November Updates

Academic Action Plans, Academic Writing Goals, Writing Action Plans, Writing Goals

2017 is almost drawing to a close and for many it means holiday-time. I too am looking forward to the winding down of the year, although for me it means staying at home and healing/writing.

I’ve honestly lost track of the things I’ve done in October but I do know I submitted three stories then, and have submitted three stories in November. All up, I’ve submitted short stories 46 times this year, with three acceptances: Clarkesworld, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and The Dark. I also had two poetry acceptances: Strange Horizons, and Uncanny.

So far, things I have had published this year: three poems, two short stories, a book review, an academic book chapter, a blog post on the Strange Horizons blog, an academic article.

It’s very little compared to last year but it’s been a very challenging year. Doesn’t seem to be very sensible or constructive to beat myself up about it.

As for the agent hunt, I’m taking a break from it to be kind to myself. Also, I’m drafting Rosemirror (the second book of the Cantata of the Fourfold Realms right now) and am quite excited at how the entire Cantata is shaping up. It seems a good idea to wait till I’ve finished drafting it, have a bigger picture, revisit Watermyth and then send out a batch of queries next year. I made a beginner’s mistake of querying my top ten agents first so now I have to start from scratch again but eh, I am not particularly well-researched when it comes to agents so maybe better things are around the corner.

I’ll probably get one of those marketplace books this time, do things properly next year. I have a suspicion I’m utterly shit when it comes to crafting queries.

Other things I am writing/editing:

  • 2 academic articles I am co-writing/editing with my supervisees and my co-supervisors.
  •  An EcoGothic chapter for a collection to be sent to a pretty cool publishing house.
  • A monograph I’d really like to get published at said cool publishing house.
  • An epic space opera time-travel romp of a novelette featuring Admiral Zhen-Juan as a mildly bemused mentor.
  • Sequel to Reversion, Vashti’s story.
  • A historical zombie dark fantasy (more fantasy than horror).
  • Another mosaic and byzantine Lusini short story based on the aftermath of Butter-Daughters.
  • A Venetian historical romance fantasy short story.
  • A naval planetary romance set in Sesen (I actually finished  writing this in 2014, decided it was rubbish and then disemboweled it and rewrote from scratch).
  • I also wrote the first Episode of a new eco-domestic fairytale retelling serial (The Loathly Lady and the Cabbage Farmer) that I’m posting over at The Mythogenetic Grove for free. Sometimes it’s just nice to write things you don’t have to submit anywhere.
  • Three academic articles I am still dithering over because of self-doubt and woe.

More urgently, I am presenting two conference papers in the coming week and this is what I will be working on this weekend.

Reading notes: I have read 99 books in 2017 — this is my best reading statistic since the (not so) new millennium. I still want to reach 120 books by year’s end, however but this month has run away from me. Unsettled by too many things happening at once.

Listening to: Fickle Sun (II) The Hour is Thin — Brian Eno

 

August 2017 Writing Roundup

Academic Action Plans, Academic Writing Goals, Writing Action Plans, Writing Goals

I won’t have much to report for September since I haven’t really been submitting short stories this month. Been focused on the novel, teaching/academia, academic writing and my health. However, August was a pretty busy month for me. So let’s see what got done!

  1. Submitted three short stories.
  2. Got back 2-3 rejections (lost count, could be more).
  3. Got an acceptance for The Dark! Remember the postcolonial Gothic MURDER PONTIANAK PLAY? Yep! It’ll be out later this year!
  4. Did a substantial amount of work on Watermyth during my 1 week Penang writing retreat/vacation. (Still working on it, tbh. I’ve taken to revising the novel in cafes like a stereotypical author. Mostly because a change of scene was needed.)
  5. Brought two academic articles to the “close to submission” point. But then I wanted to send them to higher tier/indexed academic journals so now I am still perfecting them and changing formatting/style to suit journal house styles.
  6. Worked on my Millennial Malaysian monograph.
  7. Oh and it was a helluva month for publications. I had a short story in Clarkesworld (Reversion), a reprint in Lackington’s (Auto-Rejection: An Outro), a poem in Strange Horizons (Tinwoman’s Phantom Heart), also a microblog post for Strange Horizon’s fundraiser. Putting the other months of the year to shame! It was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster so I’m glad things are quiet enough in September that I can take some time off from social media to concentrate on myself and my health/goals.

Well, that’s it for August. September seems to be a “no short story submission” month so my September roundup will likely focus on the novel and my academic writing.

August in a Nutshell: Keeping It Simple, Preserving my Health, Energy and Emotional Equilibrium

Academic Action Plans, Academic Writing Goals, Writing Action Plans, Writing Goals

I had grand plans for August which included concluding work on my Malaysian Genre monograph, and finalizing revisions on Watermyth which is still out on query with Dream Agent. To be clear, I’ve been revising the dratted novel for two years, but the panic adrenaline of querying revealed to me how I could make it better — it never ends!

Anyway, I also wanted to submit academic articles and short stories.

But health threw a spanner in the works. I’ve been suffering extremely bad acid reflux due to medication and stress. So bad, I thought I was having a heart attack, and was sent to ER in an ambulance. That’s kinda a wake-up call.

Then, the research institute said they wanted final reports for our research project on the 15th and not the 28th.

I promptly gave up after that.

Not on the monograph, but on finishing the monograph in August. It needs more work anyhow. So I’ll do it slowly but by next week I should have sent the book proposal to my targeted publisher (they don’t need the whole book just a targeted completion date plus other info).

Work on the novel’s progressing nicely. I’m reasonably optimistic I’ll be satisfied with it by the 28th of August, barring life’s vicissitudes.

I’ve also submitted a three-act postcolonial Gothic play although that might get rejected by tonight or tomorrow night (can never catch a break with this pub *laughsob*. One day. One day!)

On the reading front, I’ve already read a fistful of books and novellas. I am up to 78 books read. Enjoying Roshani Chokshi’s Crown of Wishes right now, and I have When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon on my iPad’s Kobo reader. Delightful!

On the publication front, I am Miss Published In Clarkesworld Four Times. I feel I deserve bragging rights especially since it’s been such a rough year for me healthwise. Let a girl enjoy her successes when they come.

What’s even more awesome is reader feedback coming in for Reversion. I was really nervous about it because I’ve been norty. Oh so norty. But people seem to really like it? Yay! Well, the critics haven’t weighed in yet so I’m nervous but you know, I don’t write for critics. I write for dreamers and weirdoes like me. 😉

Also, I am still very happy that POC Destroy Science Fiction got the recognition it deserved by being nominated for the British Fantasy Award. It’s not quite the same as being nominated as an individual but since my story was one of the most fantasy-ish in the volume, I can’t help feeling verklempt. Also, it’s a huge jump from thinking I’d never get nominated ever to having something I’m in get nominated. It gives me some hope, I guess. And small amounts of hope can be a good thing.

I guess this is it for now. I got no time to pretty up this blog. I know, semester break but I always seem to be super busy during semester break trying to meet my writing, research, reading and submission quotas.

But. Deep breaths. August is also about self-care, getting well, resting so I can survive the incoming semester. So. Cannot push myself too hardlor.

July’s Nearly Over: A Postmortem of Sorts

Academic Action Plans, Academic Writing Goals, July 2017 Writing Schedule, Writing Action Plans

July ran away from me because of trying to do various things. I visited my father in Sabah for about 5 days. It was a good catch-up with family but his health condition made me very sad.

I’m also under a lot of stress which resulted in weird physiological symptoms inclusive of palpitations and swelling feet. I’ve identified (sort of) that a lot of this is anxiety-driven because I am actively trying to finish two books right now (academic monograph + novel). That’s a crazy amount of pressure to put on oneself let alone someone not at optimum health conditions.

Slowly but surely, the work has been getting done.

Right now I have more or less drafted 4 out of 5 of the monograph chapters (I always leave the introduction to last). I have decided to postpone (YET AGAIN) my Oyeyemi monograph till next year. I feel the Malaysian monograph is more urgent and more needed right now.

As for submissions, I have 7 short stories and 1 novella out on submission right now. And I have at least three short stories coming out in the not too distant future. Not too sure about the fourth accepted short story.

Basically my modus operandi right now is to continue doing the work while being kind to myself but not too selfish I am not kind to others as well. It is so easy, when caught up in the work, to forget the human aspect of it, and to connect more with others. I’m slowly relearning this.

Health is also a major priority right now, both physical and emotional health.

And this is all till July ends and I’ll post a roundup of what I’ve done. Call this my accountability blog 😉