I am very pleased to report that my short story “Best-Laid Plans” has just been published at Clarkesworld!
This story started at one of the “Idea to Outline in an Hour” workshops I present at science fiction conventions and writers’ workshops. In this workshop I walk the participants through a series of fifteen questions, which I originally got from my instructor Pat Murphy at Clarion West, which I have found reliably guide me from a vague idea to something with characters, setting, and structure that I can actually begin writing.
This particular workshop was at the Foolscap convention in September 2012, and in this case I started with the two-word idea “Space Mice!” and worked through the exercise right along with the participants. I don’t always do that, but in this case I did, and the outline I wound up with struck me as perhaps worth pursuing. But I didn’t get to it right away. In fact, it remained in a folder on my hard disk for over eight years.
As you may know, my wife Kate Yule was diagnosed with brain cancer shortly after I sold my first novel, Arabella of Mars, in 2014. I managed to finish the Arabella trilogy during her illness and death, but I didn’t have much energy left over for short stories. After turning in the third and final Arabella book, I started in on a new novel… but between grief, post-trilogy syndrome, a medical crisis of my own, and a global pandemic I didn’t finish it until late 2020. It wasn’t until February 2021 that I started to consider writing short stories again.
I’d been thinking for some time that the “space mice” idea I’d worked up back in 2012 felt like something compact, self-contained, and fairly lightweight, a good candidate for getting back on the short story horse. So on February 25 I started in on writing it, and by March 14 I had a draft. I sent it off to a couple of friends for their feedback, then after a few small revisions submitted it to Clarkesworld on March 29. On April 10 it was accepted, and after a few more small revisions it was published on May 1. That’s about the fastest I have ever gone from idea to publication! I hope you enjoy it.
The ebook and podcast are also available from Amazon, iTunes, and many other places.
My kind of SF – lots of academic science, got the boredom of scientific trials spot on, set in an orbiting space station, lots of plausible touches, humour. A great story!
FYI, at https://daviddlevine.com/story-tag/free-stories/ you have the date listed as May 2020 rather than 2021.
Glad you liked it! As to the date… boy howdy, in some ways it still feels like March 2020 never ended. I’ll fix that.