2018 year in review (the writing version)

Years are too big a thing for me to fit in one post, so expect the post about other people’s work later this week. This is just the stuff I published and how I feel about it.

Because the reprint of one of the print stories went live today, you have an internet copy available for you to read, hurrah! That’s Left to Take the Lead, originally in Analog and now appearing in Clarkesworld. Other Analog stories in 2018 included “The Jagged Bones of Sea-Saw Town,” “Finding Their Footing,” and “Two Point Three Children.” Of those, “Left to Take the Lead” and “Finding Their Footing” take place in the same universe, which they also share with several previous stories.

“The Jagged Bones of Sea-Saw Town” was one of the stories inspired by my 2016 trip to Sweden. Another was Objects in the Nobel Museum, 2075, which appeared in Daily Science Fiction. The stories inspired by this summer’s travel are just starting to come clear in my head, so it’ll be interesting to see where those go in the next few years.

The next cluster of stories was in Nature. They published Say It With Mastodons, Seven Point Two, and My Favorite Sentience. Usually Nature-length stories are my way of working out science fictional ideas without letting myself get sidetracked, and that was true here, but “Say It With Mastodons” was also an example of my recent musings about collaborative partnership/collaborative romance, and I’m very proud of it.

Uncanny Magazine was also a good home for my writing this year. I did more essays this year than I have in ages, and I liked doing it. Developing that nonfiction voice is definitely on my radar for next year. Work in Uncanny included the essays Hard Enough, The Seduction of Numbers, the Measure of Progress, and Malfunctioning Space Stations. They also published two of my short stories, Lines of Growth, Lines of Passage and This Will Not Happen to You.

“This Will Not Happen to You” was in their special Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction issue, and it was the second of my stories in 2018 that dealt with disability more directly and more personally than I’ve ever done before. The first was Flow, which found its home in Fireside Magazine. I am so grateful to them for every detail of that, for understanding that story and wanting to give it an outlet and for its beautiful commissioned illustration and all of it. “Flow” was personal. It was terrifying. And it was so very much worth doing.

What else has been going on with my writing in 2018? Well, I finished a novel whose provisional title is The Broken Compass, although I have a whole page of alternate titles in my notebook. (I’m pretty sure that’s a good title, but it remains to be seen whether it’s a good title for this book.) My astute and energetic beta readers and agent will help me continue to revise this thing, and meanwhile I’ve made a start on a new novel project as well.

I finished nine short stories–this is why I don’t write year-end posts in November, because two of those were in the last week of the year. I’ve also got several stories waiting in the wings to come out in the early months of 2019, and I’m writing more essays, as I said I would.

To tell the truth, I’m not that great at looking back on things I’ve done with pride. I’m working on that. This year has helped. But I’m much, much better at looking forward to things I’m going to learn to do better, and this year has helped with that even more. Excelsior.

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