The result of today’s writing session is 1800 words in the Tainted Roses universe. A scene without context, but I like it.
I’m still pretty stunned by this: my novella, Tainted Roses, is a finalist in the 2013 Parsec Awards, in the category of “Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Novella Form)”.
The category is filled with great things, including a Doctor Who-universe story, a production of an H.P. Lovecraft story (!), and the venerated Fiendmaster himself, Paul E Cooley! I’m very much the n00b in this category, and I’m extremely honoured.
Again, I have to thank Katharina & Mick of Every Photo Tells for the initial photo-inspiration and the belief in the manuscript to produce it as an audiobook. (Congrats to them as well for EPT being nominated for “Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast”! Well done!)
My own relationship with the book is.. complicated. I was very proud to have accomplished the writing so quickly — it was written in a fury over two weekends, in what felt really effortless and inspired. I also wish I’d taken a bit more time with it, and there are things I’m not happy with in the 4th draft.
But I immediately fell in love with these characters. They generate story just standing next to each other, and each has depths from which more story can come. And I haven’t stopped thinking about them, in one way or another, since I wrote those first words. (Ok, at one point I had forgotten their names, and their hair colour doesn’t seem to line up between words and memory..)
So, there will be more. In fact, the problem isn’t whether to write more stories in this universe, but really, which stories to tell next. And what length it will be, from short story sketches of moments, a mid-size novella again or (hopefully!) a full novel-length story.
I can certainly understand the difficulty of a sophomore novel, especially in a series. The first book was written without any rules, on a whim, with enough foresight to avoid most of the major asteroids (and enough fortitude and determination to just plow through the minor ones). Another book in this series now has things to remember, rules about how things work, hints and intimations of things to come. It has expectations, many of which come from me as much as any audience out there.
It’s a bit daunting, and I’m going to need guidance and encouragement. I’ll have some reason to talk to all these writers (who I’ve always loved talking to, but always feel inferior to), and will try to find myself time and energy to write, as well as perhaps paying attention to the very kind things people have said about the story (as well as the critics, who so far haven’t been vocal enough — bring the feedback!).
So, a request: if you’ve read the story, or listened to the audiobook version, please: give me feedback! If you loved it, tell me what you liked, or how it struck you. If you didn’t like it, where did it fall short of expectations or leave something unfulfilled.
As a very novice writer, this feedback is awesome.
If you are going to be at Dragon*Con, I’d love to meet up with you. Many of my friends are going to be there, and I’m really excited to go again. I’ll buy you a coffee, and we’ll talk about the lovely sabateuses! 🙂
My novella, “Tainted Roses”, has been nominated on the long list for a Parsec award this year!
Much credit goes to Katharina and Mick of EveryPhotoTells for narrating the novella — for doing everything after I wrote it, actually. They did a great job, and it is as much to them that any credit goes.
Now, some hard parts: selecting sections of the book to be submitted for the competition. If you have any suggestions, by all means, let me know. Otherwise, I’ll just take this as a good excuse to listen to the book again..
And I plan to return to that universe this summer or fall (after the PhD thesis is pretty much finished!). I’ve been thinking quite a bit of this incredible trio of ladies, who they are and what makes them do what they do. Not to mention, what the extent of this odd little steampunk space opera universe entails..