Posts Tagged ‘short stories’

tuesday’s gone

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

well, not yet anyway.

51EQhdaOW-L._SL75_Here’s what went down at the local library I 1) picked up Paper Towns, then 2) looked and searched for and inquired after These Is My Words but 3) it was nowhere to be found. To assuage my melancholy regardingthis fact, I 4) picked up An Abundance of Katherines, (by John Green, author of Paper Towns). If you’ve read Paper Towns, you know what the numbered sentence is about. If you haven’t, what are you doing here?! Go get it (only I think I got the last one at the Southwest Regional branch of the Fort Worth Public Library–so don’t go there).

Another reason to get the book is that it was awarded the 2009 Edgar Award for best Young Adult novel. And it’s pretty good to boot.

outsidersIt was interesting reading from the 18-year-old boy point of view. Besides The Outsiders (written by a teen girl, S.E. Hinton) you don’t really get the male perspective in a lot of YA fiction. The nether region jokes were not so awesome for a 34 year old mom, but were in fact much more tame than what I remember boys talking about when I was a teen.

41CHjByyWmL._SL500_AA240_

Youngsters who enjoy this book might even want to voluntarily pick up Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman which is a public service that John Green has provided.

On to writing:

So, I wrote a pterodactyl sized (but feathered) bird into my short story yesterday. And I’m currently wondering where I may have gotten off track. Before you say, “oh, that’s not so bad” let it be known that the bird dropped off a little man wielding a sword before picking up my protag and flying off with her. Oh the humanity!

I’m thinking that this might be my story’s way of avenging itself after being left untouched for over a month.

pterodactylusNT

*In searching for a pterodactyl image I found out that pterodactyl is not the proper name for the flying lizard…in fact, pterodactylus is the correct name and they are much smaller than their brother, pteranodon who would actually be the creature I was talking about in my story.

monday monday

Monday, January 25th, 2010

clockface001

Now that I’ve got you humming…

My writing hiatus is officially over. Back on the blog, back on the Word doc. So do me a favor, comment!!! I love the feedback and it encourages me to write more of the stuff you’ve come to know and love, or at least tolerate.

I’ll also be heading back to the library to catch up on my reading. If you want to follow along, this is what I’ll be checking out:

Paper Towns by John Green

These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

and if I can find it - Bloodroot by Amy Greene I’ve seen it prominently reviewed in two magazines in the last week. Which means I might have to purchase it.

I’ll also be checking out whatever catches my eye. I’ll let you know what that is when I find it.

Have a super plus plus happy Monday everyone!

picking up where i left off

Friday, December 4th, 2009
the inspiration for one setting in Sea Rose (Bishop's Palace, Galveston Island, TX)

the inspiration for one setting in Sea Rose (Bishop's Palace, Galveston Island, TX)

Picking up the figurative pen again is proving an enlightening experience. I forgot during the 1.5 months I took off from writing new material (so editing is not included)–the freeing and fabulous feeling associated with creation. Luckily I didn’t come into it with nothing to start with. I’d saved the beginning of a short story sometime in September and promptly forgot all about it. I opened the file a few days ago and fell in love with the story again.

Starting again was weird at first. The things I was writing were stilted and awkward…but with just a small amount of perseverance I’m moving smoothly again…like riding a bike! Even if I’m never published, the joy of writing from my imagination is such a wonderful thing–it almost makes editing worth it.

emerson said it best

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

CLOUDSDear to us are those who love us… but dearer are those who reject us as unworthy, for they add another life; they build a heaven before us whereof we had not dreamed, and thereby supply to us new powers out of the recesses of the spirit, and urge us to new and unattempted performances.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m not sure I find the people who send me rejection letters “dear” but I do think they make me want to try harder and be better.  Here’s an excerpt from my latest rejection regarding my short story:

Thank you for submitting “In Desert Found” to (name removed). It was well received here, but after some thought we have decided not to accept it for publication.

There is a lot of potential for emotional response from the reader in this story idea.

The beginning starts too slowly and lacks conflict to hold attention. Consequently I did not sympathize with Kaylee. Internal monologue would help understand her feelings.

I hope you’ll consider us again, and I wish you the best success in placing this story elsewhere.


I love it!  My very first non-form rejection!  Notice the change in font indicating the move from form to non-form, isn’t it bee-utiful?  Okay, okay it really sucks that they didn’t like the story and yes I am a little embarrassed to share my lack of skills–but it just felt like the thing to do.  And now that I’m done lamenting the rejection I’ve been urged to a new and unattempted performance…aka more editing!

fifteen for friday 8/7/09

Friday, August 7th, 2009

someonelikeyou-thumb1.  Finally found a crit partner (actually three).  Already found about five ways to improve my manuscript.

2.  Oh!  Good news!  I finally finished my short story!  To celebrate I lopped off about 1,500 words while editing.

3.  Anyone know any good places to send a short story that runs about 8,200 words?

4.  Read another Sarah Dessen, Someone Like You.  Surprise!  I liked it.

booneslick5.  Currently reading Boone’s Lick by Larry McMurtry.  It’s a nice change of pace from YA fiction.  I wonder if Mr. McMurtry hangs out at his bookstore every day (does that sound stalkery)?

6.  I think I’m getting used to Splenda Diet Coke.

7.  Just won AMIGOLAND by Oscar Casares from Little, Brown for twittering about it!  I love #freebiefriday!amigoland

8.  Lately I’ve been spending about 90% of my “free” time networking socially and only 10% writing (or reading).  Maybe it’s time for a priority check.

9.  Still getting a huge kick out of visiting Jackson’s site.  Check out her haiku…

10.  I don’t really get the bubbl thing…but if it can help someone else (planners in particular) I’m happy to pass the link along.

11.  17 days until school starts.  I’m looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time.  It will be nice to have quiet days to work…but then there’s homework and lunches and uniforms and supplies, oh and money for this, that and the other thing.

12. Crit Partner Match is a site that helps hook you up with a crit partner.  Not super user-friendly, but it does give you a small pool of people to choose from.

13.  Excited to check out Dollhouse.

14.  If your maiden name was Weadon would you write under that name hoping to receive some kind of noteriety from Joss Whedon’s success?  Would it be wrong, right or neither?

15. How Fail Went From Verb to Interjection http://bit.ly/HJ8VK

11 things not to do when starting a writing career

Thursday, August 6th, 2009
  1. For fiction, a good idea is gold.  So make sure you start querying any and every literary agent you can get your cursor over, even the ones that only work with non-fiction books…heck, go for it and query other types of agents too…you never know.  Whatever you do, don’t actually have anything written yet; you’ll just have to rewrite it all later anyway.
  2. Proper punctuation and spelling are for English teachers.  Those squiggly lines under your words on the computer?  They’re for decoration.
  3. Can’t type?  No prob.  Pencil written manuscripts are perfectly fine to send in.  That coffee stain?  Don’t worry about it.  You are an artiste; you have grander things to think about than neatness.
  4. Do not follow the query writing / submission guidelines.  Your way is MUCH better.
  5. Rejection letters are a personal assault on your sensibilities.  Any agent who turns you down is a drooling dope and everyone deserves to know it.  Call, email, blog, and twitter about the injustice that has been done to you and the unsavory traits of the person who offended you.
  6. As soon as you send a query, and especially if you’ve been asked to send a manuscript, call the agent DAILY to check up on the status.  When they start to get a little firm with you that just means you’ve got their attention!  When they threaten to call the police, only then is it time to stop calling.
  7. If you have the good fortune to attend a writer’s conference, zoom in on your dream agent and never leave her side.  Share personal stories, the more intimate the better.  Make her think you’ve been best friends for ages.
  8. Make sure you start a blog that thrashes the publishing industry completely.  Tweet your links to the nation and sit back while you single-handedly revolutionize every negative thing about it.  It may hurt now, but they will thank you later.  There might even be a statue in your future.
  9. On your shiny blog, don’t forget to list out the crappy authors who somehow, by some crazy twist of fate, became published before you.  Make sure to tell the reasons why their writing sucks too.  Everyone can use some constructive criticism.

10.  When you finally have an agent (this should take 1-2 months-tops) DO NOT BUDGE on anything.  Take all you can get, but give as little back as you can.  Rewrites, schmewrites.  Oh, and don’t forget, these are big city folk, they only respond to rudeness.

11.  Do not ever try to help any other writer on their road to publication.  They are the competition, never forget that.  If you have the opportunity to sabotage them -do it.

swoosh cats

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

butterfly

Keep reading–it’s not all about cats.

I am writing under extreme duress; surrounded by cats who want to eat my lunch.  Their bowl sits untouched, with some of the yummiest cat food on the market (I’m guessing–I really don’t know for a fact), but me and my food pose a much more attractive prospect…a challenge.  Cally is all up in my grill(e?), as close as he dares, and my, he sure does dare closely.  P.J. inches ever closer on my other side thinking that since she’s the favorite I will just give up my lunch to her fluffy softness.  She is wrong.  If I could find my spray bottle they both would get it in the side.  There is no favoritism when it comes to my food.  They really should know this by now…  I’m thinking there must be a little button in their cute little “brains” that gets pushed whenever they smell something appetizing that prevents them from ever learning their lesson.

Whew!  K, food and cats gone.  This is much better.

Cats, unlike myself, don’t ever worry about their master plan.  After decades of observation, I know this is true.  They just do it.  Huh, maybe they would make a good subject for a Nike commercial?  I can just see it now, four leather covered paws, four teeny tiny swooshes jumping, darting, trotting.  Cute! K, K, back to the subject.  Sure, there isn’t much intentional planning happening with a cat.  But I bet they know they are going to eat and they aren’t going to let all that much come between them and a full tummy (spray bottle excluded).  They aren’t too worried about the details or if they are making the right decision or if they should take another path completely.

What I’m beating around is the fact that I have lots o’ projects on the stove but the burners are only on Low.  Or, the non-metaphor way to put it is that I’ve got so much I want to do that I’m doing almost none of it.  I’m in the paralyzed state that happens when I get overwhelmed.  It’s been a full week since I’ve written a word on my short story (which was supposed to be quick and painless, ha!).  I’ve written a small portion of an outline for the idea that I had in the shower.  And I’ve blogged.  So this is what it feels like to multi-task…I don’t like it.  So I’m writing about this because in talking to others this seems to be an issue as well.  And I’m thinking that if I write it out I can come up with a coherent resolution since that’s worked for me in the past.

The verdict – be like a Nike cat and just do it!  No more straying (ha ha get it?).  I think I can handle a blog post every one to two days while I finish that danged short story (which I love, don’t get me wrong).  After which I will work on the outline some more.  There.  Easy peasy.

fifteen for friday 7/17/09

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Okay, it’s late.  Here goes anyway:

boot which represents Fort Worth

1.  @benwhiting twitters all kinds of useful writerly information.  all day.  Oh! and he’s a fellow Fort Worthian.

2.  Hubby is officially on vacation!!! YAY!

3.  3 weeks down, 5 to go…

4.  Got stuck on this mom’s blog today.  She is hilarious!

Mr. Threepwood

Mr. Threepwood

5.  Guybrush Threepwood is the best character name ever.

6.  I’ve written approximately two sentences on my current project this week.  That is not a good thing.  ugh.

7.  Found another cool site just today.  Rachelle Gardner is a lit. agent.  Her site was listed on the Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers.  I’ve not even scratched the surface yet.

books28.  Urgh, cannot find my copy of To Kill a Mockingbird!  I have looked everywhere…it’s driving me batty.

9.  I have had approximately eight cats in my lifetime.  Only one has ever come when she is/was called.  She is the best kitty ever and her name is P.J.

10.  Watched J.K. Rowling: A Year in the Life last night and was riveted.

11.  I haven’t seen The Half Blood Prince yet, maybe tomorrow.

12.  A week without a new House of Grey episode is a sad week indeed.

13.  Grad student Blair Hurley has a super info blog.  She posts a really interesting pic weekly to get the creative juices flowing.

wizondeck14.  I’m as excited about Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana as my kids are.  wow. that’s sad.

15.  I don’t know why I’m surprised when I look under my daughter’s bed and see that it is stuffed to the wall with toys, books, clothes, etc. I did the same thing as a kid, but it’s shocking to me that my perfect little angel would do something so devious as shove everything under her bed in order to get her room “clean” faster.

why i write

Thursday, July 16th, 2009
liljen

do not trust this little girl

I’ve been doing a heckuva lot of reading lately, and I don’t mean the fun kind.  I mean the informational kind.  The kind of which I’ve never been a huge fan.  It’s the only kind of reading that can actually make me sleepy.  I love make believe (or at most history that’s as good as make believe).  Anyway, all of this reading has me wondering how I ended up the way I did, with this fierce love of all things not real.  I’m a drama queen actress by nature and a storyteller by nurture…  All this thinking led me back, as most things do, to my childhood.

I was reminded at a family dinner recently of one of my weirder escapades (and there were many weird ones).  I don’t remember how old I was, but I was most likely the same age as in the pic to the left when a new girl moved onto our street.  She was about my age, so this was cause for serious excitement.  I immediately went out on my bike (that had a string for the door so it was easier to pretend I was actually sitting in a car) to meet her.  And I had a plan.  I was going to introduce myself as Jessica and talk about my twin sister, Jennifer.  She was pretty well on board with it until I went to go get my twin and she came out without me…in different clothes of course.  Unfortunately the girl wasn’t as big a fool as I’d hoped (even though I’d roped a sibling or two into the ruse) and my act didn’t last long.  Next came the uncomfortable scene when I had to explain why I did such a weird thing.  It was not the kind of opening that leads to a great and lasting friendship.

So I’ve never been content with life as it is…too much reading has ruined it for me I think.  But that’s okay, ’cause even if I can only live out my big dreams in my head they can eventually end up on paper and that would make them real to me.  And if someone else gets a kick out of my stories too, then that’s just icing on the cake.

there’s never enough

Monday, July 13th, 2009

clockwin

During the school year I liked to write during the day.  This is understandable considering the fact that I was the only person at home.  If I didn’t feel like stopping to make lunch, I didn’t have to.  There were hours and hours, six and a half of them, in fact, that I had free and clear to do with what I pleased…for the most part.  Now it’s the beginning 0f the sixth week of summer vacation and those free hours are long gone.  I don’t even try to write during the day anymore.  I haven’t yet mastered the art of working on a project in five minute stints.  Cause that’s about the amount of time I would get before it’s snack time or lunch time or break-up-the-same-fight-that’s-been-had-every-day-for-the-last-month time.

So my production has slowed quite a bit since my natural inclination after the kids have stopped popping up for water and lullabys–is to fall stoopid on the couch and veg out to one mindless show or another (my current faves are King of the Hill and Malcolm in the Middle).  That’s why it’s taken me a coupla weeks to write a short story…which has now stretched past my first limit of 5,000 words.  Lately I’ve been wondering if it might turn into one of those cute little novella things.

I was having trouble finding an ending for a little while.  I finally got it, typed it up in short hand at he end of what I’ve already written and now I’m just waiting to finish it properly.  Normally I wouldn’t even worry about finding the ending before it just came to me.  It was the whole word limit thing that forced that one.

That’s another thing I’ve been thinking about lately.  If anyone ever asks me for an outline I’d be in trouble.  My stories aren’t planned, they just happen…kinda like the rest of my life.  I seriously don’t know what I’m going to write about until I sit down with pencil and spiral, or keyboard and monitor and start writing.  I’ve tried thinking a story out first and nothing happens.  You’d think this method would cause a lot of re-writes, but it hasn’t yet so I’m thinking about sticking with it, especially since I don’t have any other choice.  If anyone out there has that same quirk drop me a line, it would be nice to know that I’m not alone.  Or, just let me know what your odd writing quirk is…