2 Flowers v 2 is Done!

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It took me much longer than I thought to get this draft done. I still haven’t quite nailed the characterization in it, which makes the conflict feel weak. I’m not sure I will before the deadline for Writers of the Future, but I’m going to do my best. For now, I’m going to work on some personal projects while it is out at beta readers.

Stats:

  • Started July 28
  • Finished August 17
  • 1,371 words (110% of v 1)
  • 3 scenes (100% of v 1)

Hugo Reading 2018 – July

July involved a lot of travel for me, which allowed me to get a lot of reading done. However, I was focused more on beating down my three-years-long reading list than reading things published in the last year. Still, I didn’t have to play catchup when it was time to write this post, so that’s something. Here’s what I got through:

(5 stars) “The Chaos Village” by M. K. Hutchins
a novelette published by PodCastle

Rob is a character with many similarities to someone on the autism spectrum. It was really nice to have that sort of character be the protagonist of the story instead of a side character. I loved his interest in the ever changing world and how he tried to make sense of how gravity seems to go down only sometimes, even if the other characters did get annoyed at his questions. The conflicts were interesting, though I was able to guess at how some of them would be solved.


Welcome to Astuna” by Pip Coen
a short story published by Apex

The conflict of this story is really interesting. Woman wakes up in bed, thinking she’s been drugged, then realizes she’s lost 15 years worth of memories. Characterization is really good, keeping her feeling like a college freshman when her body is older. And I loved the twist at the end when she regains her memories.

Trigger warning: strong language


Masterclass” by Cassandra Khaw
a short story published by Daily Science Fiction

This story failed me on two accounts. The first is my fault for not being familiar with the Dragon Lady stereotype. Having researched it afterwards, I can see that this is a nice way of Asian women owning that trope and breathing fire. The second is that the fantastic element is more metaphorical than substantive like I prefer.


Two Bodies in Basting Stitch” by Allison Jamieson-Lucy
a short story published by Beneath Ceaseless Skies

This story has many similarities to my story “Soulmates” so I really want to take it apart and study it. My first impression wasn’t super, as I found it hard to tell in audio when we were in the present and when we were in flashback. Sere’s despair felt real – I couldn’t see a way out for her – as did the attraction and anger in her relationship with Tashet.

2 Flowers v 1 is Done!

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This story is a struggle for me. I’m not super excited about it, but I am determined to polish it up. So that means I have a lot of crafting ahead. I need to really dig into who these characters are, and develop their character arcs better, because that is the soul of this story. Kamila, the main character, is more quiet than most of my characters, so she’s harder to pin down. I could also probably work on what theme I want this story to tell too, in order to help it be more compelling.

At least its short, so while this draft felt like pulling teeth, once I sat down to do it, it didn’t take too long.

Stats:

  • Started July 11
  • Finished July 20
  • 1,252 words (147% of v 0)
  • 3 scenes (100% of v 0)

Hugo 2018 Reading – June

June was a roller coaster month, ending with kids out of school, which completely throws my schedule for a loop. At least now they’re at the age where they can mostly self-entertain. I just have to feed them now and then. 😉 Here’s what I managed to read this month.

(5 stars) How the Paladin Got His Scar by Rich Burlew
a graphic novel published by Giant in the Playground

I am not sure if this is eligible for the Hugo as it is not publicly available yet. It’s only available to those who contributed to Burlew’s Kickstarter 5 years ago. It’s a prequel story to one of the side characters of the webcomic Order of the Stick. This story was the reason I contributed to the Kickstarter, and I did not expect it to be so long (96 pages!) or this good. A great struggle for O-Chul, who just wants to solve a crisis diplomatically when both sides are eager for war. Also loved seeing young Miko and Hinjo.


(5 stars) “Paradox” by Naomi Kritzer
a short story published by Uncanny

I loved how this story touched on many of the different takes on time travel that have been written over the years. And then it ends with a call to action, saying why rely on time travelers to do the work of fixing the timeline when you can influence the world now.


(5 stars) “Wendy Darling” by A. C. Wise
a short story published by Daily Science Fiction

I really like how this depicts the creepy nature of Peter Pan, and how nobody listens to Wendy, but she is still determined to bring her daughter back from Neverland.


Rick and the Green Gunslinger” by Zach Chapman
a short story published by Persistent Visions

This story had a lot of good gritty details and a clever duel in the weird west where shooting bullets casts spells. Yet while this is based on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which was about testing Gawain’s honesty, Rick is anything but honest. Fun story, though a fair amount of swearing.


Monster of the Soup Cans” by Elizabeth Barron
a short story published by Diabolical Plots

This story was really cute, about a shy scientist and the shy monster she accidentally creates.

Soulmates v 3 is Done!

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I got a bunch of comments from critters, half of which seemed to consist of “Describe the raths better!” So I worked on that, and putting in a bunch of things called emotions. The second half was overhauled a lot too, not because people thought it needed it, but because I had an idea that made it better.

I continue to feel really good about it. I’m going to do a polish, and then see what I can do with it.

Stats:

  • Started June 20
  • Finished June 23
  • 2,894 words (124% of v 2)
  • 3 scenes (150% of v 2)

Go Vote for “Daughters of Ishmael”

coverAll the stories in the 2017 Mormon Lit Blitz have now been published, including my story “Daughters of Ishmael.” Now, voting is open to determine which of the 12 finalists will be the grand prize winner. Instructions and a list of the finalists can be found here. Go, enjoy, and vote! The winner will be announced on Monday June 19th.

And if you’re curious, here is my author commentary on my story. An e-book with both story and commentary will be available for free after the winner is announced.

Two Flowers v 0 is Done!

2 flowers banner copyIt’s a new story, and it went very quick. This is the first story that I brainstormed after I decided that I wanted to focus on more women-driven stories. This one is about a barren woman getting a magic spell to be able to conceive, but there is a side effect she didn’t anticipate.

This ended up being shorter than I anticipated, but I am an underwriter, and expect it to expand in rewrites. I also don’t like the title, so expect that to change. I might be able to get another draft in before going back to Soulmates. We’ll just have to see how things go.

Stats:

  • Started: June 7, 9:49 am
  • Finished: June 7, 11:42 am
  • 849 words
  • 3 scenes

Hugo 2018 Reading – May

Yay, I feel like I’m finally getting into the groove of listening to podcasts! Just in time for my schedule to be completely upended by summer break. Well, I’m still hopeful that I’ll get some story reading in. And I’m excited that I found my first 5 star story for the year!

Bear Language” by Martin Cahill
a short story published by Fireside Fiction

This is a heavy story dealing with child abuse and alcoholism. It handled the topics well. I especially liked how Joanna’s perception of swearing evolved over the course of the story – at first she was able to filter the words out, but later, she couldn’t. I am glad that it ended on a hopeful note.


Piety, Prayer, Peacekeeper, Apocalypse” by Rati Mehrotra
a short story published by PodCastle

Some interesting magic and politics going on here. I just didn’t feel particularly drawn in to it. I don’t care for stories with seduction in them.


Soccer Fields and Frozen Lakes” by Greg Kurzawa
a short story published by Lightspeed

This story was a bit hard for me to understand in audio. I didn’t always catch when the letters were addressed to someone new. I wanted to understand more about what hybrids were, though I suppose that’s not important to the story. The pacing was a bit slow, I felt. I did like the twist ending, though.


Storytime at the White Hart” by Wm Henry Morris
a short story published by Big Echo

I am not familiar with Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Ultimate Melody”, which this story was inspired by, so it was hard for me to get much out of it. I find stories about guys chatting around a bar to be boring anyway.


(5 stars) “Auspicium Melioris Aevi” by JY Yang
a short story published by Uncanny

This was a story with a really interesting concept – clones live out scenes from their progenitor’s life in simulation, but one clone decides to make different choices, based on what he knows of the entirety of his progenitor’s life, and is punished for it. Really interesting look at Singapore’s history, and meritocracy.


To the Editors of The Matriarch, re: Allegations of Pressganging” by Matt Dovey
a short story published by Daily Science Fiction

This alternate history doesn’t have anything flashy to set it apart from life as we know it, but it was a really interesting look at applying the rationale for rape (especially of women) to men being pressganged.

Soulmates v 2 is Done!

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Another draft done! This time around, I expanded the ending, as my critique group let me know I had ended it way too soon. Now, it really feels like it sticks the landing. Yay! I also worked on adding details to flesh out the world and characters, and refined the big fight.

It’s off to critters for another go over, and I have a few more details to add and refine. Then I’m hopeful for sending it out in the markets.

Statistics:

  • Started May 4
  • Finished May 15
  • 2,276 words (124% of v 1)
  • 2 scenes (100% of v 1)