Tag Archive: Short Stories


On The Wall Instead Of Up It

Wow, I log on to write this post and find I’ve surpassed 3000 hits.  When did that happen?  And how? Um, thank you for tuning in?

And now we’ll go back to my original purpose for typing on this keyboard (as opposed to my netbook). I thought I might provide a bit of an update as to how I’m doing. The short version is that things are better, but we all know I’m not going to stick with the short version. I’m a writer and therefor fairly addicted to using words.  A lot of words. A maelstrom of words across the screen! *evil laugh*

Uh, sorry, apparently I had to get that out of my system. But many words have been used, and I have another lesson going up on the wall.  It’s kind of an extension of the things I talked about in the last post, but I think the last couple of days have clarified things further for me.

Looking back at my last post, I realize that I know myself too well, enough that I was entirely right. The last two days have been 4k days. I wasn’t trying to get there, really. In fact, after hitting 2.5, I told myself I could quit any time I wanted to. But then I didn’t want to. I just kept telling the story. And that’s the thing, it was about the story, entirely about that and word count just got left behind as unimportant. Then I quit for the night, entered the total on my tracking spreadsheet and stared in amazement as numbers a little in excess of 4k came out both days. Seriously, I was kind of impressed with myself, a highly unusual state of affairs, trust me.

So the lesson going on the wall? Direct quote from what’s on the paper being taped up: Lose yourself in telling the story and words (word count and all) will flow along with that story. It means a lot of things, including using how the story flows as a tool for me to diagnose when something is wrong with the story, or worse, when I’m driving myself too hard.  It also helps me to know when I’m putting together a good story, because I think those are the ones that a writer tends to lose themselves in. I may be wrong on that part, as it’s purely my experience, and I welcome comments on it, either agreement or otherwise.

All that writing landed me at another milestone for the draft last night, 70k was reached and breached. I’m still not willing to pin down how far I have to go, but I think it’s in the 15k range. Nobody quote me on that later though, please. There are parts I think I will have to work with to smooth out and others that I’ve skimmed through and been surprisingly pleased with. But that’s all a worry for another time, not until at least a week or two after I finish this draft, depending on what I might have to keep myself occupied when I’m done this.  One day, if I ever have a lot of money, I’m going to go out and try to buy some patience.  Nothing else has worked, maybe that will, if I can find the right shop.

I have done one big scary thing, this past weekend, and I hadn’t mentioned it because, well, I’m a little nervous.  My recently written short story, Cost of Duty, is entered now in the Writer’s of the Future contest. It’s done on a quarterly basis, science fiction and fantasy only if memory serves, and there’s real money in it (if you win at least), plus there’s a bigger prize if you win the year. They produce an anthology every year as well. It’s been going on for 29 years and it’s kind of a big deal, thus the nerves.  It only took me about 15 minutes to get through the whole electronic submission process, and apparently my nerves don’t respond to big scary things that fast, because I didn’t get nervous until after I hit send.  This morning I got my confirmation that it’s officially entered.  Eeep.  Wish me luck. Apparently I get to wait until June to find out about winners.  I need to find that store and buy patience right away. :p

And finally, today’s picture, before I go off and make dinner, then (shockingly) write. I have a few like this one, and I tried to pick the best of them. I love the layering in this shot.

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Done and Begun

So, those are the words for the day.  Those who are following along with the home version of this game (wait, do we have one of those?), please mark down the following:

Outline for Possession: Done

Editing of Cost of Duty (Short Story): Done

Editing Dark Mirror v2.1: Begun

So, that’s the basics, now for the details.  As I said, I finished the outline of Possession this morning, having done the climax last night.  Oh my god, I really can’t wait to start writing this one.  But I am going to make myself wait.  I know, I’m not patient, but I need to try to learn some, I swear.  I can’t live my whole life on fast forward because of it.  This outline is longer, for sure, than the one for DM, both in number of entries and how detailed some of them are.  And a lot happens, which is also good.  But for now, the outline goes in the mythic Drawer for a few days or so, at which point I will go back through it, make sure I’m still happy with it, and then open a fresh word document.  Fair warning, I’ll probably do another write-a-thon for this, if only because doing so seems to work so well for me.

Cost of Duty spent a few days in The Drawer and came out for reading this morning, after I finished the outline for Possession.  It aged well, I still love it.  I made a couple of very very minor word tweaks.  I’m now trying to decide whether to put it up for crit on the writer’s forum I spend a lot of time lurking and a little time posting on or start submitting.  It’s being mulled.  I have decided against trying to e-pub it, because I just don’t think there’s much market for a single short story (and I really don’t write them often).  I’m also too lazy to do a cover.  🙂  Hey, at least I’m honest.

Moving down the list to editing DM.  This is a little funny.  I had read somewhere recently that you should use the tab key in your manuscript.  This being news to me, it was all through the 333 pages of DM.  Grr.  So, after reading through and editing the first chapter, I set about deleting them all from the manuscript so I don’t have to worry about it.  Stupid lack of find and delete all function in my word processor.  So, there I am scrolling through and deleting them manually.  That was going along swimmingly until about a quarter of the way through, when I suddenly realized I was reading my book instead of deleting tabs.  For the last 4 pages. Whoops.  This happened several times in the process of getting them all out there, so the process took almost 5 hours.  Way too long.  I have learned, though, that being engrossed in the book I wrote, where I know everything that happens, is probably a good sign for the book’s quality, relative to my being still definitely a rookie at this.  I’m trying to see it that way, at least, instead of seeing 5 hours spent on a task that likely should have taken only half that time.  Fortunately, with that completed, I can move on to the real task of doing the actual edit.  I’m hoping that it won’t take as long as the last one, that maybe I can get this done in a week.  That would be a good time frame actually, because I’ll be ready to start working on Possession at that point (seriously obsessing about that now).

It’s like they’re all working out in a mystic order that I didn’t prepare.  Perhaps the writing gods are smiling on me… Right, that’s right before they drop a safe on my head in the form of something major changing, isn’t it?  Of course, both of the above points suggest that I need to start percolating on the overall plot in book 3, but to be honest, that’s doing itself already, I’m just writing it down as it comes and keeping, well, my version of semi-focused, which means doing a dozen things at once.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention something.  I’ve added two pages to this blog that weren’t there before, though they are subject to unannounced revision whenever I bloody feel the need.  One is my About Me page, which I finally got around to doing.   I really hate doing those, but I can only hold out so long on that kind of thing before the peer pressure gets the best of me.  The other is my Project Status page.  I have a lot of stories on the go, and I mention them only when I have something to say about them, as far as blog entries go, so I thought you might want a quick reference, in case you miss something, or are curious.  This is not an exhaustive list, but they are the ones that are sort of front of mind for me in some form or other.  It’s also there for me to keep track of all the crap I’m in the middle of.  Yes, I really do think I might need this kind of help.  Among other kinds of help.

And, last but not least on today’s hit list, the picture of the post (I can’t say day, because I don’t usually post every day).  I love this one.  It’s one of the framed prints up on my wall.

The Ice Giveth Way!

Okay, so I know that I’ve said that I was making progress on the outline for Possession, and I was, but it wasn’t much, and it often wasn’t that pretty, requiring some pouring over and work even after the entries were in the outline.  That all changed tonight.  I finally got them on the road to the climax, and have at least a base play-by-play in my head for the rest of the book, including the things I need to wrap up in this book, and what I need to leave loose still for the grand finale, The Nine.  Yay!  I think I’m about 3/4 of the way done the outline now, which is awesome.  I’m just about willing to bet money that this one will be longer than Dark Mirror, definitely more intricate, and a bit more event driven (though still with much character development, and well, what one might call character abuse.  I’d apologize to them, but I’m not really sorry, and I refuse to get stuck with their therapy bills).  These are good things though, in my opinion, so I’m going with them.  I’m now starting to really get revved up to get on with writing it, but there are still steps to go through, things I’ve learned I need to do so I don’t have to throw out the whole first draft (hopefully) this time.  Once the outline is done, I need to let it sit and reread it.  This should go fairly well, partly because of all the rereading of it I’ve already done in my struggles with the parts I was just going through, but not to be skipped in any case.

Also, I don’t want to lose the thread of DM in my rush of excitement with the new book.  I know two people who will kill me if I don’t get it to them at some point in the near future, and no one wants that, especially me. My plan is to do my next pass of editing (which I’m already thinking about and planning out) while the outline for Possession sits in the mythic aging drawer, and then see where we are, but I think that will be the final pass before printing and mailing to above mentioned test readers.  Then to keep busy and not pester.  I think I can manage that, though some days it will likely be difficult.

And then there’s the short story, currently going under the title Cost of Duty.  The whole not patient thing reared its head (please, don’t laugh in total lack of surprise, just cause it’s true).  I read the story on Tuesday, then sent it to my test readers.  My, did I ever hear back quickly.  And in the good sense too.  No, no comments that it was perfect because, well, nothing ever is, but also nothing major wrong.  It was minor stuff, which I’ve already acted on.  It’s now in the drawer for a few days or so (depending on my patience and how busy I am this weekend with a training session on Monday to prep for, and the above writing tasks sitting on the front of my brain).  I may not get to rereading that until sometime next week, which is fine.  More time means more distance, and I can then view it with a clearer eye.  But I feel very good about this.  The question, then, is what to do with this one.  I’m of several minds (no, this does not resemble multiple-personality disorder, as much as it sounds like it should), but I will probably submit it to a couple of short fiction pro markets (defined as paying at least 5¢/word, some pay more), partly because I don’t want to do a cover for 3500 words, really don’t.  And I don’t know how I would price it as a self-pub e-story.  That might be because I can’t imagine buying a short story as a one-off, though.  I think research will be in order on that one.

Beyond that, I will need to keep The Nine on my brain as I move into the first draft stage of Possession, because I will probably start outlining that one as soon as I finish Possession.  I don’t think I plan on stopping at all, ever.  Too many ideas, really, not enough time to write.  Besides, I like being busy like this.  It keeps me happier.

Ah, yes, and picture time.  Really enjoying this, and I’m glad that others are too.  It feels good as a photographer to share some of my work, and only partly because the response has, thus far, been favourable.  Pictures should be shared, it’s just part of their nature, in my less-than-humble opinion.

So I had a good night tonight, very productive, which means I feel better than yesterday, where I would have gladly died.  Headaches should not be allowed to travel in either packs or series’.  I started yesterday with a migraine and when I got that under control, I found out that a massive pressure headache was waiting for me behind that.  So unfair.  So I spent yesterday alternately passed out and trying to die, in spite of comments made around WordPress.  I was trying to distract myself from how wretched I felt.  I must say, terrible way to spend a Sunday, feeling that god-awful.

But in better news, as I said, better night tonight.  I didn’t work on the outline at all (yet, the night is still relatively young here on the west coast), but I wrote a short story.  I cried while I was writing it, which is entirely abnormal for me.  I’m normally much more dispassionate when I’m writing, but I couldn’t help it.  Let me say that again, I made myself cry, with my own writing, even though I knew exactly how things would turn out.  Is it sick that I feel good about that?  It’s certainly a major step for me.  The short is 3400 words approximately, and involves a couple of the supporting cast from the Mirrors Trilogy.  You’ll all meet Keari one day, when DM is out, but I wish I could give him his own book, especially after writing that short story tonight.

The funny part is that the idea for writing the short really only came this morning, as I arrived at work.  I jotted down a couple of notes, not nearly as much as I wanted to because I had to dive into work, and was promptly too busy to think about it all day.  I looked at my paltry notes when I sat down at home, nearly cried thinking it wouldn’t work, said what the hell, hauled out the netbook and opened my manuscript formatted template.  I didn’t stop.  I wrote the whole thing.  It was all there.  It was amazing, almost like when I wrote my first short story, when it felt like it had been waiting for me, but better, mostly because I think this is already better written on first draft than my first short was (I know more about writing now, and I’m more practiced).  It’s going in a drawer for a few more days before I read it again to see how it is, what it needs.  I’m of two minds about sending it to my test readers before they get DM, because it will spoil a bit of a reveal in that book, but again, not patient, and I love how this one feels. We’ll see how it holds up in a couple of days, and by then I should have reread DM itself.

On that subject, I’ve been thinking about DM (damn multi-tasking brain that can’t seem to leave well enough alone) and I think I know something that it will need work on before I send it to test readers.  It needs more description, but not on just everything.  I’ve been thinking about perception, how to use it as an author and where I need to accent the importance of certain things.  I think that is something I need to do more of, using the characters’ perceptions to show the important things, the details that either make the character who they are, or the things that make them stand out from run-of the-mill nobodies who, lets face it, are practically scenery in the real world.  I find that’s the way I tend to view the world, seeing the different, the important, though I do it with almost everyone I see, picking out something distinctive about them as I find and perceive them.  It’s an interesting tool to play with, as I’m thinking about it, and it’s making me ask myself some good questions.  That said, I don’t think it’ll take me that much work to do this, as I know I’ve done some of it naturally through the process of writing and editing the book already.  Mostly, I’m thinking about places where I need a little more, or some oomph to it.  That will likely be the task for next weekend, and part of me fears to think how much it will add to the book’s length, not that there isn’t room to add.  Besides, if the book needs it, then it needs it.

I’m feeling very happy and mellow right now.  I swear, the more time goes on, the more I think that writing is my version of Prozac.  Worse things could be said of me though, I’m fairly sure, probably have been in fact.

And, to top it all off, picture time.  This one came from the Musical Gardens in downtown Toronto, which I have visited a few times.  I’m already thinking about some summer trips I might take around downtown Vancouver, places I want to shoot, even if it will take some time away from writing.

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