I couldn't keep away from writing, although it's another fanfic, and not an original story. This spring, I was introduced to Blake's 7, a British sci fi show that first aired in 1978. I've watched all the episodes now, many of them more than once, and I've also listened to many of the new audio adventures produced by Big Finish. (Big Finish is probably best known for its audio adventures featuring Doctor Who, and I've listened to many of them, too. Highly recommended!) I also couldn't help writing my own Avon fanfic, which is called Hell Hath No Fury. Yes, there's a woman involved. She feels scorned, and Avon feels betrayed, but it's not a romance -- far from it! There's also enough action and adventure to keep any B7 fan satisfied, at least I hope so. Hope you enjoy -- and if you do, give me some feedback!
Well, the letter from Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine arrived last week. They've officially rejected Viruskiller. I'm not surprised. I'd been expecting it for some time now, actually, so it was actually a relief when it finally came.
And now, after many months of consideration, I've come to the conclusion that I don't write because I have a story to tell. I am not constantly inundated by plot ideas. Instead, it seems that I write in order to process what's going on inside of me. Or maybe less of the processing and more just recognizing what my subconscious thinks. There's not always a resolution. Heck, there's not even always a plot! And never mind the character development.
So in other words, I guess I just don't have it in me. Any talent that I thought I had for writing is probably just an offshoot of my capacity to memorize. I'm good with grammar and spelling, because that's something you can learn by heart. I've also memorized a few writing tools along the way, too, such as how to present POV. But as for the rest, it's just not there. I don't know how else to describe it, but I know there's something missing that I'll never have.
In the last months I've been both sad and mad; sad that I'll never see success in this venture, and mad at myself for being the way I am. I guess it was a kind of grieving after all my many daydreams and hopes. Now I'm more resigned than anything else, and left wondering just what talents I do have and, assuming I ever find one, what I can do with it.
I don't believe it! Viruskiller has just been put on the short list at Andromeda Spaceways! Squeal!
But they were careful to point out that only 1 in 20 stories make it from the short list to actual publication, and I'm now trying to convince myself that my story will end here. But still! I almost made it! Squeal!
In the meantime, I've been thinking about the "sparking" process that helps me come up with new ideas. Several years ago, I discovered a digital radio station called BBC Radio 7, which has since been re-named BBC Radio 4 Extra. They broadcast comedy and drama, and the thing that first drew me in was the fact that they broadcast audio productions of Doctor Who! I later learned that I can download these episodes, and anything else I want from BBC radio, via a nifty tool called Radio Downloader, and ever since then, I've been listening to many episodes of various audio productions while I go on my daily walk, or do that onerous housework. Aside from Doctor Who, I've also listened to adaptations of books from many genres, such as mystery, sci fi, fantasy, and even some classic literature such as Charles Dickens, C. S. Lewis, and Elizabeth Gaskell. This week, I've been listening to a production of The Railway Children, by Edith Nesbit, and one line in particular got me thinking. One of the children said something like, "It must be more fun to be a dragon than to be a parlour maid."
I immediately started thinking about life from a dragon's point of view, which of course reminded me of the BBC series Merlin (would be cool if they also had audio productions of Merlin, but so far, they don't, or at least not that I know of.) And eventually, in the fathomless depths of my brain, these two experiences combined and an new idea for a story was sparked into life. I've been thinking about it all weekend, trying to figure out an ending (very important for me, as that's where I most often fail) and now I've started writing. And I will not worry about the word count!
I suppose most writers go through a similar process, combining various elements of everything they've read and seen and heard, letting them get all jumbled together inside until --presto! -- something new and different pops out. It's just astounding, isn't it? Now I must work on not comparing the jumbling ability of my brain to that of other people, such as Iain M. Banks, Brandon Sanderson, Nancy Fulda, Emily Mah, or anybody else. I can already tell it will be a difficult task.
Actually, maybe I should give up chocolate instead. That'd be easier. ;-)
I just got an email from Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, saying: "your submission has passed its initial reading, and we are now considering it for inclusion in Andromeda Spaceways.
Your story will now go through a second round of reading."
Since I was fully expecting to be booted out during the first round, I am overwhelmed with surprise and delight that I've made it this far.
In other news, I've been trying to find an idea for another story, but unfortunately, I tend to squelch anything that comes by thinking, "That will never fit into 1000 words, or even 5000!" Then the idea withers and dies, word gets around, and new ideas try to avoid me. I really must stop thinking about word count and just write!
I wasn't expecting a reply from Daily Science Fiction for another week, so naturally I was excited to see that they'd answered already. I should have known it wouldn't be good news. Another rejection, although this time they wrote: "PS nearly made our second round."
I suppose that's something, anyway. Now I just have to think of a new story idea and write it even better.
Well, in another bout of temporary insanity, I submitted Viruskiller to the Australian-based Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. I already know I haven't got a chance of being accepted, but if I'm very lucky, I might get some reader comments along with my rejection.
Well, the answer came from Daily Science Fiction, and it was no, they decided not to publish Viruskiller. But that's all right, because I've written another story that I will submit to them. It's called Human, and is a flash fiction of just under 1000 words. It says on the DSF site that they're more likely to publish the very short stories, so I think I might have a better chance with this one. And if not, well, good experience and all that.
Edit: I have just submitted Human and now I will have to wait at least three weeks for their answer. It will be a time of daydreaming and then reminding myself that the odds are against me.
Well, after my big disappointment of yesterday, I found myself wallowing a bit to-day in a distinct lack of enthusiasm for my writing. I knew I needed to break out of that and get motivated again, so I started researching the market for speculative fiction short stories. The websites that I found were either defunct or way out of my league. But just on a whim, I submitted my story "Viruskiller" to Daily Science Fiction. I wrote "Viruskiller" in May and June, and it just flowed from my fingertips. I don't really think it has a chance of being accepted, but I submitted it anyway, just for fun. Just for the experience. And, mostly, to get myself out of my writing slump.
I do have a new idea for a story, and I've already written a few words. It's not exactly flowing, although new details come to me each day. But I'll continue to wrestle with it and see what comes out. You just never know!
I've written two full stories now, and have just barely started a third. I've been looking forward to submitting both of them at Mindflights when they opened for submissions at the beginning of September. Since it's getting close to that time now, I clicked on their page in happy anticipation -- only to discover that they've changed the date and they won't be accepting submissions until the first of January! Argh!
As I often say to my husband, "If I wanted patience, I'd be a hospital!"
Julie Coulter Bellon is hosting a JumpstartWriMo over at her blog, because she needs a writing jumpstart, and I've decided to participate. I've put a button on the main page of my website, or you can just click on her name here. For NaNoWriMo, which is National Novel Writing Month for those who haven't heard of it, you set a goal to write an entire novel during the month of November each year. I'm not up to writing an entire novel, but I do have a great idea for a short story that I want to write and submit to Mindflights, so I'll be doing that this month.
Speaking of short stories, I've already finished the one that I started at the end of April, which I've decided to call Per Ardua Ad Astra, and two beta readers have gone through it. I think it's ready for submission. Now I'm not saying that it's going to be accepted, but I'm going to send it in as soon as Mindflights is open again for submissions at the beginning of September. Maybe if I keep up the good work, I'll have two stories or even three by that time. If they get rejected, I'll post them here, but maybe, just maybe, you'll find them elsewhere one day. I'm really excited about the prospect. I know, I know, I might not be so excited when the rejections start pouring in, but that's part of a writer's life, and we all need to start somewhere.
And as for good ideas, I've been watching the American television show Awake, with Jason Isaacs, and crumbs! Wouldn't you know, it's been cancelled! But dang, I wish I'd come up with that idea first.
I've written fanfic under the name Zelofheda, and some original fic under my real name.