Hellooo 2017

Well, what a year that’s been.

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Serenity and rose quartz clouds at sunset, Canberra, 30 December 2016

Being a very visual person, a fun thing I’ve liked to do since I discovered it a few years ago is checkout Pantone’s colour of the year. Interestingly, for 2016, for the first time ever, they announced TWO colours for the year: Serenity and Rose Quartz. (Side note: naming paint colours is a job I’ve always coveted.) This colour pairing was supposed to express something about the need for harmony in chaos. And it was very pretty in a sort of a kittens and candy-floss kind of way.

The irony, of course, is that on many levels 2016 was not a kittens-and-candy-floss kind of year and I’m not sure that as a global society we really embraced that whole harmony thing. But, in the spirit of aspiring to Serenity and viewing the world through Rose Quartz-tinted glasses, here is my writing achievements round up for 2016.

Just like 2015, I elected to focus on novel projects. I find that what with working a day job and spending time with my lovable and hilarious family, I have to be a bit strategic about how I spend my writing time. So I didn’t do much on the short story front. Here’s what I did do:

  • Wrote two new short stories (and started another, um, eight or so and had ideas for a few more…)
  • Sold 2! (One old, one new.) Both to markets I’m very happy with.
  • Had 2 published (Pretty Jennie Greenteeth in Strange Little Girls, and Breathing in Aurealis #95)
  • Got Novel Project #4 to just over 107,000 words. I wanted to finish it and didn’t, which is annoying, but I’m almost there. Early feedback on the first chunk has been really encouraging, and I’m reasonably confident of wrapping up the first draft soon.
  • Had some exciting things happen in relation to Novel Project #1, which are still a bit secret. But I’m looking forward to talking more about those in 2017.
  • Got into the 2016 ACT Writers Centre HARDCOPY professional development program, which was affirming and valuable and through which I’ve met a bunch more talented and extraordinarily lovely writers.
  • Was part of the team for Conflux 12 & pulled off a wonderful con.
  • Was appointed to the creative production team for the Noted writers festival for 2017!

So what’s on the to do list for 2017?

  • Finish the damn first draft of NP#4 and get it out to my very patient beta readers.
  • Probably do a bit more work on NP#1
  • Have a little rest from novel projects and write/finish/polish up/send out some short stories
  • Give in to the lure of the long-form story and start planning out NPs #3 and 5
  • Get my bloody passport in order and get myself to  Europe for a bit of research.

And what’s the colour for 2017?

pantone-coy-2017-15-0343-chipA “tangy yellow-green” called Greenery. The comment from Pantone is all about vitality and the desire to rejuvenate.

 

Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the hope we collectively yearn for amid a complex social and political landscape. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate, revitalize and unite, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute

I’m a big fan of green and, you know, nature stuff. But the cynical part of me can think of a few other associations for green in today’s “complex social and political landscape”, which are less kittens-and-candy-floss and more poisoned apple. Which is to say, I actually think green is a very fitting choice for 2017.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if 2017 did turn out to be all about rejuvenation and new growth and a renewed focus on environmental sustainability? And shared prosperity is actually pretty good too, so let’s have some of that.

Here’s to 2017. I hope all your good dreams come true, and we kill off a few of the nightmares.

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Some kind of milestone

I just hit 100,000 words on the current WIP tonight. Still got a bit to go, but that’s some kind of milestone, right?

Here’s a snippet of tonight’s inspiration:

The Sick Rose

By William Blake

O Rose thou art sick.

The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
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Glimmers of sun in the pouring rain

aurealis-95In a week that has spelled disappointment, grief and gloom for many of us, I’ve had a few small, personal glimmers of sunlight. Here’s one. A lovely review of my story Breathing, out in the recent Aurealis #95, from Kat Day over at Tangent online. She’s given it a “highly recommended” (squee!) Achievement unlocked.

A lovely piece of work, very thought-provoking and actually rather moving.

And here’s some Leonard Cohen for you. Because even though he’s gone now, that’s one life that is definitely worth celebrating.

Busy Brewing Community…and a surprise!

Well, it’s been a while. Almost exactly a month! I haven’t been being slack, just busy. In fact here’s me over at Earl Grey Tea Editing explaining just exactly what I’ve been busy doing.

This has meant I’ve not done an enormous amount of writing lately, which always leaves me feeling a little flat. But, today came with a lovely surprise. My story Music For An Ivory Violin from Aurealis #74 has appeared on Ellen Datlow’s recommended horror reading longlist! I’m over the moon!

That’s an actual castle-in-the-air goal I can tick off my list.

Aurealis #74
Aurealis #74

Don’t let this calm demeanour fool you. It’s baby goat time again.

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Reflections on 2014

Happy new year! I hope 2014 was a good year for you, or at least had good bits. And here’s to 2015 being even better.

Here’s what I achieved in 2014:

I made 15 story submissions (which didn’t meet my target of 25, but I have a good excuse for that.)

I sold 5 stories! This beat my previous pattern of selling one per year, so I’m pretty chuffed. Three of them sold to the first place I subbed them to, which I’m also pretty chuffed about. And that’s my excuse for not making my target of 25 submissions. I ran out of stories to submit.

I made my first sale to a pro market.

I also got my first review! (And my second, and my third.)

I got an Honourable Mention for one of the stories I subbed to the Writers of the Future Competition.

I finally got Novel Project #1 into a state to start sending out to agents, and I wrote a synopsis (which I consider equivalent to having gained a new skill).

So what’s on the cards for 2015?

Find an agent for Novel Project #1.

Write (and sell!!) more short stories. I’m going to aim for 15 submissions this year. That’s a bit low, but my trunk is basically empty at the moment, so I’m going to have to write some before I can submit them. I think 15 is probably going to be a stretch.

Let’s aim high: I’d like to finish a first draft of Novel Project #3 or #4, and do substantial work on the other one.

Finish and polish up a few half-written stories and first drafts of novellas I have sitting in the trunk.

And here’s a couple of castle-in-the-air goals:

Win a writing competition.

Make another pro sale.

I’m also going to have a stab at learning another language. I’m going to try French!

Here’s hoping that 2015 will be a good year! I wish you every happiness and success with all your goals in the coming months.

Happy New Year 2015 by franky242, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Happy New Year 2015 by franky242, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net