Reading, Revision, Upcoming

Revision and Reading


TLDR: Revision is not fun, but I’m learning about my tendencies. 3 stories have been submitted for publication!

A consequence of dedicating one’s self to publishing is dedicating one’s self to revision. This has not been a fun process for me. I’ve read and re-read my stories over and over. I’m tired of them.

However, I have made improvements. I’ve cut about 100 of every 1000 words I’ve written and that’s not 100 of the 1000 initial words, that’s the final revision after multiple preliminary re-writes and revisions.

I’ve also brought to light my propensity for sentences shaped like this:

“He paused, wondering if he should begin his pitch immediately or if formalities were expected.”

or this

“Rast awoke with a snort, disoriented as he scraped crust out of his eyes.”

That is, a short sentence followed by a comma and a clause commenting or expanding on the short sentence. I’ll be looking out for over use of this in the future.

I also apparently like hyphenated adjectives: coldly-illuminated, tetanus-riddled, sand-pocked.

The payoff of all this revision is three short stories submitted to scifi publications. They are some of the best stories I’ve ever written. Hopefully I’ll be able to celebrate their publication in the near future.

After all that revision, the massive revision process that is the novel I finished last summer also looms. My motivation to revise the novel is minuscule, but it helps that other people are reading it. I want to respect their time and put the best version forward so I’m making time for revisions.


TLDR: Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach is worth reading and learning from. Also, reading the scifi that is getting published is vital to getting one’s work published.

I just finished the novel Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach. It serves as an excellent lesson in tight plotting and clear blocking of action scenes. Fortune’s Pawn gets where it’s going and the language doesn’t get in the way.

I’ve been seeking out more short stories in order to learn the patterns of short stories and see what is getting published. I think this is vital to anyone who wants to publish. Here’s my reading list with a brief note about what I’ve gleaned from each:

Fantasy and Science Fiction
I bought a subscription to this. I have very mixed feelings about it. The writing is always top notch. There is no doubt that the authors published here know their craft. However, I often find the stories boring. Some of the stories seem to just stop rather than end and I can’t figure out the merit in them.

Daily Science Fiction
These are very short stories (under 1500 words). Some are the perfect sort of tightly wound story I want. Others are little more than boring monologues or stories lacking character development. Perhaps that’s inevitable in such a short format.

Kasma SF
I’ve only read a few of these stories (1000 to 5000 words), but I’ve been very impressed. The stories have satisfying endings that are nicely foreshadowed and that’s important to me.
In particular I found Of course you can go back againĀ to be a creative and emotional story with a tight, satisfying ending. Also Dead Men Walking is a solid military SF.

Lightspeed Magazine
Lightspeed, like F&SF, seems to be seeking stories that try new things. The stories aren’t always my style, but the writing is top notch.

Amazing Stories
I’m regularly delighted by the fun little stories here. This publisher seems to prefer happy stories, or at least stories with positive endings. Nothing wrong with that.


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