Tonight’s writing

The river

I ham­mered out 1,100 words, give or take, in “Sum­mer­time in the Void”, which is a new short sto­ry about a man left behind by the Sin­gu­lar­i­ty.

Here’s a sam­ple, but be kind, it’s first draft mate­r­i­al:

His dad, not long before he left, had told John that you can’t ever cross the same riv­er twice, and John had asked why not and his dad had just smiled and told him “You’re smart, fig­ure it out.”

Because the water’s nev­er the same, he decid­ed. Some­times it’s swift and deep, and sometimes—like now, after a long, hot, dry summer—it was shal­low, lazy, and mud­dy.

I’ve got about 3,900 more words to make this into a coher­ent sto­ry. I think I can make it work.

Writing Retreat, Day 6

The Milky Way

Sat­ur­day, I:

  • wrote my 2,000 words in two stints;
  • crossed the 100,000-word mark in my nov­el;
  • debat­ed chang­ing the title from Trans­la­tions to Reflec­tion, Trans­la­tion, Inva­sion (which is a not-com­plete­ly-inac­cu­rate sum­ma­ry of the sto­ry, at a very high lev­el);
  • turned on the air con­di­tion­ing, because it was get­ting pret­ty hot;
  • bor­rowed the neigh­bours’ kayak and pad­dled on the lake for a half-hour or so right at sun­set;
  • went and got some more pho­tos of the Milky Way and (serendip­i­tous­ly) the Auro­ra Bore­alis.

Can I help you with some­thing?” Head­less man­nequins wore flim­sy cot­ton dress­es in earth tones. Coun­ter­top racks dis­played neack­laces and bracelets made of beads, pearls, or smooth and pol­ished stones. A sign at the back said RESTROOMS FOR PAYING CUSTOMERS ONLY.

I need a wash­room,” I said.

She motioned at the sign.

No, I need a wash­room.”

She sighed, though I couldn’t tell whether she was exas­per­at­ed with me or with the sit­u­a­tion I was evi­dent­ly try­ing to put her in. “Pol­i­cy,” she said. Then, giv­ing me a good look­ing-over, she said, much more qui­et­ly, “You okay?”

Yes, I want­ed to say.


From Trans­la­tions
Con­tin­ue read­ing “Writ­ing Retreat, Day 6

Series: Writing Retreat 2019

The entire series: Writ­ing Retreat 2019; Writ­ing Retreat 2019, Day 1; Writ­ing Retreat 2019, Day 2; Writ­ing Retreat: Days 3 through 5; Writ­ing Retreat, Day 6.

Writing Retreat 2019

Reading Provenance and sipping Writer's Tears whiskey

Last night I arrived at Minnedosa, to start the 2019 edi­tion of my annu­al week-long writ­ing retreat.

Goals this year:

  • 2,000 words a day, or about 15,000 words, in the first draft of Trans­la­tions.
    • Sub-goal: Get to the end­ing.
  • Pho­tos of the Milky Way.
  • Pho­tos, gen­er­al­ly; there are a few spots I’d like to get to. The Cana­di­an prairie is pho­to­genic, and I want to cap­ture that.
  • Ride my bike a lot, and also go kayak­ing a few times. The weath­er fore­cast seems to agree with this plan.
  • Read at least a cou­ple of the books I brought: Prove­nance by Ann Leck­ie (I’m about ¾ of the way through, so that should work out); The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishig­uro; Drey­er’s Eng­lish by Ben­jamin Drey­er; and The Knight by Gene Wolfe (because it’s a tra­di­tion, appar­ent­ly, that I read Wolfe while I’m at the cab­in).

I’m also due in Win­nipeg for my nephew’s birth­day par­ty, which means I’ll be able to pick up the copy of Michael Swan­wick­’s The Iron Drag­on’s Moth­er that I pre-ordered in (checks notes) (…these notes are illeg­i­ble) Feb­ru­ary? maybe. And a friend is camp­ing at Clear Lake start­ing mid-week, so I’ll prob­a­bly go both­er him for an after­noon or some­thing.

As my dar­ling wife is wont to say, “Write faster, Johan­neson.”

Head­er image: last night, read­ing Prove­nance on the deck with a glass of Writer’s Tears.

Series: Writing Retreat 2019

The entire series: Writ­ing Retreat 2019; Writ­ing Retreat 2019, Day 1; Writ­ing Retreat 2019, Day 2; Writ­ing Retreat: Days 3 through 5; Writ­ing Retreat, Day 6.

14th try’s the charm

I real­ly like my short sto­ry “The Overnight Shift”. I wrote it last sum­mer, in a week­end, at the start of my 2016 writer’s retreat. It was orig­i­nal­ly writ­ten as a con­test entry in the NYC Mid­night flash fic­tion con­test.

Since I wrote it, I’ve been try­ing to sell it. It’s right at the 1,000-word mark, mak­ing it what they term flash fic­tion. There are a decent num­ber of pay­ing mar­kets for flash fic­tion, and I was start­ing to think I was going to have to try them all.


That is a screen­shot of my Sub­mis­sion Grinder screen for “The Overnight Shift”. The num­bers in the square brack­ets at the end? That’s [the num­ber of cur­rent open sub­mis­sions for a piece / the num­ber of sub­mis­sions this year / the num­ber of all-time sub­mis­sions]. Those 14 are all the times I’ve sent this piece out into the world. 13 times run­ning, it was reject­ed (twice it made it to the sec­ond round, where it was then pruned).

And final­ly, this week, I sold it. It will appear some­time in Novem­ber in The Arcan­ist, a rel­a­tive­ly new online SF/F ’zine fea­tur­ing flash fic­tion.

I’ll be sure to post here when it goes live. Trust me, you won’t be able to keep me qui­et about it.