Author Life Updates: February and March 2023

Author Life News

Publishing News: If you haven’t already placed orders for Interzone Issue #295 and Monstrous Futures, consider grabbing print editions! Interzone will have my science fantasy short story Building Blocks (story image above by the amazing Dante Luiz!). Building Blocks is about a magical construction team and the painter who has done everything to join them. Monstrous Futures has my science fiction horror story How I Creak for You, about a serial killer’s smart home and the bonds it forms with the killer and victims.

There are some awards happening and being voted for that I have eligible work for. Check out my 2022 award eligibility Twitter post. There is also a full list of all my 2022 stories in my End of 2022 blog post. If you vote for the Hugo’s, Astounding Award, or any others I am most definitely forgetting, please consider me and my stories!

My focus over the last couple of months has been to get to know my new novel’s world and characters. I’ve been reading through my masterworks to help inform my drafting, research, and writing:

  1. Requiem for a Dream
  2. Please See Us
  3. It

They each represent the strongest themes, styles, and blending of genres that my book has. Reading through them has been really exciting, sad, and informative. I’ve finished Requiem for a Dream and am currently reading through Please See Us. Next up will be It, which I am the most excited to read since I haven’t read a King novel in years and have never read It, though the movie played a huge part of my childhood nightmares.

With what I’ve been letting come to be about the story during story, character, and setting generative exercises, I’ve started building out a very rough chapter outline. I spent February and March charting out the entire main storyline, which came to about 67 chapters—which is perfect for the word count I was seeing for the story! I’ll be using April and May to chart out the killer’s subplot before moving on to the love interest and *hidden/twist* subplots. I don’t normally chapter outline my subplots, but because this story is a bit more juggling hats than my other works, I figured I’d give it a try.

My guess is, it’ll take me till at least September to chart out all the subplots and finish the preliminary chapter outline. It will also probably be 20,000 to 30,000 words of everything that happens throughout the story, whether or not it shows up on the page. Now, I won’t stick to this outline rigidly but use it as a way to write my story’s pre-draft in my mind. It also helps me learn about the characters, setting, and world.

Alongside my novel research and reading, I’ve been working on my regular gigs and assignments for The Writer, Strange Horizons, Writer’s Digest, and Lightspeed Magazine. I also have a couple of commissions and potential projects whose short stories I’ve been working on. Hopefully more news soon on those!

I’m at this really interesting point in my career, where I don’t want to miss anything, in a sense. I’m doing what I have always wanted to do: be a professionally published working writer who tells a good story well. Like I look back over the places I’ve published and worked with over the past few years and am pretty flabbergasted.

I feel like I’m at this cusp point in my career. There is no doubt in my mind that I’m at the beginning of my career still, but I think I’m slowly entering the middle stages of my career or like the pre-middle stages. The stories I’m working on and the way I’m approaching them feel slightly new, like I’m entering new territory in different ways. IDK what it is, if its some new practices I’ve started or the way I’ve been trying to approach stories this year, but things feel new.

I’ve written a couple new stories and edited some old ones too over the past couple of months. But one of my intentions for this year was to be slower about my drafting process. I’ve also slowed down on submitting short stories out into the world while I focus on writing new work and while querying/submitting my horror novella. The new stories have been challenging me to go slower and dig deeper while using techniques and patterns I’ve found in the books and short stories I’ve been reading.

For my horror novella, I reworked my query and sent it out to a few more agents. I’ve also submitted it out to some more publishers and have moved on to the second round of one of them. I’m hoping of hearing good news about that soon, but will continue sending it out to agents and publishers until at least September. At that point, I’ll self-publish it on my website or create a new site just for it and the world.

I’ve wanted to serialize a novel online for years now and was going to do it with another book. But this horror novella has a vibe that could work for publishing on a website. But only, of course, if no one picks it up first.

I’m still reading through and doing the exercises in Setting and Description while copy working through Mongrels. Spellbinding Sentences has also made a couple of appearances on my desk while thinking about my horror thriller novel. It’s all helped get me to be a bit more specific in my writing and turn up the dial on my descriptions and settings. Mainly, though, I have been spending time with fiction books that have some great descriptions and writing like Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses, Shirley Jackson’s Hangsaman, and Catriona Ward’s Last House on Needless Street.

Published Stories:

I’ve also done a quarterly update on my writing goals for this year!

Thanks so much for reading what I got going on! Consider subscribing below to stay up to date on all my writing exploits.

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