Tag Archives: celebration

Happy 17th Anniversary, Vironevaeh!

Tomorrow is April 15th, 17 years since I did a project about a city named Vironevaeh, chock full of V’s and vowels, because why not? Somehow it never went away, and seventeen years later, it’s hard to imagine life without it. When people ask me what color the sky is in my world, I say purple; it used to be turquoise, but I thought that a white sun was more likely to diffract into the purple frequency range. That’s… usually where those conversations end.

Since the 16th anniversary, I’ve earned my PhD. I’ve started another Vironevaehn history project, and I’ve published my first story set in the Vironevaehn universe. I’ve written drafts for two different novels set in the universe.

But today, I thought I’d post a blast from years farther past. In 8th grade, I wrote my first Vironevaehn book. It was just by hand, and without much planning or forethought, half of it scribbled down during orchestra while my friends patiently ignored my rantings. But I filled a whole notebook with it. 14 years later, that book is one of my most valued possessions. Here I am with it today, and there I was with it 14 years ago, in a Polaroid taken as just another offhand idea.

comparison

 

Create something today, even if it’s silly. The only folly is not trying.

Today I sold my first story

Today I sold my first fiction story. It’s hard to express my thoughts and feelings. I will keep working hard, and I will eventually sell more, but today I am elated.

Below are some musings and reflections on what led me to today’s achievement. This is hardly to say that I am an expert after a single publication; it’s a list of things I think I did right that might be useful ideas for others. I have read many tips on getting published from experts. They doubtless have more experience than me, but they got published when the industry was really different. They have had years to gain some distance from the hard emotions associated with the process.

  • I learned to finish projects. I used to be good at big ideas and poor at execution. I made grand plans and I never finished anything. I dreamed but I didn’t labor. I credit grad school and aging for teaching me to finish and work on the long scale. The Fairy Tales collection featured on the side of this page was the first big project I finished; it took about a year.
  • I exposed my work. For some people, this is easy. It was very hard for me. To me, exposing my work involves more than having others read my work–it’s about hearing what they say about it. Unlike engineering, writing is subjective (which is terrifying!). If enough people say it’s bad, they’re likely right. As a first step, I started this blog, slightly over a year ago. Then I joined a local writing group.
  • I accepted critique. This is related to the point above. Of course I think my work is good, but sometimes it just isn’t. If one reader didn’t get the joke, maybe they’re a little dense. If several didn’t, the joke wasn’t properly conveyed. I’ve met a lot of other aspiring writers who are uncomfortable with this fact. It’s very hard. I wrote in a vacuum for years; sometimes I got it wrong. I got great critique at critters.org.
  • I wrote regularly. For the first several months of this blog, I posted three times a week. Three times a week I had to say something (semi) coherent. My writing group has a monthly theme, and I made myself write something every month. It wasn’t always good, but that was good motivation. Recently I’ve been writing at least one writing prompt a week and posting it here. This month I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo.
  • I submitted. And I submitted and I submitted. Stories are rejected for tons of reasons; inadequacy is just the tip. Many places accept only 1% of what they get. Some places only publish half a dozen stories a year. Some places are vague about what they are looking for (in my experience, beware the “we never get enough of x” statement). Sometimes they already have a story about a cat, or a story where the protagonist is disappointed, or a horror story, or an intimate first person story. Any of the above are reasons to get rejected. My story got rejected three times before it got accepted; it was the 32nd thing I submitted since the end of June. My favorite story has been rejected 8 times so far. Others in my writing group have excellent work that they have submitted and have had rejected. And then they stopped.
  • I researched those markets. I read what they said about themselves. I used places like The Submission Grinder and Duotrope to find out their response times. A lot of my rejections have come from sending pieces to unsuitable markets–it’s hard, but I got better at it.

But mostly, I am so happy. I worked hard and got very frustrated sometimes. This post is as much to motivate myself as anything, since the journey is hardly begun. I hope it will be useful to others as well.

Happy 16th Anniversary, Vironevaeh!

Sixteen years ago I first started writing about Vironevaeh, the extraterrestrial city that is the namesake for this website. In middle school I was that kid– I told everyone who would listen that I was an alien. I was so bizarre kids didn’t know how to bully me, not that they didn’t try. I happily kept inventing my world.

In high school I started to read the classics of sci-fi (my top 20 scifi books). Before that, I think Vironevaeh was an alter-ego–I had a different identity there, and knew different people. Advanced having of imaginary friends. The classics gave me a different perspective, the perspective of world-building. I’ve been slowly plugging away ever since. There’s a spreadsheet with a thousand years of history, some more densely detailed than others. There’s a list of the 1027 first Vironevaeh. There’s a ton of pointless info, as there is so much pointless info in life. But all of it was a labor of love, through all the years of perplexed looks.

For your delight, some of the works from over the years. It is good to pause at times and review the path. I’ve posted a lot more recent works on this blog; here are some oldies. Drawing for Vironevaeh forced me to push myself. (Many other illustrations are also available in Vironevaeh: Science Fiction Fairy Tales, which is free on the iPad.) Some things are worth the long-haul.

Jainus Aillette Torwin Trarce at beach_marker

My alter-ego, Jainus. From 2004.

Vironevaeh relief map 800pix

Map of the island of Vironevaeh, from 2004 or before.

building Palace_at_Vironevaeh_Proper

Palace, 2003.

clothing1 v2

Clothing from one historical period, 2007.

ChibiTempest

One of Jainus’ sisters, 2001.

Torwin Trarce chibi pencil tablet

Jainus and her 11 siblings, 2004.

Kolo Kolo Whit in Color

Kolo, a notorious political traitor, 2004.

wormhole invention

Wormholes!, 2011.

Jait Anda Torwin_psd

One of the first Vironevaehns, 2004.