Writing Life Updates: September 2022

Life update: back on my bread bullshit! I got a lot of new bread gear for my birthday, so I had fun breaking all of that in. The recipes I worked on and studied were rye bread and pumpernickel bread.

Author Life News

So, I thought I ended July with a bang, but August ended up being my best month for short story sales in 2022 so far. In total, I made 3 story sales to top magazines and anthologies in the month. I sold a story to Interzone Magazine, Fantasy Magazine, and to the Black Matter Ink anthology, Monstrous Futures, out in April 2023! If you read my August Author Update, you know I’ve been waiting to hear news about Monstrous Futures since July.

With fall starting, I’m looking forward to the rollout of a few of my recent story sales. My Fantasy story will be out next month in October. Then my Fantasy and Science Fiction story will be out in November. And at some point, my Interzone story will be out in the winter! These stories are all ones I’m very excited to see in the world because they showcase a skill above my previously published stories.

I’m more daring and wild in these newer stories. And I love it. I hope readers love it, too. The feedback and comments from the editors who accepted these stories make me feel like readers will enjoy them.

My aim is to sell at least 3 more stories this year to top magazines. 7 stories in 7 different top magazines or anthologies would be perfect for me. It’s not a lot, and I know if I didn’t aim so high, I’d be able to get even more stories out, but I wanted to show myself that I was at the point of writing knock-out fiction perfect for high pro mags that I’ve been dreaming about getting in for over 5 years.

With 3 stories out, and a few more stories I’m working on editing to send out, I think I can get the 3 story sales I need to make this year absolutely perfect.

My August short story challenge ended on a high note with 19 new stories down! Using the character voice cards was an interesting experiment that led to some strange and, not going to lie, shocking stories. It was also nice to see how my studying has shown up in my craft and writing. I’ll be putting these stories aside while I work on other projects and continue developing my craft (specifically around voice and syntax).

Right now, I’m focusing on edits of a science fiction short story about spaceship construction and rounding out the final edits on a fantasy story I’ve been working on for a couple of months now. I’m hoping to finish up with the fantasy story this week and the spaceship story next week, so I can move on to my next short story editing project in the queue, which is also a scifi story set in space. I’m also working on another article for Writer’s Digest about how I sharpened my fiction to land more story sales.

I finished edits on my horror novella! I have one final read-through pass scheduled for the last two weeks of September. As long as nothing big pops up, I’ll be sending the manuscript out at the start of October. In the meantime, I’m working on finalizing my query packet, so writing my book’s synopsis, query letter, and submission process for agents and publishers. By October, I want everything ready to go, so I can send out a query blast to my agent list and hopefully get news back within the following weeks.

With the first novel I queried, I did it in increments, which allowed me to learn about the query process and change course as I found out what worked and what didn’t. It’s been a long year since that first book went out on query, and it’s taught me a lot. My horror novella has a stronger voice and compelling plot that isn’t as literary and dense as my other novel. Hopefully, the agents who have all asked to see my next manuscript get grabbed by this book the way it grabbed my alpha readers.

As the final months of 2022 come up to greet us, I’ve moved deeper into my study of voice and syntax by combining the two and seeing how each heightens the other. I’ll be doing this blend of syntax and voice for the rest of the year, experimenting with it in my stories, reading craft and technical books, and studying published works for how the authors use the two to build a stronger story. In September, I’ll be reading Hench for how the author constructs the sentences and builds the voice.

Thanks for reading about my writing life and all the work I do to keep the lights on in my writing tower. Later this week, I’ll get into another How I Write post on scheduling my writing time. Any questions about my writing life are welcome—just drop a comment.

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