2015 In Review

2015 drew to a close last week, the end of a year stacked with writing. What did I do, and what did I learn?

First, some statistics and numbers:

  1. 76 stories submitted: 63 rejected, 1 accepted, 12 under consideration.
  2. I wrote 7 new stories this year. Of those, 6 are out on submission, while the last is still in second-draft state. I also gave major top-to-bottom overhauls to 6 older stories.
  3. My first story came out!
  4. I sold a second story!
  5. I attended my first convention of any kind in about 10 years, and then I attended my first convention as a guest. Two very different cons: Fourth Street a small writing con, Archon a big all-media con, both with a lot to love!
  6. I participated in 3 Codex writing contests; I won one of them, came in 2nd in another.
  7. Hey wait, this was also the year I joined Codex. That place has been an amazing source of community, feedback, and advice!

Some deeper thoughts and lessons:

  1. I appear to be an “idea writer.” So many times this year I got feedback from editors or critiquers that began, “This is incredibly clever, but…”
  2. I’ve learned that if I’m spending hours agonizing over how to phrase a sentence, 75% odds the solution is “delete it entirely.”
  3. I got a lot more shortlist spots and personal rejections, but I’m still struggling to make my first pro sale.
  4. I miss so many faraway writing friends! Classmates, mentors, Codexians, and other awesome folks of all kinds. Twitter is nice, but St. Louis is pretty remote from the SFF scene.
  5. I am definitely getting better at this. Four of my last five finished stories (Jewish Sorcery, Scientist Ghost, Posthuman Romance, and Fairy Gentrification) are all massively, qualitatively better than anything else I’ve done. Now I just have to convince someone to buy one of them…

Plans for next year include:

  1. Write the first draft of a novel
  2. Keep producing short stories: at least 6 new ones, and two overhauls
  3. Attend my first WorldCon
  4. Run a 38-person historical fantasy live action roleplaying game
  5. Be more diligent about reviewing/annotating the books I read
  6. Engage in interplanetary warfare to get my wife back from Mars

May the new year be better than the last, for all of us!

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2 thoughts on “2015 In Review

  1. akalton

    Wow, quite a year! Nice job, and keep up the good work.

    I’m interested in the “idea writer” tag, because I tend to think of “idea writers” as being weak on characterization, whereas I think your characterization is quite good.
    Do you get criticized for your plots? I have enjoyed the ones that I have read, but since I’m more idea/character oriented myself, I wouldn’t notice if the stories didn’t have a strong arc 🙂

    I look forward to seeing your work this next year! I have really enjoyed beta-ing your stories.

    Cheers, and good luck with the inter-planetary warfare 😉

    Reply
    1. bckinney Post author

      My critiques tend to be on thematic arc and character motivation, and occasionally structure/plot: the deeper levels of execution that (try to) bring a story up from Good to Awesome.

      I never would’ve classified myself as “idea writer” myself, but reports consistently say it’s my strongest point! That and worldbuilding, though they’re kindof the same thing to me.

      Reply

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