science fiction

Story ahoy!

Blogging, eh? How old-school is that? Look at me, being all last-decade.

But I had to make this rare blog re-surfacing to announce the publication of my very first paid piece of fiction. It’s a very short piece in Analog and it’s out this month.

Let me repeat that. Analog! After shopping this story around to lots of outlets, some of them tiny, some of them even NON-PAYING, I finally got picked up by one of the giants in the field of science fiction. They even paid me actual money (well, okay, a check I’ll never cash) to purchase and print my story. Like I’m a proper writer or something.

analogThe story is entitled “Lonely Hearts of the Spinward Ring” and it’s quite unique. You want to know more, go buy Analog and read it. Seriously, the number of people who asked to see it for free … support the damn writer, people! (But beware: the electronic version, according to reports I’ve had, may not, for reasons obscure, have my story. So paper is best.)

I gave the story an interesting name as I have a theory that stories with cool names get published more easily than stories with boring names. Also, it makes it that much easier to google it and see what the public are saying about it. Not that I’ve done that. Ahem.

So yeah. I’m sort of a published writer now. Twenty plus years of sending stories out, collecting paper rejections, then email rejections, and one day it just happens. Well, one day and then waiting a whole year for the thing to finally come out. So one day-ish.

My tips to budding writers? Be stubborn, get better, and don’t die too fast.

/ paddy

Sale Number One

Monday March 23rd was pretty ordinary. I went to work and programmed some animated ducks and frogs for a new mobile game. Had sushi for lunch. Marvelled at the women in the sushi place who has fake nails two centimetres long, and wondered how she works the cash register with them. Went home. Said hello to the boy, who was in his room, playing a game while laughing and chatting with friends on Skype. Wrote a bit. Stared out the window. Scratched my head. Got started on dinner.

Then came an email with the name of one of my stories in the subject line. Hey-ho, I thought. A rejection mail. Oh well. I popped it up, expecting to read it quickly and get on with making dinner. But as I read it I stopped moving.

space-happy“I’m just dropping you a quick line to say that I like XXX and I’m going to take it for YYY. At this point, it doesn’t look like we’ll need any significant edits. You’ll have the contract via email in just a couple of weeks.”

My breath stopped. They wanted my story. I read it again. They still wanted my story. I jumped up and down a little. I wiped away a few tears. YYY, a major science fiction magazine, wanted to buy my story. With actual money.

This is huge. I’ve been writing fiction since the age of ten or eleven. Starting with terrible Star Wars fan fiction, I moved through Fighting Fantasy style gamebooks to short stories and finally novels. Over thirty years and a hundred rejections, first paper and then electronic, piling up with no sale to show for them. Several times I stopped sending stories out entirely, sure I’d never sell anything. But I always started again.

And now I have a sale. Magazine YYY (which I’ll name when the time comes) is one of the biggest print magazines for science fiction in the world. I am, it must be said, incredibly happy. I finally feel, a bit, like a real writer.

The moral of the story, I suppose, is to keep trying. I’ve heard it a million times. But maybe it’s true.

/ paddy