tough. But now that I’ve gotten the hang of that being-a-student-again thing, I’m going to strive for a better balance once the spring semester starts. In the meantime, I need to take advantage of winter break and get writer-me into gear.

Of story sales and SFWA…
While I had several stories published this past year in some rather lovely places, I wasn’t nearly as successful with sales as I was in 2010, both in terms of total number sold (9 stories in 2010 vs. 5 in 2011) and sales to pro markets (3 in 2010, zilch in 2011).

Acceptances in 2011

  • “Unlucky Clover” to Beyond Centauri
  • “Mr. Fluffy” to Untied Shoelaces of the Mind
  • “The Holy Spear” to Black Static
  • “The Cycle of the Sun” to
  • “Dumping the Dead” to The Best of Every Day Fiction Three

Published in 2011

Daily Science Fiction became a SFWA-qualifying market this past fall, making 2011 the year that I finally reached active member status. I don’t feel like much of a pro, though. Just another would-be writer slogging away, occasionally achieving a small enough scrap of success to feel like I might one day achieve awesomeness, but mostly just adding to my rejection collection and banging my head against the same old wall of why-can’t-I-do-better-than-this frustration.

Wow, that last bit was a downer of a sentiment to ring in the new year with. Here, have a Muppet chaser:

The 2010 Writerly Recap

Yup, it’s that time of year again.  Set your phasers to navel gazing!

This time last year, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth and feeling like all things writerly were taking a plunge into the abyss of despair.  But 2010?  I kind of love you, 2010.  You proved to me why it’s important to keep plugging away in the face of mountainous piles of suck.  Because you never know when a streak of awesomeness will suddenly strike.

Continue reading “The 2010 Writerly Recap”