About one year ago, I split this blog off from my travel blog, so that my foodie friends wouldn’t have to suffer through my writer’s angst and my writing friends wouldn’t have to put up with my wine snobbery.
At that time, I announced that my goal for 2014 was to get published, and that since my novel probably had a long row to hoe, I would be putting my efforts into writing short stories. I enjoyed this, and I learned a lot from writing some shorts. I had some success; I won the Speculative Fiction category for the annual NOWW (Northwestern Ontario Writer’s Workshop) contest for “Fermi High” a YA story about roller-skating on the moon. Outside of NOWW’s magazine, I did not get into print in 2014. I’m pretty philosophical about that. In retrospect, setting the goal of getting published in a particular year seems naive. Like a young single who vows, “I’m going to get married this year.” Maybe you need to meet the right one first, and build a relationship. So I’m carrying on with my search for an agent or publisher for my novel, and I’ll continue to try and find homes for my handful of short stories, and even write a few more. My writing will improve, and my time will come when it comes.
My day job is as a pilot, and when I’ve had career setbacks or problems with that, I’ve always tried to move forward. Learn new skills, add to the qualifications on my licence with new ratings or endorsements, that kind of thing. I have taken the same approach to my writing.
I enrolled with Odyssey for an online course on Showing versus Telling, and spent January slogging through the assigned work: analyzing and writing and critiquing. I put dozens of hours into the homework, and I got my money’s worth and more. I also had fun! I learned a ton of stuff about the title topic, and even more about critiquing and crafting a scene. I even got to rework one small segment from my novel, and it was revelatory to see the comments of my instructor and fellow students. It made me a stronger writer, and I’m developing new ideas for parts of my book now.
It didn’t make the 2014 cut-off, but my flash fiction “Freezer Burn” was accepted by Antipodean SF and appeared in January 2015, issue 199. The audio podcast is due out on Valentine’s Day, in my own voice.