The machine awakens

Unfortunately the title isn't a reference to me making my cybernetic chip do anything yet. It remains beneath my skin, not very ert, but it is damned fun to poke. Soon I will make it useful. Soon...

It's the short story machine to which I am referring! While I plod along with Zora's remorse on this second draft, inserting continuity and much more plot, I'm making sure that my attention is given over to other realms of flight and fancy. It's delightful to switch to a different project when the great slog of a full draft can get you down. Here are four pieces of short story news:

  1. Two of my stories are going to be published, in real anthologies. How fancy. I wrote them late last year and submitted in the new year for a couple of different themed science fiction anthologies. I've signed a contract and everything, but I won't give any more details here, as they're only making announcements after all the chosen authors have signed up, and I'll defer to their lead as regards fanfares (so keep yer eyes on the site for further details). But it feels bloody brilliant to know that I'm hitting the landmark of my first paid publication of fiction. Long may this continue.
  2. In April I submitted a story to the SciFi London 48 Hour Flash Fiction Competition. On a Saturday morning I was given a title, a line of dialogue, and an optional science idea to include into a story 2,000 words or fewer, that I obviously had 48 hours to write. While it didn't win (because you'd have already heard about it if that was the case) it was fun to write to a prompt like that, and Pat Cadigan was one of the judges, so I feel honoured that she will have read my work. I've even put this story into the short stories section of the site, as a gift to all you lovely readers. I had to fix one small error in the story first but otherwise it's exactly the same as the one I submitted to the competition.
  3. I have two short stories going along nicely at the moment. One is in a second draft stage and will soon go out to some test readers, the other is an idea I've had rattling around for a while and am thoroughly enjoying writing it, it feels like a treat to be able to finally get on with it, especially as attending that cyberpunk talk the other day gave me a new and interesting element to add to it, thoroughly improving it. I can say that as no one else has read it and could disagree with me. Anyway, I'm probably due to finish the first draft this week.
  4. I am organised as fuck. I have a spreadsheet dedicated to short stories, both as a database and submission tracker. One sheet is a list of all the places that I'd want to submit stories to, with contact and website details, word limits, story focuses—EVERYTHING. I spared no expense. By which I mean, it didn't cost me anything, in true John Hammond fashion. The other sheet is a list of all my short stories that I'm sending off for submission, where and when I submit each one, with a link (where applicable) to where I can check on its submission status and so on, marking all rejected submissions so I can keep track of where a story has already sent so I don't double down on anything. I have also prepared a great list of short stories, after some digging through my ideas notes, so they're ready to go as soon as they're written (one of the key factors). I love me some spreadsheets.

And that's all my short story news. I will try to bring some of this organisation and writing fervour to the website too, the cookbook is severely in need of updating. I'm getting there, trust me. Perhaps a spreadsheet or two would help...