An Intention and Meet Starry-You


To date I’ve not been one to declare an intention publicly (I’m more the quiet person in the background puttering on with their work – vague intentions in my head, but never ‘out there’) so it feels a bit strange to do this, but I can see one big positive of declaring an intention of mine: that it’ll (hopefully) keep me accountable and on track to actually doing the thing that I want to do.

So here goes. I have a little dream of putting together a book – a collection of short stories in the SFF genre – and (whisper it) getting it published and ‘out there’. At the moment the whole publishing thing is not something I’m thinking about too much – it’s the whole good quality short story stuff that’s keeping me occupied!

But you see, something absolutely wonderful happened to me a short while ago. First, my story ‘His Birth’ was shortlisted in a competition. (The Wellcome Trust sponsored ‘Science Fiction and the Medical Humanities’ Creative Writing Competition.) And then second, it got awarded 2nd place by the judge Adam Roberts, who is like some kind of god when it comes to science fiction writing. And believe me, it gave me such a boost (and actually, some much-needed validation) that I started to think, Maybe I can do this. Maybe I can allow myself to consider putting together a short story collection. Maybe.

So… it’s going to take me a good long while (my writing happens at around midnight once or twice a week, or on the weekend) but I’m in no rush. The main thing is to get around 12 good short stories written that I want to include. Now, I’ve got a couple already that I want to include, but there’s still a whole lot more to write. And, there’s also the fact that only about 1 in 5 of the short stories I write are actually good enough to put in a collection. This I know because I only consider a story ‘good enough’ if my husband (aka my editor extraordinaire) really likes the story (and that only ever happens in approximately that ratio!).

So I’m going to aim to increase my publication history when it comes to short stories (no doubt there will be plenty of rejections ahead – perhaps some acceptances too!) but the main thing is that I persevere.

Inspired by Maddy’s image of her ‘Self-Doubt Demon’ I decided to draw a character that represents the opposite: the ‘Supportive Star’ (aka Starry-You in reference to the Pokemon, Staryu). Or does Sammy Star work better? Who knows? Basically, this little guy (or is she a gal?) is there to say: Well done! and You can do it! You got this! Because sometimes we all need a little encouragement when things get tough and the self-doubt demon appears…


Yay! You can do it! Starry-You by Marija Smits
Yay! You can do it! Starry-You by Marija Smits


Anyway… wish me luck, and if you ever have a spare moment please do ask me about how things are going. It will be good incentive for me to keep going!

Lastly… my blog turned 4 last month (although sadly, I was too busy to do anything about it then) but I’m creating a little something for a giveaway I’m going to run, so please do pop back in the next week or two if you’re interested in seeing what I’ll be giving away in celebration of my 4th blogiversary.


Some zentangle-art-to-be, photo by Marija Smits
Some zentangle-art-to-be, photo by Marija Smits


So, ta ta for now, and I hope to see you soon!



Writing Bubble







28 thoughts on “An Intention and Meet Starry-You”

  1. I prefer Starry-You to Sammy star – and what a lovely concept! Great Pokemon reference too. 😉 – Good luck with the stories! Sure they will come to you faster than you imagine.

  2. How exciting re. your SF stories! I think that your voice is definitely one that needs to be heard in the genre – you have originality. I’m intrigued by your Zentangle art, too! I don’t do enough of it these days, which might explain why I’m stressed. Starry-you is a great idea. We all need that wash of encouragement when our self-esteem has wilted. Thanks for this post – SF, art, zentangle art too – I loved this.

    1. Thank you very much for your enthusiasm, Cathy. It’s much appreciated. 🙂 I’m really sad about you being stressed and I hope you’ll be able to do some more Zentangle art when you’re able to. If you need any more fancy paper do please say! I wonder too if you’ve ever considered putting together a collection of your short stories? The stories of yours that I’ve read I’ve always enjoyed; I love your voice – original and entertaining and always out of the ordinary. Anyway, sending hugs and a Starry-You gleam of encouragement your way. M x

  3. I’m not one to make public declarations of intent. I always end up changing my mind once I’ve put something “out there” and taking a different direction. But there does also come a point where one has to learn to make plans and follow through on them. So well done for taking the step to declare your intentions! Do you think the stories will come more easily the more you write, so you can up that 1 in 5 ratio? Not that it matters really, one cannot rush the creative process. (Need to keep reminding myself that!)

    I love your supportive star. We all need a friendly waving star to cheer us on sometimes.

    1. Hi Kamsin, thanks for your comment. 🙂 I’m not really sure if the 1 in 5 ratio will change in the future (I can’t really expect my husband to *like* all my short stories!) but we’ll see. And yes, one cannot rush the creative process. So glad you like Starry-You. Yay!

  4. I love little Starry-You – everyone needs a supportive star 🙂
    Congratulations on the writing contests – they are really hard ones to crack.
    I’m sure your short story collection will come together faster than you think. Good luck.
    Well done on your 4 -year blog-versary too. I’ll be back soon to check out your giveaway celebrations 🙂

  5. maddy@writingbubble

    I love starry-you! I bet he could take on the self-doubt demon no problem at all. Thanks for the shout out there too. And I love the idea of a collection of your stories – the one in the forgotten and the fantastical 2 was fab! I’m so impressed you find time to write at midnight – I’m a night owl but even I flake out by then! Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting xx

    1. So glad you like Starry-You. He’s a little gem, isn’t he? And I’m so glad you liked ‘Little Lost Soul’ in TFATF2. That’s one of my faves. Yep, midnight seems to be the time to write at the moment, but I admit it’s not something that I can do on a very regular basis because the lack of sleep does catch up with me! All the best, and thanks again for the wonderful #WhatI’mWriting. I do love (and need the weekly prompts!).

  6. Well done, Teika. Great to have a trusted critic on tap. Expect the ratio of likes to improve as your assurance grows. Some great essays on SFF in CS Lewis, Of This and Other Worlds. Especially like the eavesdrop on a conversation between Lewis, Kingsley Amis and Brian Aldiss on the attractions of writing SFF.

  7. Congratulations on your competition success! Very exciting 🙂 Working towards a short story collection is an excellent goal I think. It’s such a good way to hone your craft, with (hopefully) some more opportunities for publication along the way… I’m not sure I’m quite ready to think about a collection but I’m definitely in a short story zone at the moment! I have yet to define my genre though – the stories I’ve written so far all have an element of the bizarre, but not quite enough to push them into SF. I do love to read SF though, so if you ever want someone to cast a critical eye over anything then let me know! xx

    1. Many thanks Sophie for your kind words. It’s lovely to be in the short story writing zone, isn’t it? But I do hope to one day finish writing the novel that I started a fair while ago… And thanks for your kind offer. That’s very much appreciated. And by the way, there is definitely a market for stories that have an element of the bizarre (or are dark or have elements of magic realism). I can definitely recommend Angela Readman’s ‘Don’t Try This At Home’ collection in which the stories are rather skewed… (and beautifully written). Anyway, thanks again for stopping by. M xx 🙂

  8. Yay! Well done on getting placed and on your awesome starry you. I’m sure putting your intention into art that way has magical properties. I’ve just got another rejection, and I’m thinking that I quite like the wording of rejection letters (I’m still waiting for the ‘what a crock of shite, never darken our doors again’ one I have been expecting), and always feel slightly excited about submitting somewhere else… They’d save themselves some bother if they sent the crock of shite letter!

    1. Tee hee! I love your ‘crock of shite’ comment! But it’s great that you see the positive in a rejection – it’s definitely a chance to send good stuff out again. My ‘friend’ Ichabod wrote about this a while ago, but unfortunately he doesn’t have quite such a positive outlook as you…

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by and all the best with the submissions! 🙂

    1. Thanks Tattooed Mummy for your suggestion. A friend of a friend of mine is getting her book published on Unbound, so it’s definitely something I’d consider, but for the time being I’m not thinking about the publishing bit – just concentrating on writing a few more decent stories. (I just hope that it will happen!) 😉

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