April 30, 2022

What I’m up to - April 2022

Springing forward with many updates.

This is a cross-post from my current Now page.

And just like that, a full third of 2022 is gone. Wait… what?

Currently writing

  • April has had some pretty cool stuff happen!
  • On the 21st, I found out that Clarkesworld Magazine is buying a second story from me! My last story sold to them in December of 2021, so I’m currently riding a major high from selling two stories to one of the biggest digital SF short story markets inside of six months. These are also the only stories I have submitted to Clarkesworld and the only stories I’ve submitted full stop since starting to write short fiction again 1. Obviously I should stop now so I never break this 100% acceptance record. Of course, I won’t. I’ll write a blog post soon about Carapace’, the new short. In the meantime, check out the first story from last year, Vegvísir’.
  • My solarpunk murder mystery has been put on ice for now, after the contemporary spy thriller took the lead in both my own affections and discussions with my agent. I’ll return to it for sure - I’m intrigued by the world and the complexity of the story. But writing two books at once is definitely as silly as I suspected it would be. My brain does not work that way.
  • So now I’m in full on drafting mode, which is very exciting. It’s been quite a while since I actually got stuck in to a full first draft like this. I’ve written parts of books, edited a lot and started a full draft, but I tend to get a good feeling when I know I’m going to be able to see a full draft all the way through and, well, it’s been a while. I think the last one was early last year. Possibly even late 2020.

Currently reading

  • Jade City by Fonda Lee - I’m listening to this one on Audible and the narration is excellent. This was on my TBR already after seeing Fonda Lee on a great podcast episode about cities as characters but when I asked for fantasy recommendations from two of my writing groups, Jade City came up several times. It’s great - a wonderfully textured secondary world. Gangsters with magic’ feels like it should be a much more common sub-genre/trope than it is. I’m looking forward to reading more of the series.
  • TITLE REDACTED by Nick Binge - One of the absolute joys of making connections in the writing world and learning to be a good critique partner is that I get to read a ton of books by amazing fellow writers. In this case it’s one of my friend Nick Binge’s current draft novels. I can’t tell you anything about it except that it was bloody excellent.
  • The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi - I’m back on this one after taking a lot of time for critique reading and short fiction. Man, this is some seriously gritty and plausible worldbuilding. It’s that kind of dystopian/crapsack setting that works on two levels - as a writer I find it very inspiring to see how deftly Bacigalupi creates the illusion of a complete, textured world, while being simultaneously appalled at the verisimilitude of it and how easily I can see present day dynamics going this way. Half of my brain is going cool’ while the other half is going omg this is terrifying’.

Currently doing

  • I finished up one day job last week (it’s been a great week to be off in Scotland, fantastic weather) and will be starting a new, fully remote role next week. I’m really looking forward to it. It will include some travel down south, which I’m also kind of looking forward to - I think it will be a good way for me to slowly (very slowly) start re-engaging with the wider world after over two years of having a severely constricted day-to-day life and risk tolerance.
  • I’m nearly done with Couch to 5k for the second time in my life! I’m now comfortably running for just shy of thirty minutes and hitting 5k totals. Next week will be the final week of the standard course and at that point I’ll need to do a little research on what to do next. I’m not really interested in working up to half marathons or anything like that, but I’d like to figure out what I can do as a regular, sustainable cardio exercise. There’s no shortage of good walking and running trails in the woods and hills around my village, so I’m looking forward to continuing to explore them.

Currently planning

  • The second in my editing series also seemed to go down well, so I’ll finish off that sub-series in May. I’ve also had a bunch of recent discussions in various writing Discords over the past few weeks about writing routines and productivity, so I will write some more posts along those lines too. I’ll also write about my new story, Carapace’, once I know when it’s going to be published.
  • May (and June) is going to be a head-down drafting month. I’m aiming to have a 90-100k word first draft with my agent by July-ish, so that gives me approximately 12-14 weeks to draft and edit up to the standard I want before I send a draft to Harry. That’s approximately 7-8k a week on average, which is comfortably within my usual writing speed. It will go up and down as I draft and edit, but I’m pretty confident in my ability to hit my own deadline.
  • As always, if there’s anything you’d like to see me write about, publishing or writing process-wise, please give me a shout on Twitter.

  1. My previous short story submissions were in the mid 2000s and were on paper. The less said about those the better. They were dreadful.↩︎


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How I write - Editing Part 2 - Developing a process This is the third in an occasional series of posts about writing process stuff that has worked for me, and the second in a sub-series about editing.
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How I write - Editing Part 3 - How I actually do it This is the fourth in an occasional series of posts about writing process stuff that has worked for me, and the third in a sub-series about editing.

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