Category Archives: Short Stories

Updates for 2/26/2012

Today I’m very happy to announce that my first sale of the year, Dream Guy, has been posted at Metro Fiction.

Also, I’ve been accepted as a writer for the collaborative project, the newest Choose Your Online Adventure. I’m extremely excited, since I’ve been dying to write for CYOA ever since I beta read on the last project.

As far as my current daily goals, I’ve begun writing more flash. I’m currently editing two flash stories, plus I’ve scheduled several writing prompts for the next couple months. I’ve begun writing reviews of movies that might be of interest to my readers, either because they are genre flicks or they are based on a classic book.

And last but not least, my current long term project, my Young Adult Fantasy novel, is 221 pages (out of 257) into it’s 2nd draft. I already know I’ll need to go back again and change things in the beginning to make them match material I’ve added. So in my next draft I’ll be working on consistency as well as refining the prose. However, I plan on putting this draft aside, to work on another project, before I pick it up again. The distance helps me notice mistakes so I’m better able to fix them.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you! Next Friday I will post another #FridayFlash, which I will read on my podcast, My Writing Niche, that Sunday. In the meantime, I wish you all the best. May you have a lovely week.

 

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Filed under Current events, Short Stories, Writing Corner

National Blog Posting Month: 2010-02-21

National Blog Posting Month – Day 21

Yesterday the Off-Season Nanowrimo group met at Panera for fun, discussion, and large quantities of caffeinated beverages.  I enjoyed seeing everyone again, not to mention someone new. He had participated in the 2009 Nanowrimo but attended all the meetings that I missed. Our conversations varied from what we’d done with our Nanowrimo novels – mostly nothing, but a couple were still being tinkered with. I think was the only one currently editing, though that doesn’t mean much since I’m just winging it. Another wrimo and I discussed editing strategies. The group topics ranged from dieting strategies to Stephen King novels to Brandice’s upcoming book signing (a poetry book called Columbus Groove).  I told her that I’d heard about a local author day at our library, so she might check that out too.

Last night, while I was websurfing, another author tweeted about his freewriting progress. I’ve heard the term before, also known as stream-of-consciousness, but I wasn’t entirely sure what it was.  After some googling, I decided to try it. It worked for Kerouac; right? To be pefectly honest, from what I’d read and heard before it didn’t sound productive to me, but I figured (as I’ve done so many times), ‘What the hell?’

So, if I understand correctly (and I’m fully prepared to admit I don’t), the general idea of freewriting is to write without rules for a set amount of time, simply putting words on paper, whatever comes into your head without regard to sentence structure, grammar, or anything else- sort of like this sentence.  By doing this, you can go back and reread whatever nonsense you’ve written and pick out the little gems that might make good stories. It’s also a way to break out of writer’s block.  In a way, it reminds me of Nanowrimo.

Today I tried freewriting for the first time. I’m not sure how helpful it was, but I did enjoy simply putting pencil to paper, especially since it gave me a chance to fill up some more of my bigger moleskine notebook. I thought about freewriting in another notebook or my small laptop, but they weren’t as convenient to carry around. I know some of the blogs I read said that you just discard what you’ve written afterwards, but I think I’ll keep it. It may be nonsense right now, but it’s my nonsense.  And maybe later something else will come from it.

As far as my editing progress goes, I’m will attempt a few pages tonight, though I promised myself no editing pressure over the weekends.  To be perfectly honest, I still haven’t figured out what works best for me as I try to revise my rough draft novel. Sometimes it’s fun, but a lot of times it’s just a chore. I know that it’s not always going to be fun, but I just don’t have a clear picture of what I’m doing. I think part of the problem is that  (as I revise) I have trouble envisioning the entire story. When I edit my flash, it’s all I can do to make myself stop tweaking it. They’re short enough that I can see the impact of my work in a glimpse. I’d hoped to at least finish my first complete novel edit this month, but there is just no way. None. I’m on pages 40-50 of 152. Also, at the rate that my Nanowrimo’s shrinking by the time I’m done I’ll have a novella instead of a novel- if I’m lucky.  That’s okay, but it wasn’t really my goal.  Of course I might also add more things, but I don’t think I’ll add enough to make up the difference of what I’ve cut.

As I’ve learned more about the craft of writing, I’ve discovered I really enjoy the flash fiction more than anything else I’ve worked on so far. I’ve written some short stories in different genres and occasionally some poems, but I feel my best work is my short fiction. I enjoy the challenge of telling a short, complete story with tight prose. I’m not saying I’m going to stop trying other things, but that’s something I’ve learned about myself as a writer.

Next month, when this National Blog Posting Month is over, I’ll return to writing flash and short fiction, maybe dabble in some poetry and other writing styles, and take the next month or two off from editing the rest of my Nanowrimo. I’ll continue reading about editing techniques, and hopefully by my next crack at it, I’ll make more headway. In the meantime, I continue plugging away at my keyboard and scribbling away in my moleskine and immersing myself in good books.

Have a great day, and keep reading and writing!

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Filed under NaBloPoMo, nanowrimo, Short Stories, Writing Corner

Announcing: The Best of 2009 #fridayflash Anthology

I’m very honored and excited to announce that my story, A Hell of a Job, has been selected to be included in The Best of 2009 #fridayflash Anthology! This will be the first time any of my flash has been published outside my blog. I am waiting to find out more in the next month of so about the publication. There is talk of a possible web badge for authors blogs, so I will post more as I find things out. Thank you again to J.M. Strothers, the man behind both #fridayflash and the Anthology, as well as all the other wonderful volunteers and authors that participate.

If you are unfamilair with #fridayflash, it’s the brainchild of author J.M. Strothers (@jmstro). The idea is to drive traffic to the blogs of authors by offering free short fiction. To participate, simply write a flash fiction story of 1,000 words or less, post it on your blog on Friday, then post a link to the piece under the hashtag #fridayflash on Twitter. Fridayflash has really taken off with tons of great authors just giving away their work for your enjoyment and hopefully a few helpful comments.  If you aren’t an author, readers are welcome and needed. Authors LOVE to have people read their work. Come and try it out next Friday! Just search under the hashtag #fridayflash on Twitter, and get ready for a real treat.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, NaBloPoMo, Short Stories, Writing Corner

Friday Flash Favorites, a Review, & My Personal Accountability

My Favorite #fridayflash Author Links

This is something I’ve been meaning to do for awhile now. I’m linking to the blogs of some of my favorite #fridayflash authors. Their names appear in bold linked to their blogs, and their italicized Twitter aliases link to their Twitterstreams. I apologize if I leave anyone out. There are so many great writers out there, it’s hard to pick just a few of my favorites.

JM Strothers (jmstro)– The man who started it all. It was his brilliant idea to start #fridayflash on Twitter, where authors could link to their short flash stories every Friday and boost visits to their blogs. In addition to posting a weekly ‘#fridayflash report’ on his Mad Utopia blog, he also writes professionally and manages to post his own engaging, amusing stories. Some have a twist, some are humorous, but all leave you with a smile.

Laura Eno (lauraeno)– Her weekly contributions to #fridayflash always seem to have a humorous dark streak, something to throw you off your guard. Even if you’re looking for a twist, you’re still surprised in the end.

Alan Baxter (AlanBaxter)– He intermittently post excellent flash stories on his blog ‘The Word’ as well as commentary on almost anything. He’s also published the novels RealmShift and MageSign.

Angie Capozello (Techtigger) – I look forward every week to her stories about Nox and Grimm, 2 supernatural characters that always manage to get into trouble. While the characters seem to be a series, each short can be read on its own, and they’re always entertaining.

Jeff Posey (AnasaziStories)– He always has an interesting, usually bittersweet, story to tell, and almost all his stories have a moral or at least leave you thinking for quite awhile. Many of them have the feeling of a fable that’s been told many times.

PJ Kaiser (Doublelattemama)- Every week she posts something sweet and/or thought provoking. She also blogs about fertility issues and contributes to Metropolista.

And those are all the authors I’m going to list for now, though I can honestly say that I have yet to read a #fridayflash that wasn’t either well written or engaging. Thank you to everyone who participates, readers and authors alike.

*I’ve been reviewed!

I realize that my #fridayflash has been read and reviewed/commented on in the comments section underneath each story, but this is the first time anyone has reviewed my work on a separate site. I’m a bit excited about it. Thanks, valdary!

If you are interested, there are reviews of 3 #fridayflash stories altogether. The reviews can be found here, and my story ‘Where there be Dragons’ is here.

Thank you.

*My Personal Accountability

During Nanowrimo, I started blogging regularly about my writing progress to hold myself accountable for my personal writing goals. It worked so well, I’m continuing the practice. The theory behind this is simply that if I make a public announcement of my goals, I’ll be terribly embarrassed if I don’t succeed. So…failure is no longer an option.

It worked well enough for my Nanowrimo novel, ‘Mortal Coil: The Afterlife and Times of William Shakespeare,’ but unfortunately it doesn’t work as well when I’m editing. That’s my big confession. I’ve tried several strategies, but when it comes to longer fiction I’ve yet to find one I’m comfortable with.

My best writing’s done when I’m under pressure with an impending deadline. My three Nanowrimo novels were all on schedule with time to spare, yet my edits of those same novels take forever. I’ve listened to podcasts and read about editing, tried reading through and editing after, attempted chapter by chapter edits, line edits, editing for grammar and story consistency separately… It’s just difficult for me to pin down what works best. My only problem editing my short stories lies in the fact that I keep tweaking them until the very last minute. Editing longer works just throws me.

My first children’s novel, ‘The Wonderfully Exciting and Awesome Adventures of Monkeyboy,’ I finished editing twice, but I’m still unhappy with it. It was my very first attempt at writing anything fictional at all, so I pretty much broke every rule. I info dumped, ran chapter long descriptions of settings… you name it. I’m considering doing a 3rd rewrite of the whole thing.

My second rough draft novel, ‘The Crimefighter’s Club,’ I have yet to finish editing once. I love the story, but every time I try to tackle editing the book I get overwhelmed. I was told to read through the entire thing once before doing a thorough edit, but the typos and grammatical mistakes make it impossible for me to get past more than a couple chapters. I’m considering just forgetting about reading it first and editing each chapter (or even each line) as I go.

For my third rough draft novel, I decided to ignore all the advice I’d read about waiting at least a month. I started the edit in December. With holidays and some #fridayflash stories I was itching to write, I only went through part of the first week of a month long editing process I’d read about. So far, this one seems the most systematic and promising.

I’ve tried to write short fiction while editing my longer work, but I’ve found that I just CAN’T do it. I can’t. It’s really difficult to get into a story (short or long) and then try to forget it so I can get into another story. I know that other authors can do it, but for whatever reason I just can’t. There. I admit it.

So, this is the writing and editing schedule I’ve devised for myself for the next couple months. I plan on skipping the #fridayflash story I wanted to finish this week because (as the first ‘Back to school/work’ week) it’s just too hectic. I have too much personal stuff going on, but I still plan to read the stories and comment. Each following Friday of January, I will post a flash story. In February, I will follow the predetermined schedule I read about and complete my first edit of ‘Mortal Coil’ by Midnight on the 28th. I WILL DO THIS. Then, in March, I will pick up with my #fridayflash stories again.

So…

Friday, January 8, 2010: No #fridayflash post, but will read and comment on stories throughout the weekend.

Friday, January 15, 2010: Will post #fridayflash story.

Friday, January 22, 2010: Will post #fridayflash story.

Friday, January 29, 2010: Will post #fridayflash story and prepare over weekend to start editing ‘Mortal Coil.’

Monday, February 1, 2010: Begin edit of ‘Mortal Coil.’

Sunday, February 28, 2010 (Midnight): Finish 1st complete edit of ‘Mortal Coil.’


I welcome your comments and suggestions. Until next time, wish me luck, and Keep writing!

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Filed under Flash Fiction, nanowrimo, Short Stories, Writing Corner

Short Story: Dream Guy

I had originally planned this story as a #fridayflash, but no matter what I did I couldn’t seem to get it under 1,000 words. I wanted to post it before the end of November though (in honor of Nanowrimo), since it was inspired by a discussion during a Pre-Nanowrimo Meetup. Enjoy!

Dream Guy

This story has been temporarily removed because it will be appearing in another publication. Thank you for the interest!

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Filed under humor, mythology, nanowrimo, Short Stories, Writing Corner