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Writing Progress Report – Third Quarter 2018

How Awesome was the Third Quarter 2018 for Writing?

Third quarter 2018 was another productive three-month period.

Finished Works

Adventures in Career Changing | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Quill | Third Quarter 2018
First of all, I worked on a number of new short stories. A lot of these had been drafted on paper and so I spent some time fixing and polishing them.

So here’s what I created and improved.

July

I wrote well and regularly this month. It was great progress for third quarter 2018.

July 1 – 7

During the first week of July 2018, I wrote every day. I wrote Glass, a science fiction piece. Then I added Disaster with Place Cards, another in the series of comic stories about a human-alien wedding. Freshly Baked Bread was about an abused mountain girl getting away. The Crossing was an imagining of how my ancestors got to the US.  Candy was about an executive restraining herself from committing sexual harassment. Turkeys was another tiny piece, semi-comic. Then the last was Impromptu Memorial, which was about a very real memorial in my neighborhood for someone who was shot.

The stories were all … okay. I think the best one was Freshly Baked Bread. It had more of a plot and more thought to it.

July 8 – 14

In the second week of July 2018, I wrote every day. First up was The Court, a reaction to how immigration courts in the US have been treating children. Then on the same day, I wrote Designer Maroon (another in the series about the human-alien wedding) and I started a piece for an anthology, Surprises, which takes place a year or so after the events of The Enigman Cave.  Next was The Little Farm, a historical piece about the Black Death. My next foray was Shadow Puppets, about the wife of an Alzheimer’s patient. Soup was a historical piece about the Great Depression. And Canaries was about an alien conquest of Earth. King Me was about a researcher studying centenarians.

It seems I was hitting my stride better. From Surprises to King Me, I think they were all pretty great.

July 15 – 21

During the third week of July 2018, I wrote every day. The Hermit was another Dark Ages story. Jurisdiction concerned the legal implications of shapeshifters living among us. Fragments was about an archaeological discovery in a distant star system. Then I posted My Heroes, where pixies help a middle-aged nurse. I then posted Weeding, about a teenager and his elderly neighbor. The following day, I flipped point of view and posted Neighborly, from the elderly neighbor’s POV. My favorite, by far, was the story posted on the 21st, Three Minutes Back in Time, a historical science fiction piece.

The others were rather good although I’ve done that same sort of pixieish story before, with The Forest. As for Three Minutes … it helped tremendously that I knew the POV character as she was an original character in, of all things, a Star Trek TNG fan fiction. But there’s nothing Trek in Three Minutes … at all, a story to query.

I also wrote a story for the 42 and Beyond anthology, Surprises, which is a sequel to The Enigman Cave. It takes place maybe a year after the events in the book.

July 22 – 31

In the ten-day period of July 2018, I wrote every day. Naturalization is another story about the wacky mix ups aliens get into. In this one, aliens in an ESL/naturalization class learn about human culture (like, what’s a bicycle?). Pixies is a lot like My Heroes, where little people help out us humans. Roommates is a kind of strange  rebellion story, where two people, thrown together by aliens to mate, plot their escape by talking political nonsense with hidden meanings. Yeah, even I think that one’s weird.

Rage is weird (and I didn’t name it well), where a cosplayer is bothered but then turns it around. Marked is a topic I’ve tackled before, where imperfections are blown way out of proportion. At least they’re not lethal, but the ending is a lot like a Twilight Zone episode. I can do better.

Medals is a retread of a story I did in fan fiction. But it’s still a winner and I should query it, as it covers a disabled veteran ‘running’ a 5K. A Life in Maps is a wacky time travelish story where the main character can go anywhere if she touches a map. Eventually, she gets an idea to touch older maps and ends up with a form of time travel. It’s another one I should query.

Scratches, Beware, and The Unexpected Phenom rounded out the month.

Scratches is another we’re-on-a-ship-but-I’m-the-lone-survivor stories, but it has more detail and is better certainly. Beware is a bit of a fan fiction retread about vermin on a space ship. Phenom is a bit about sports.

My best works for this time period were Medals, A Life in Maps, and Scratches.

Best of the Best for July

In the month of July, my best work was The Hermit, Fragments, Three Minutes Back in Time, Medals, and A Life in Maps.

August

By design, I did no writing. Instead, this was time for submitting to various magazines.

September

I also wrote well and regularly this month. It was more great progress for third quarter 2018.

September 1 – 7

During the first week of September 2018, I wrote every day. My first story was First Real Job, about a former homemaker getting a job answering mail for a thrash metal singer. I deliberately didn’t reveal the gender of the homemaker. So it could very well be a man. The second work was a little something to slip in the Real Hub series, A Celebration.

For the third day, I wrote Money Changes Everything. That one is another cautionary tale from the Middle Ages. And on the fourth day, I wrote Chip, about POWs trying to escape a Stalag. For the fifth day, I wrote Save Me, about an Amish girl looking to change her life. On day six, I wrote Examination, about a weird test. Kinda creepy! And on day seven, I wrote The Shimmering Wasteland, where a routine tax collection creates an interstellar incident.

Only The Shimmering Wasteland really stood out. This is typical for me for a week of writing after some time off.

September 8 – 14

In the second week of September 2018, I wrote every day. On the first day, I wrote Appealing, which is a direct homage to a fan fiction, about a woman released from prison after two decades. Next was What’s Your Story? That odd little story was about time travelers escaping the destruction of the Earth. On the third day, I wrote The Messenger, a kind of crazy story where the Roswell incident brings new fashion to Earth but also women’s liberation. That one was well-received.

On the fourth day (September 11th), I wrote The Bride, a direct prequel to The Real Hub of the Universe. Then on Day Five, I started to transcribe Killing Us Softly, where first contact goes wrong in a very weird kind of way.

The best of the bunch was definitely The Messenger. It’s the kind of story I should edit and submit.

September 15 – 21

During the third week of September 2018, I wrote every day. Four of these days were spent on Cape Cod. For the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth, I finished Killing Us Softly. I think it’s a good piece. On the seventeenth, I posted Make a Wish, yet another medieval time period story. For the eighteenth, I posted The Law, a western where a woman becomes sheriff. And on the nineteenth and twentieth, I wrote (posting on the twentieth) Gentrification, where a house flipper meets a family devastated by illegal abortions in two separate generations.

For the twenty-first, I started to transcribe The Student. That one was about an alien student in an integrated school, and I meant it to be a lot like the real-life story of Ruby Bridges.

During this time frame, there were two great stories: Killing Us Softly and Gentrification. I think I’d give the edge to Gentrification.

September 22 – 30

In the ten-day period of September 2018, I wrote every day. On the twenty-second, I finished and posted The Student. That one is about an alien version of Ruby Bridges. From the twenty-third through and including the twenty-sixth, I transcribed and then posted Miss Milky Way, which is exactly what it sounds like. For the twenty-seventh, I wrote The Test, a story I tossed off about the end of a relationship.

On the twenty-eighth, I added Underfoot, where little people have crash-landed in what is now a back yard. And on the twenty-ninth, I posted Feathers, about aliens who may be conscripting us into a war. Finally, for the thirtieth, I posted Sunshine, an odd little bit about cows.

Best of the Best for September

So the best of the best were: The Shimmering Wasteland, The Messenger, Killing Us Softly, Gentrification, and Miss Milky Way,.

Of these, the best was probably Gentrification.

Best of the Best for Third Quarter 2018

From July: Three Minutes Back in Time. And from September: Killing Us Softly. Best of these two? I honestly think it’s a tie.

Milestones

Also, I have written over two and a half million words (fan fiction and wholly original fiction combined). So right now my stats on Wattpad for wholly original works are as follows:

  • How to NaNoWriMo – 7,332 reads, 78 comments
  • My Favorite Things (like kibble) – 969 reads, 133 comments
  • Revved Up – 58,601 reads, 524 comments
  • Social Media Guide for Wattpad – 12,156 reads, 587 comments
  • The Canadian Caper – 452 reads, 37 comments
  • The Dish – 249 reads, 24 comments
  • There is a Road – 188 reads, 28 comments
  • WattNaNo’s Top Picks 2018 – 826 reads, 43 comments

WIP Corner

The current WIPs are as follows.

The Obolonk Murders Trilogy is a futuristic crime story where our society is divided into three parts – humans, semi-sentient and sentient robots, and aliens. I may end up writing a sequel trilogy. I’m not sure, so stay tuned.

The Enigman Cave takes place about a half a millennium from now and imagines a first contact where the aliens are at the level of Australopithecus.

The Real Hub of the Universe Trilogy takes place about 140 years ago and covers an Earth overrun by alien factions during the Victorian Era. I’m still getting together the outline for the third book.

Mettle takes place only a few years from now and is the story of how society crumbles when metals begin to disappear.

Prep Work

So currently, I have been working on some writing prompts to keep me sharp and keep the words flowing. My intention, for this year’s NaNoWriMo, is that I will probably write the third novel in the Real Hub trilogy. But I need a plot! So a lot of this year will be spent on that.

Queries and Submissions

So here’s how that’s been going during third quarter 2018. So far, I’ve received some encouragement but no acceptances. Yet I keep plugging.

In Progress

I spent time on perfecting The Real Heart of the Universe. This came from some excellent beta reading.

All Other Statuses

I worked on some old fan fiction to try to finally finish it.

This Quarter’s Productivity Killers

Work, what else? I am working on a ton of things and since that is also writing, it can sometimes burn me out. And… I am now a supervisor, with two direct reports! So I have even more to do!

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