It’s been an interesting year. My life has changed considerably, and I find myself entering 2019 feeling more complete, as though the pieces of my life are finally clicking into place. And my writing had a lot to do with that.
This was a turning point. This year I was made again. And I have a lot of work left to be done. That being said, here’s a brief review of my year in writing:
I took the shot.
Having done all I could with it, I decided the time had come to begin seeking publication for my debut novel. At a friend’s suggestion, I decided to begin this journey by entering my manuscript in Pitch Wars. I thought I knew what to expect from the experience. As it turns out, I had no idea.
I chose my four mentors. I submitted my manuscript, synopsis, and query letter. I’d expected to get four no’s in quick succession. Instead, I got a request for my full manuscript in the first hour.
What followed was a deeply emotional, eye-opening experience. Someone liked my work. Someone who didn’t know me, who never had, who had experience in publishing had found my work breathtaking. I really didn’t know what to make of it. I still don’t. At the conclusion of Pitch Wars, one of the mentors (who I shall not name) Informed me that they hadn’t picked me up as a mentee because they felt my manuscript didn’t need any work. It was ready. I was ready. That meant there was only one thing left to do.
Through it all, I met so many incredible people, most notably the endlessly supportive Melissa Rose Rodgers and the incomparable Mary Roach, the latter of which holds the distinction of being a 2018 Pitch Wars Mentee. After years of toiling in obscurity, writing in darkness, Pitch Wars dragged me struggling into the light. I had become part of something. I had no idea how to handle it. I still don’t, but I’m taking it on a day-to-day basis.
With Pitch Wars behind me, the next step will be querying for Wide Horizon, which I plan to begin shortly after the first of the year.
In last year’s Year in Review I mentioned Pathfinder, noting it would probably occupy the bulk of my attention in 2018. Now, as of this writing I’ve abandoned Pathfinder (at least for now) and completed another novel: The Pioneer.
The Pioneer has moved quickly thus far. After toying around with the idea for years, I laid down the concept over the month of June, then spent July through December writing in spurts, until at last the first draft was complete. To say this was a different experience from writing Wide Horizon would be to indulge in hilarious understatement. This was punishing. It was work. I spent six months writing exhaustively for weeks on end until I collapsed, then took a moment or two to collect myself before getting back at it. When I completed the final chapter it felt as though I’d crossed the finish line on fire. And there’s still a lot to do.
The bulk of that work occurred in November, during NaNoWriMo, which was a very different experience this year. I forged additional connections, strengthened bonds, and ultimately won NaNoWriMo for the first time in three years participating. The product of my 2018 NaNoWriMo experience was Phase 3 of four total phases of the novel. I finished the final phase, and the novel, the week before Christmas.
I face a long road ahead. But I believe I’m equal to the task.
While it may have been another year of frustration on the publication front, I did in fact get one of my pieces into print: Presence, published in Z Publishing’s anthology Emerging Writers of Ohio. I wasn’t paid for it, but at this point I just wanted to have something of mine in print.
I feel that I’m getting closer to being published in a major journal, though we shall see. I completed (or nearly completed) a lot of stories this year. I also published a number of them here on this site. Among them:
Set in the universe of When We Left Earth, a heartfelt story of a former escargot farmer in France who finds a new life for himself on Mars.
A story about an astronaut who finds himself stranded on a remote forest planet far from any human settlement.
Set in the universe of When We Left Earth, a story about Joseph Kwambai, a former leader of Earth who retires to a distant world terraformed to resemble Africa.
A surrealistic story involving Michael Kensington, a freighter pilot who finds himself living two lives, and uncertain of which of them is truly real.
Another year. Another trip around the sun, another three hundred and sixty-five spins on Planet Earth. It’s important, when marking each year that passes, to step back and take stock of what’s happened, to add pages to one’s personal story. We all have a story to tell, whether or not we put the words to paper.
For me, and indeed for all of us, much remains to be done. But for now, let us take stock of the passing year, and look ahead with hopeful anticipation to the year that comes.
Good luck. May you never find yourself at a loss for words. May your story never be complete. And Happy New Year, dreamers. – MK