Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Still Writing

A couple of months ago, I submitted a story to an anthology. I was shocked to see, according to my Duotrope submission tracker, that it had been almost a year since I had submitted anything. Then I remembered receiving a rather harsher rejection on my last submission than I had received before. What was worse was that I sort of agreed with the points it made, and I felt embarrassed for submitting that story. However, I remember thinking, that I would just do better next time.

Looking back now, I see that I was not as thick-skinned as I thought I was. I let that stop me. I felt none of my stories were ready, or good enough. I have several short stories in finished first draft form that I have never bothered to go back and polish up for submission. It is well past time to get over that and submit again.

On a more uplifting note, I got a note that the story I sent in has been short-listed for the anthology. Not an acceptance, but enough to help me feel braver with continuing to send my work out.

For a long time now I've heard, or read about Holly Lisle's writing classes, and found myself at last looking around her site. The How To Write Flash Fiction The Doesn't Suck class is free, and even though I feel fairly comfortable with flash fiction, I decided it was a good way to see if I liked her classes before spending money.

I am not finished with all the lessons yet, but so far the class is just plain FUN! I'm writing stories that I know I would not have come up with in my usual method of sitting around thinking up ideas. Some are very silly, some maybe a little too heavy for the length I'm trying to work with. One turned out to have no Sci-Fi or fantasy elements in it at all. I have no idea if they will turn out any good, but writing is a lot more fun than is had been for me lately. I think I will definitely be looking at some of her other classes to help me through some problems I'm having getting my novel moving.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

NaNo Loser 2013

As I expected, I did not win NaNoWriMo this year.

I did, however learn a lot about my novel. I spent more time planning the setting and world-building with this book than any other story I have written before, but as it turns out, I didn't do enough. I often write stories that take place on other planets, and the setting is important, but I could still get away with making a lot of it up as I went along. In this story though the setting IS the story in many ways. It is the mystery. It is the central conflict. It matters a lot, and I didn't realize the number of details that I really needed to think and make decisions about early on that will affect the rest of the story.

So I am headed back to short story writing for a little while as I work on the world for my novel. It is an exciting and intimidating project all at the same time.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013

So, I signed up to participate in NaNoWriMo again this year. I honestly don't know why. Habit maybe?

I am working on an extensive outline for a novel right now, so by November I should be ready to do the actual writing so maybe it will go better than I think it will. Right now 1,667 words a day sounds completely impossible. I'm lucky to get the basics in life taken care of most days lately.

Still, stranger things have happened. So here I go!

Who else is participating?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

"Immersion" is now out on the Cast of Wonders podcast

Ep 87: Little Wonders I Little Wonders I featuring Kara Hartz and Eric Juneau

I just listened to episode 87 of Cast of Wonders. It was very exciting to hear my story narrated for audio. The whole episode was great. The story after "Immersion", called "Influx Capacitor" by Eric Juneau is hysterical.

Go listen!

Monday, July 15, 2013

"Immersion" to air at Cast of Wonders on Friday July 19th

My super short story "Immersion" is scheduled to be on the Friday episode of the Cast of Wonders podcast. They are a YA fiction podcast. I've been listening to it for a couple months, and I encourage you to also head over to hear some of the others stories. They play great stuff!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Short Story Experiment - Results

In January, I announced that I was going to try to write a short story a week for the first three months of this year. Probably unsurprisingly, I had some mixed results.

I did not accomplish a story every week. I think I ended up with 5 finished first drafts and at least one or two other stories that puttered out into bleck. What surprised me was that most of my stories ran much longer than I had expected them to. So some of them, I was just working on for more than one week.

My other problem, is that I kept getting ideas for the new novel I wanted to start. I got more and more excited about working on it that I ended up going back to it in the middle of March, so I didn't go quite the whole twelve week working on just short stories.

Now, however, I've gotten to a point where I need to do some significant research before I can move on in the novel. So I think I may try to return to short stories so I don't stop writing while I do the research.

Problem is, I also need to squeek out some time to edit the short stories so I can decided which of them might be worth sending out. So much to do!

Some good news - an older and very very short story of mine has been accepted for the Cast of Wonders podcast. I don't have a date yet, but I will post it as soon as I know. But don't wait for that - I have loved every story I've listened to over there so far. Check it out.

So that's where I'm at with the writing! Ta-da!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Skipping the Resolutions

I'm not doing the resolution deal this year. Like 99% of the rest of the world, they just don't ever end up doing much for me. I think change has to come from a deeper place than a calender. Or I'm lazy. Or both.

I did recently make a decision to change my writing direction a little, but I decided and started that just after Christmas. I've read in a few places over the years about a writing challenge of writing a short story a week for a year. That sounds fun to me, but I don't like the 'for a year' part. So I'm going to take this a quarter at a time.

So for three months, I'm going to write short stories, one after another, aiming for one a week, but if one goes longer, I won't stop it. I'm already on my second story (as I should be) and I can tell this one may take me more than a week to finish.

Some things that I'm hoping for with this experiment:

I will be finishing a lot of stories. Finishing is my worst writing area. I need practice.

I can play around in some other genres like I've wanted to.

I'll have things to submit, since I will have to finish.

I'd like to try submitting again to Writers of the Future every quarter until I win or am disqualified for my pro sales.

I'd like to have some fiction to post here, and if I finish enough stories, I'll have plenty to post. 

This is good timing I think. My novella is ready for revisions, and my next one is started, but I need to do research before it can really go any further. So short stories will keep me writing, but hopefully also leave me time to read and revise some too. After three months, if I like how it's going, I'll commit to another three months. If I'm ready to go on the novel, I may switch to that then. We'll see.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

To Fix or To File?

Earlier this year I actually finished the story I wrote about in the previous post. It's the story that got stuck in my brain after not writing for 25 years, and brought me back. Finishing is my biggest writing block, so this was huge for me. I think I'd tried, and started over with this story at least 4 or 5 times. Changing point of view, changing what characters are it it all together, changing tense, changing from a short story to a novel. Finally I just wanted the thing done. And now it is.

Or is it?

While it is done in the sense that I wrote it all the way through to the end, it is an unreadable mess right now. I decided to set it aside for a month before starting on draft #2, and fixing the problems I know about. Not really such a daunting thing. Big changes are needed, for plot points that changed a long the way, and need to be brought in line in the beginning, and things like that. I kept what I think are good notes along the way. So I think it's doable. But is it worth doing?

I'm happy I finished. I'm proud even. My dilemma is that I just don't know if I feel that even with all the repairs done, and polished up as best I can, that it'll be an interesting story. Honestly, if it isn't, it doesn't upset me like I thought it would. It was still a great experience, and I learned a lot. I think I'm a better writing now than when I began even the latest version. Looking at it as a very long, wandering writing lesson would be fine by me.

So I guess I wonder my writing time would be better spent writing something new than fixing up something that will then live quietly on my hard-drive. There are doubtlessly lessons to be learned in the revision process as well. There is learning to be found everywhere, after all.

I had decided to let the story sit for a month before starting on the revisions. It has now been 2 months, and I still haven't peeked back at it again. I'm leaning toward pulling it out in the new year, and seeing if the distance of time as really changed my view of things, like so many folks tell me it will. I suspect, I will try to fix it up, if only so I can feel more finished with it.

I'm curious about you other writers out there and how you handle your revisions. I've read blogs that advise sticking to Heinlein's rules, including "Never rewrite." Then there is the camp that believes "Writing is rewriting.". Where do you land on the revision/rewriting spectrum?