In Kolkata, sold a story

Since I last updated, I’ve flown from D.C. to Frankfort to Dubai to Islamabad to Lahore to Karachi back to Islamabad back to Karachi to Dhaka and am currently in Kolkata. Tomorrow I am flying to Manila via Bangkok. That’s my last real stop! I should be home in almost exactly one week.

My blog posting schedule will resume, maybe, someday, when I have time. I keep bubbling up with ideas for posts and then sinking back into my perfume-scented cushions and thinking, “Man, I don’t have time to write 2,000 words about how much I love my Kindle and how it’s better in every way than paper books”.

2009 was the first year since I began writing and submitting that I did not sell a story. That doesn’t really mean anything, per se, since most of the venues I sold to previously were read by, maybe, five people, and the lack of sales was largely due to cutting that sort of publication out of my submissions queue. But still, it can be mildly disheartening to have to measure my writing progres solely in terms of rejection slips (192) and words (189,550)  since my last sale.

So I was fairly happy to recieve word, today, that Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet has accepted my story “The Other Realms Were Built With Trash”. This “zine” (another of those terms I can’t use seriously) is edited by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant and has a fairly good critical reputation. I am not at all unhappy about this. Gavin Grant said it would probably appear late in this year, but given their publication schedule, I can’t really say for sure.

If any of my clarion classmates are reading this post, the story was the one I wrote during my fifth week of Clarion (more than 3.5 years ago!).

My quadruple century

Received my four hundredth rejection a few days ago, from Analog. I think I announced my 300th around this time last year, though I’m too lazy to go back and check. But, ummm, yeah, that’s alot. And there have been two three-month periods this year where I wasn’t really submitting anything as the rejections came in.

It’s kind of impossible to be actively angry / resentful / sad after 400 rejections (which, by the way, is not even a particularly high number by apprentice writer standards). Mostly, they don’t even register at all. Though if it’s a relatively recent story being rejected I do still sometimes feel a slight sense of pique at my genius going unrecognized. But I think that’s neither unusual nor particularly destructive, if a sense of proportion is maintained.

Starting new stories

For the past few days I’ve been writing story beginnings, at roughly 400-800 words each. That’s because much of my process involves taking up and finishing ideas that have been simmering for months or years. Usually, a few weeks or months after initially getting the idea, I’ll write about 500-1000 words of it and then give up. Then a few months later I’ll go back to it and finish it. But due to an unnatural amount of productivity over the summer / last few months, I’ve pretty much run out of story starts (at least ones that I ever think I will get back to), so I decided to lay down some fertilizer for the future.

In which Rahul sells a short story

Yeah, I sold a short story…to Nature, the venerable and influential scientific journal, for their weekly Futures series. I’m extremely happy about this. If even 1/1000 of the 60,000 subscribers read my story, it will be more people than have ever read any other story of mine. And they’re paying me $130. It’s my first professional sale.

One thing you can say for Nature’s fiction editor, they definitely get back to you fast. It was six days from submission to sale. I doubt they’re that fast with scientific papers. But…to sum up…yay.