2016 is gone, welcome to 2017, everyone! The world is kind of scary right now, and about to get scarier after Trump steps into office. And it's not just the US: the same political climate is palpable in Europe, and there are lots of important elections coming up this year, most notably the French presidential election and the German parliamentary election. (Read more here, for example.) Let's hope it all turns out better than expected.
Moving on to happier things, on the writing front 2016 was a busy year for me. I published some drabbles, but no short stories. That doesn't mean I wasn't writing. I did write five or six stories in English and about the same in Finnish. Two of the Finnish stories won awards ("Kylmempi kuin jää"/ honourable mention in the Portti competition and "Vedenneito"/2nd place in the Nova competition). Another story "Kun nokkoset kukkivat" was accepted to the Finnish anthology of Gothic stories. I also submitted stories to the Genreblender competition and Lumen ja jään antologia, both in Finnish., and some drabbles and a story to the English edition of Cosmos Pen, the magazine my writers' association publishes.
I didn't submit that many English pieces in 2016, but I've got about three making the rounds right now, one of which is currently being held for further consideration. I also took part in the Apex flash fiction competition. There are about three more stories that I should finish editing so I could send them out. I also participated in two online writing courses from the University of Iowa, so those cut into my writing time a bit but were extremely valuable, craft-wise. There's a story opening I did for the class that I'd like to develop further, hopefully soonish so I'll have something to submit to Critters.
Even though I didn't publish much, I feel that something has changed about my writing. I've started getting personal rejections from the pro mags, which is a good sign, and the placing-in-competitions thing is also encouraging. I guess I'm levelling up, as Cat Rambo put it. Mind you, I'm nowhere near to where I want to be. I'm Bambi, just learning to stand up on the ice, while my favourite authors are the ones gliding by, doing triple axels while juggling seven flaming daggers at the same time. Lots of work ahead, but it's nice to see that I'm making some progress.
What about 2017? Well, my goal is still the same: to write something good enough to be published in a pro mag. My favourites of the SFWA eligible markets are Shimmer, Apex, and Clarkesworld, so I decided to start reading them regularly to get a better feel for what the editors are looking for, and hey, reading more great short stories? That's a win-win, anyway you look at it. I'm also planning to get a subscription to Portti, the major Finnish science fiction magazine. I'm still carrying on with my critique groups this year, of course, and I'll probably participate in the 2017 How Writers Write Fiction course, too.
And 2017 can't be all bad; Worldcon will be in Helsinki this year, that's exciting! I'm also looking forwards to playing the new Mass Effect and Persona games and seeing the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
So, happy New Year. Hopefully the world will be a little bit brighter in an year's time.