Mar 28Liked by Tom Pendergast, Geoffrey Golden, Jackie Dana, Meg Oolders, Brian Reindel

Hi, I just recently joined substack and subscribed to this community. I write fiction and non fiction, mostly focused on migration. I live in the Netherlands but I miss the Virginia hills where I was born!

you can find me here:


here's a piece of fiction I (re)published on substack.


It's part of a novel. Happy to hear what you think!

I think ChatGPT will help with things like research and editing/proofreading. Grammarly on steroids if you will. I'm less concerned with it replacing authors as there are an infinite number of stories we have to tell. Further, the act of writing is not a mass produced commercial product but a painstakingly executed labour. Just as there are still artisans who produce things by hand, writers will continue their craft even if only for robots to read it.

What do other people think?

Expand full comment

Here's something I found in my snippets folder the other day. It may become the start of my next novel:

“It’s a seal,”said Simon.

“It’s a mermaid,” said Marion.

Hannah left them and ran along the sand, feet splashing through the intruding tide.

“It’s a man,” she shouted, looking back at them. “Somethings been chewing on him.”

Simon and Marion came running up, more careful to keep their feet dry. Marion stopped short, but Simon leaned over the body and looked.

“Someone’s bashed him on the head,” he said. He knelt down beside the body, but Hannah pushed him aside.

“Mine,” she said, “You thought it was a seal.” She started to go through the corpse’s pockets.

“Four pennies and a farthing,” she announced, cataloguing her finds as she went. “A button. Four bullets. A watch chain – no watch. A letter – ruined. A ring!”


Hannah bit the ring, which yielded slightly. She stuffed it hurriedly into the pocket of her smock.

Simon pulled a knife out and went to cut off the buttons on the man’s red coat.

“Mine!” Hannah insisted.

“You got a knife?” Simon asked.

“I’ll bite them off. You leave him be or I’ll bite you.”

“I’ll let you use the knife for two buttons.”

“One button.”


“Gerroff him then.”

“Don’t cut the buttons,” Marion said, still keeping her distance, “take the whole coat and the breeches.”

“How am I supposed to get them off him?”

“Unbutton it and roll him over. The three of us together could manage it.”

“You’ll have to touch him then, you baby.”

“I will. Equal shares on the coat, though, if we all help.”

“Including the buttons,” Simon said.

“Where would we hide it?” Hannah asked. “Da will take the lot if he sees it.”

Here's a teaser blub for it:

Hannah is a wrecker's daughter. She can set a false light or rifle a deadman's pockets as quick as any man. Now Hannah is coming of age, and there isn't a young man in the village that she'd give the time of day. But the soldier boys are coming, and Hannah might just catch one, if they don't catch her first.

Question: Would you buy this book?

Expand full comment
Mar 28·edited Mar 28Author

My March milestone was definitely getting an ebook collection of my stories out the door for paid subscribers: https://simonkjones.substack.com/p/get-the-new-ebook-collection-of-tales Have yet to see it shift the needle much in terms of subscribers upgrading, but I'm very happy it's there for current subs.

As for AI: I think it will be massively hyped, go quiet for a bit after proving to be practically quite dull, and then come back in some other form that's more useful. In the short term it'll likely annihilate the copywriting scene, especially copywriters who specialise in generic 'professional website copy' (which already largely reads like it was written by a robot).

What's harder to predict is the longer term, and the impact of AI generated writing in creative circles. I don't think it'll replace or be a threat to creative fiction, because it can't form that human-to-human connection that is so integral to all forms of art. Ideally it'll become a useful tool, perhaps for generating marketing materials so that authors don't have to waste time faffing about with blurbs and so on. I think as of 2023 it's impossible to predict, though - I don't think any of us expected generative AI to become such a prominent thing in 2022.

Expand full comment

A major milestone for me recently was launching a new Substack. I've been writing fantasy and science fiction on Future Thief for over a year now, and I love it, and the community and writers I've met have been incredible. I started to realize there was a growing desire for Substack speculative fiction authors to get more eyes on their work, and even recognize and reward it. Traditional publishing has proved to be slow and tedious, and the awards received are out of reach even for some very talented writers. I wanted to change that. So, I launched the Lunar Awards:


The first award season launches tomorrow, and I'm nervous and excited, but think it will be a fantastic way to expose subscribers to some amazing speculative authors in one place.

Expand full comment

A lot has been said about ChatGPT already, and most of it is hype and over generalization, but one thing that stuck out to me that was said recently (I forget by who) is that language AI will allow everyone to have their own personal research assistant. It goes well beyond search, and I have to say I'm impressed and have been using it already in my job as a programmer and in my writing. Once you learn how to interact with it in a conversational style and drill down to what you need, it becomes a fantastic tool. It will disrupt, as so many technologies like it do, but ultimately if you embrace it then you will reap the benefits.

Expand full comment
Mar 28Liked by Geoffrey Golden, Jackie Dana, Brian Reindel

Well the first anniversary month for my substack has come and is now going. I've got things to show for it in terms of writing, not so much in people having responded to my writing. I think ChatGPT right now is fairly overhyped. But it has been a problem for publishing in how people who think it can replace authors are clogging up the submission pipeline at publications like Clarkesworld. The perception of it might be more dangerous than the actual thing.

I'm constantly after feedback, and I did recently post a teaser of a short story I'm working on in the hopes of getting feedback, so I'll share that. To give a specific feedback request, what do you think of the usage of footnotes/ the meta fiction framing? https://warthogreport.substack.com/p/teaser-the-tale-of-fintan-and-aodh

Expand full comment
Mar 28Liked by Geoffrey Golden, Meg Oolders

Here's one of the 943 stories I've published on Substack. The paywall has been removed so the story could be shared here.

I hope it's obvious that it was written by a human, for humans.

Critiques and comments welcome. New subscribers always welcome.


Expand full comment

I write YA historic fiction about colonial California (1760-1850) using diverse characters. I just received a good Kirkus Review & appreciate recommendations about utilizing it. The review can be seen in last week's post. Thanks.

Expand full comment
Mar 28Liked by Meg Oolders, Brian Reindel

Good morning, Fictionistas!! And Happy Tuesday.

Major Milestone: Started reading my work aloud in front of live audience as a contestant in Chuck Palahniuk's Story Night Contest. Although I was scared poopless (after years of avoiding public speaking), my first reading is currently tied for second place! For anyone who's interested, here's the link (NSFW): https://chuckpalahniuk.substack.com/p/midwest-story-night-2

I've been hearing a lot of buzz about AI and ChatGPT and have been avoiding it as to not distract from getting stories down as I did when Midjourney came out with AI art. Hoping for something positive to come out while I sit back and ignore it??

Expand full comment
Mar 28·edited Mar 28Liked by Jackie Dana, Brian Reindel

Hello everyone,

This is my first discussion at Fictionistas. I write fiction and essays, and am currently in the middle of publishing my novel 'The Hermit' on Substack. It's about an aging finance bro who is having a spiritual crisis. Here's a brief intro:


And one of the recent chapters:


About AI: Generally I'm weary about AI. I feel unease about how AI advocates rush to equate us with AI (either by leading us to believe that it is sentient, or trying to bring us down to the level of code. "I'm a stochastic parrot and so r u," tweeted Sam Altman, the founder of OpenAI recently. Maybe he is a stochastic parrot –– saying words without attaching any meaning to them –– but I'm not, and many people are not. Perhaps, one use for AI is for non-fiction writers to do research. For my fiction I don't plan to use it at all.

Katya Grishakova

Expand full comment
Mar 28·edited Mar 28Liked by Jackie Dana, Meg Oolders, Brian Reindel

I passed 40 stories published on Substack last week!

My original goal was to write 100 stories in 100 days, but after 37 stories I felt quite exhausted, so I plan to do 2-3 each week going forward. Some stories are thoroughly mediocre, but there are still many I'm proud of, and it has helped me get into a writing habit.


Expand full comment
Mar 28Liked by Jackie Dana, Meg Oolders, Brian Reindel

I am coming up on 1 year of writing on substack and 3 months of writing fiction at my latest substack Gibberish. I just published on saturday episode 6 of an 11 episode series called Sandbox Earth, a story that has been floating in the back of mind since I was a teenager and which I finally have gotten written to my satisfaction. The whole thing is done and scheduled, it will be publishing every Saturday until April 29th. Please check it out!

The premise is an inversion of the classic trope that humanity rises to the stars as a unified people. When an alien spaceship appears in orbit, people are amazed and terrified--when a second ship arrives, wonder turns into disbelief. When the two ships fight a battle against each other, oblivious to humanity--disbelief turns into a race, and humanity climbs over each other to salvage what they can from the alien ships!

Expand full comment
Mar 28Liked by Jackie Dana, Meg Oolders, Brian Reindel

First time jumping in here. I've had my substack, Aging Author's Daily Diversions, up and going for almost a year now, and one of the major purposes as been to motivate me in writing my most recent novel by posting my daily word counts. After 8 months, the manuscript (the 4th book in a science fiction series) is finally out to my beta readers, and while I wait for feedback I am planning on writing a short story in my Victorian mystery series that I will put up the first draft up on my substack as I complete each scene. I have no particular interest in using ChatGPT for writing, but I am going to look into using the Google AI narration service for this short story and my last novella. All my other books and shorts I have paid to have narrated, but it will take years to have this expense pay off, so, since my narrator has just retired, I thought I would give AI a try.

Expand full comment
Mar 28Liked by Jackie Dana, Brian Reindel

Hi y’all! Thanks for hosting this thread. As a complete newb on Substack this is so valuable. I write fiction (short story to novel to ginormous series) and non-fiction (memoirs, bloggy personal essays and the occasional article).

Due to the way my brain injury works, I am no longer agented or seeking a new one. I am also not a good candidate for the Amazon ebook marketing rat-race. Making gobs of money, going viral, or getting onto B&N bookshelves are not my primary concerns. Finding my audience, finding a healthy and sustainable way to give back as a disabled person, and having an enthusiastic community--those are my goals.

I’ve been running experiments, posting my non-fiction and short stories on my blog for years, and tried out serializing one of my novels--fell in love with that rhythm. But the time has come. I need new homes for both types of writing, hence why I’m here sniffing around. I have two main question threads today:

1) Do you recommend making a separate publication to host my fiction, esp the big serials? (The non-fiction is not about my writing journey or the nifty research kernels for the fiction stories.) Or would you say a completely separate profile?

--My fiction is under my name, Alexx, as is half of the memoirs about my damsel-to-dangerous adventures and my resulting dain bramage recovery. These topics are interrelated with my fiction, as a lot of that stuff makes its way into my characters and worlds.

--Whereas the other half of the memoirs/creative process/art & travel is under my stage name--I’m a dancer by profession. That will absolutely need its own profile and publication.

--If I don’t have to have 3 profiles, I don’t want to. Thoughts for the cleanest, most efficient setup?

2) Do you also have your own personal blog in addition to Substack?

--If so, how much cross-pollination do you do, linking back and forth between them? Are you more interested in driving people toward one place more than the other? Why?

--Do you do identical cross-posting on both platforms? Or does each place have its own list? Or a hybrid, with some cross-posting and some unique? Why?

--Do you do identical cross-posting on others you don’t own, like Patreon, Medium, Wattpad, etc?

If these topics have been answered elsewhere in depth, please do point me toward them. I just landed here and am trying to catch my bearings so I appreciate you bearing with me. Badum-tsss. And with the infodump & question-vomit. 🤪

Expand full comment
Mar 28Liked by Jackie Dana, Brian Reindel

As for ChatG: I have been glub-glubbing in the waters of seizures, tooth infections & govt agencies too much these past couple years, trying not to get drowned by the Matrix to have formed an educated opinion on what I think its long term impact will be on authors.

I did, however, get curious if it could translate my cheesy Prophesy Poem into dactylic hexameter for my Persephone & Haides series. It started spitting back the translation before I had barely finished pushing Send!! 😱😻😱

Alas. (And phew!) It could not comprehend my request to stop rhyming, and so it’s just as cheesy as my not-a-poet tripe, simply with more syllables. Not remotely some Grand Homeric Epic prophesy.

So good news to our deep-dive poetic masters, it couldn’t even get out of the starting blocks. It sure gave a valiant effort though, and was supremely polite and apologetic when I kept trying to reword my non-rhyming request. Unfortunately, it (or at least its developers) will probably learn from that… 🤔🤔🤔🤣😳

Expand full comment

Okay. Here's one from my archives. https://stockfiction.substack.com/p/pupil-a4r1

I've been wanting to revise this piece for a while. My Substack's hook is that I write experimental fiction inspired by stock photography, usually a single image. This piece, you'll see, relies heavily on many photos to tell the story. I'd love some feedback or suggestions on how to make this piece less reliant on the photos (or ideally not require them at all), while keeping the emotional arc/journey intact. Appreciate any thoughts you have. Feel free to add them here, or in the comment thread on the post. Thank you so much!

Expand full comment
Mar 28·edited Mar 28Liked by Jackie Dana, Brian Reindel

Hi, Everyone. Love the idea of office hours and especially the ChatGPT comments from other writers. I joined Substack in February and write Research for Writers and Other Curious People: https://othercuriouspeople.substack.com I provide research ideas and inspiration for both fiction and non-fiction writers. Many people have asked my thoughts on ChatGPT. Honestly, at first it was panic that this new AI would put me out of a job. I took a deep breath and jumped in with the mantra, it's only a talking Google. Well... not quite. I'm impressed with its speed and human interface. I experimented with it to help outline an article and the darn thing gave me bogus information. The faulty results are scary. We already live in a world where people believe more of what they read than they should and credible resources are fleeting at times. ChatGPT is garbage in, garbage out. I'm enjoying articles written by thoughtful writers who are experimenting with the AI, such as travel planning, etc., and appreciate the fact checking they are including in their pieces. As a writer with advanced degrees and years of research and fact-checking experience, I want to believe I won't be replaced overnight. We will have to wait and see what the next gen or two or three brings. I welcome other writers to this important discussion.

Expand full comment

I'm new here but I've started two series. One is my sci-fi/space opera web novel 'Inquisitor's Promise'. The book itself is more or less finished, and right now I'm posting the chapter on daily basis. The other is nonfiction, but it's a series of reviews of fictional works that I like.

Expand full comment
Mar 28Liked by Jackie Dana, Brian Reindel

Happy Tuesday, fellow fiction writers! I'm loving your responses and am eager to check out everyone's newsletter. As for me:

Milestone -- this past Saturday, I published the 1st installment of And in the Dark They Are Born, a post-apocalyptic novel I'm serializing on my newsletter. If you're a fan of The Road, True Grit, Mad Max: Fury Road or Léon: The Professional, then there's a good chance you'll like it. Here's a link to the "intro" page of the novel in case you want to learn more >> https://www.emeralddash.com/p/and-in-the-dark-they-are-born-novel

AI -- ugh. I think that's the primary feeling I have over it: ugh. But I think "ugh" really is just code for, "I'm scared." Not because I think it's going to take over fiction writing, but I do think it's going to make an impact on me, personally (I'm a UX writer by day and there's no doubt in my mind that organizations large and small will jump at the chance to create quality UX copy on the cheap), and on the working world at large. It's no secret that we've been arcing toward a world in which AI plays a significant role, and that in many ways we've been at the dawn of said world. But this does feel like it's a next step of sorts, and one that could be pretty big.

Happy writing, everyone!

Expand full comment

Wow, I am so excited to see everyone jumping in on this week's Office Hours. I hope everyone can make it tomorrow to the Fictionistas Zoom call!

My major milestone is that I have turned my (nonfiction) Substack Unseen St. Louis into a monthly speaker series, and the first two events have been massively popular, packed houses! It's amazing! Part of me wants to do the same for fiction writers locally, but that would require 36 hour days. 😂

As for ChatGPT, I am a huge fan and have been reading everything I can about it (and writing about it in several places - here's my take on it on my Substack: https://storycauldron.substack.com/p/chatgpt-my-writing-sidekick ). I use it all the time for fiction and nonfiction purposes. Just last night ChatGPT and I were working side by side on a chapter I'm revising, about a character who is confronting reality after a horrific experience, and how to best represent his PTSD in his actions. It's been so incredibly helpful for stuff like that. But it also is great to summarize articles (or create a summary based on multiple ones) for a variety of purposes. I write something every day and it really helps cut down the time on some parts of the process and inspire me or give me frameworks around which to write.

I can't think of a snippet to share right at the moment but maybe I'll be back later with one.

Expand full comment
Mar 28·edited Mar 28Liked by Jackie Dana, Brian Reindel

I'm at my 6 month anniversary on Substack. Once a week fiction. Today I published #26, how about that. Zowza. Been a lot of fun, keeps me on my toes that's for sure. My latest is here. As I've ramped up, I've included stories a bit longer. This one's about 1800 words. A story of an unusual train and the people who follow it, on foot.


Many thanks to all for your stories, your support, and your inspiration.

Expand full comment

Thanks to Brian and all others for hosting this thread on Fictionistas!

Strangely enough, today marks my one-year milestone for writing fiction at Along the Hudson. (I began writing on Substack in October 2020 under a different publication name.) I share weekly fiction and bi-weekly writing challenges.

Here’s my latest, shared yesterday: https://alongthehudson.substack.com/p/bandit

Thanks again!

Expand full comment

Major Milestone: I completed a beta for a game I'll be submitting to the Spring Thing interactive fiction festival next month. There are still bugs to work out, but all the writing is finished.

ChatGPT: I can see a future in which it's good at researching, idea generation, and writing marketing copy, kind of like a writer's assistant. It's not quite there yet. Sometimes it hallucinates facts in its research, and I think for things like title ideas it's hit-or-miss, but it can write a solid first draft press release, which is neat.

Expand full comment

I finally took the plunge and began writing a serial that I've had rattling around in my head for a while now. https://cobwebbedcandles.substack.com/p/the-soulspeakers-diary-part-1

If you like ghosts and necromancers as much as I do, hopefully you'll like this. We start with a botched soul-binding ritual that leads to melted bones needing to be cleaned off the floor and go from there.

Lirien's trying her best. She's still very new at this.

Since I'm a fiction writer I'm not really afraid of being replaced by AI. Pretty sure that everyone who thinks Chat GPT is a shortcut to being a successful writer (and as a consequence is flooding everywhere and anywhere they can with AI-generated dreck right now), will drop it when it turns out it's not.

Expand full comment