Archive

2017 October

October 29 – November 26

Big news this month is Ryan finally proposed! With some help from Kiki and Alyssa, he popped the big question at a romantic and private lunch. “Will you marry me?” was written on custom plates (made by Kiki!) and revealed once we finished our meal. I love Ryan so much and am so excited to be marrying him! Labor Day Weekend 2018. Now for wedding planning….

Other than Thanksgiving and the big engagement, this past month has been filled with revisions revisions revisions. After VP and a weekend workshop with Mary Robinette Kowal, I’ve been revising 6ish stories and preparing for more submissions. In January, I’ll be applying to both Clarions (Clarion and Clarion West), so will need to pick my 2 submission stories for each (I have 3 stories in mind, but one is in serious need of revision). I am very anxious about these two workshops – going to one would be a dream come true: 6 weeks of focused writing instruction, critiquing, and drafting. But, as is the case with any “best of,” these two workshops are really freaking competitive to get into. I’ll know officially in March how I did!

Other than that, I’ve decided to switch my focus to a new novel post-applying-to-Clarions. I’ve had a few friends secure agents recently (nearly all of whom haven’t published a short story in a pro-market). As crazy as it sounds, I keep hearing that getting an agent for a novel is actually slightly easier than publishing a short story in a SFWA-qualifying magazine or webzine. Now all I have to do is think of a novel idea lol.

The next month is filled with tons of travel: 11/26 – 12/1 Chicago, 12/1 – 12/8 Orlando, 12/8 – 12/15 Telluride, 12/15 – 12/17 Bay Area, 12/17 – 12/28 Tokyo, 12/28 – 1/3 Seoul. Hopefully a lot of writing and reading will happen in there.

Here is Ryan and my sister’s new puppy, Gator:

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October 2 – October 28

Just got back from Viable Paradise Writers’ Workshop – and man was it incredible!

VP is a writing workshop for early career writers who are just at the brink of publication. Alumni include NK Jemisin, Fran Wilde, and Mur Lafferty (to name a few). To apply, writers have to submit either two short stories or the first few chapters + a synopsis of their novel. Applicants are selected based on the quality of their writing samples. While I’ve received a few nice, personalized rejection letters from the literary magazines I’ve submitted my short fiction to, I had never actually received a writing-related acceptance until that wonderful day in June when I was admitted to this year’s VP workshop.

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This year’s workshop was taught be an incredible set of faculty: Elizabeth Bear, Erin Black, Max Gladstone, Steven Gould, Daryl Gregory, Laura Mixon (also writes under MJ Locke), Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Sherwood Smith, Scott Lynch, and Patrick Nielsen Hayden. And the staff – the staff! was incredible. But my favorite people at the workshop were the amazing 23 other writers I met, wrote with, learned from, and graduated alongside – this cohort is sharp, talented, and incredibly generous. I feel lucky to have such a great new group of friends and colleagues.

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So what actually happens at VP? The week is filled with long days of lectures, critiquing, one-on-ones with instructors, writing new stories, and (sometimes very late at night) drunken music, laughter, and grilled cheese. There are a few secrets shared with only those who actually attend the workshop (the HORROR that is Thursday, luminescent jellyfish, the truth of publishing a novel – in picture-book-form, and much much more).

My greatest takeaway from VP was that I (and all my fellow VP21 grads) are writers. Prioritizing writing, putting your work out there, getting rejected – these things are hard, very hard. And many of us (if not most or all of us) faced even these things during our time at VP. But what makes us writers is deciding to push through, to continue, to keep struggling and trying. VP’s greatest strength is its community and support – showing each of us that, while the struggle is real, none of us are alone (at least not anymore).

 

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I am really proud of what each of us has accomplished and look forward to what I know each of us has yet to accomplish. My week at Viable Paradise was one of the best of my life (if not the best), and I am so grateful to have had a chance to experience a sliver of the island’s magic.

September 11 – October 1

Back to school! My last year at Kellogg is shaping up to be a great one so far. Not only do my classes seem more than manageable (at least as of now), I have huge gaps in my daily schedule which are perfect for writing and reading. While I haven’t written anything noteworthy in the last month, I have been marathoning through my reading list (mostly in preparation for Viable Paradise – two weeks away!)

My last first day of school:

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I’ve also officially signed my offer to return to Facebook, and I could not be more excited! I requested a bit of a late start date in order to free up my July / August for Clarion (which I will be applying to in December). My team approved the September start but for a date a little later than I wanted (9/17). When I mentioned this to Ry he suggested we use the few extra weeks to get married (<— yep, that’s how he said it).

So, even though we aren’t officially engaged yet, we’ve already started planning a Labor Day wedding. Honestly, the lack of romance doesn’t bother me – I really like the idea of getting married before starting work. That way we can just enjoy our time with family without me being a total stress pot. So far, wedding planning has been going like this:

Mom: Sydney, what do you think about X

Me: Okay.

Mom: And what about Y

Me: Okay.

Is there an opposite of a bridezilla?

Also, looks like the wedding will be in the same venue I had my Bat Mizvah – circle of life?

Last exciting update: Nancy and Kiki got a puppy! Excited to meet Gator over Thanksgiving!

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My next post will be after VP – can’t wait to share how the week goes!