Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year Thoughts

From the Speakers: 3 LIBRAS by A Perfect Circle
Just Read: THE THIEF LORD by Cornelia Funke--Didn't know where it was going when I started, but I liked how it suddenly turned speculative. Very entertaining.
Reading Now: THE WOLF TREE by John Claude Bemis

It's that time again: reflection on what writing accomplishments I've made this year, and contemplation of what my goals are for next year.

Looking back, I've written innumerable short stories, one novella, completed the final draft of one novel. I started this blog. I opened a twitter account to follow authors, agents, and publishers. I submitted a plethora of tales, got several encouraging rejection letters, had three accepted, two published. Oh, and I graduated college with a minor in creative writing. All in all I'd say 2011 was a success from a writing standpoint.

Now, the three accepted stories number provides a launching point for next year. To me, three isn't very high at all (although it's about a quarter of my total acceptances), though in my defense I was finishing up nursing school for half the year, and then looking for a job, and then starting a job. My main goal for 2012 is volume related. I have a handful of files in my "Completed Stories" folder, and by December 31, 2012, I want to have a barrel of stories, if not a whole cellar full. If I'm lucky, some of them might even be published.

One thing I'm going to do to help achieve this goal is accept the Write1Sub1 challenge. I heard about this a while ago and it sounded awesome, but I didn't really think I was in a stable enough place in my life to commit to a weekly challenge of that magnitude. Now, though, as Write1Sub1 is being reloaded, the time has come to jump in. Last year was a solid foundation, but next year I plan to really take myself seriously as a professional writer.

So let's do it! Let's grab our pencil and paper, boot up our computers, put some fresh ink in our printers, and get to work! Here we go! Write on!

. . . Starting next week. :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

From the Speakers: WALKING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND by Dean Martin

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Technology: Love it or Hate it

From the Speakers: YOU by Candlebox

My laptop crashed.

As I searched online for the title of a movie I couldn't think of (turned out to be Valhalla Rising . . . don't recommend it), up popped the infamous blue screen of death, of doom, and of destruction. "The System Has Halted," it informed me. Yes. I inferred that much. Thank you.

I'm borrowing a computer now to blog (thanks Mom . . . ) and to write. I don't really like this computer though. I say that hesitantly, because sometimes I get the impression that it can hear me when I insult it and it starts to work more slowly, like this afternoon when Pandora radio was skipping and I yelled at it across the room, and BOOM! Google Chrome is not responding.

Sometimes I hate technology. Absolutely hate it.

On the interesting (but not necessarily bright) side, I've written my past two stories by hand as a side effect. They've turned out to be good; I really like the places I've gone with them, as well as the pace and structure that's more natural to pencil. One's about a science fiction refugee, the other about a dying old lady with a less than welcome visitor to her hospital room. In an earlier post, I touched on how my style comes out differently when I write in pencil, and it's gotten my mind thinking along different pathways.

Who knows--maybe even the bluest screens of death could be blessings in disguise?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Story Sale!

From the Speakers: SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN by Harry Connick Jr.

Ever wonder how people who get away with terrible crimes can live without guilt? Well, not all of them can.

That's an attempt at a teaser for my latest story sale--what do you think? Enticing? Would you read on?

"Ten Stories Up, Ten Years Later" originated as a submission for a flash fiction contest my senior year at UNC. It didn't place, so I started sending it around to magazines, and after some helpful feedback and revisions, it landed a home at Misfit Magazine! Here's the link: It's due to come out in the April 2012 issue.

(Head over there now and see a story by Milo James Fowler, who I appeared beside in Ray Gun Revival this summer, when "Good Business, with Guns" was published. Click the link to the left to read that one!)

What a great early Christmas present! And don't worry--I'll be sure to post several reminders in April, when it comes out. The best part is I still have a handful (or two) of stories floating around out there. If one gets accepted before Christmas, I just might have to bake twice as many cookies for Santa.

Woohoo! Nothing like a sale to get the writing juices flowing. Ready... set... WRITE!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Binge Writing

From the Speakers: SONG 3 by The Appleseed Cast

I've been on a short story binge lately, both reading and writing.All kinds of great places to find free, amazing fiction exist online, magazines like Clarkesworld, Ray Gun Revival, Light Speed--basically magazines I like to submit to--not to mention that a while ago I subscribed to Fantasy and Science Fiction and Asimov's, and midway through the year got hooked on a books series (okay, maybe more than one series), and so I've still got a lot of good short fiction sitting around my room.

Reading these stories makes me want to write short pieces of my own. The thing about writing novels is that the rate of ideas that pop into my head doesn't decrease, so I get this backlog waiting to be written. The hiatus I take from novel-writing, coupled with recent short story reading, results in what I refer to as a "binge-writing" phase.

This is where, in the course of a very short amount of time, I write as many short stories as I can, as fast as I can. What I end up with is between four and six short stories in a week. If your wondering if the quality is questionable, I'll tell you I'm usually surprised at how letting the idea incubate in my head makes it come out more fully formed. However, while binge writing, I never feel like slowing down to edit.

That comes later, after a very long and well-deserved sleep.

Often, the stories spring from a single question: Why would a man be trying to survive in the wild, and what's hunting him? Could a kid build a mechanical dog out of junkyard parts? What would the slave trade look like in science fiction? What would a group of uneducated sailors ask their friend to protect if they knew they sailed to their deaths?

To find out the answers to these questions, stay tuned for future story sales posts!

Anyway, I've been coming out of a binge phase, the result being four short stories that now desperately need my attention for the revision process. Soon, it will be time to get to work on that . . . .

There are worse habits to binge on, don't you agree?