Learning to Love: The Short Story

I was never a huge fan of short stories. Maybe because I always wanted more. Or, more likely, it is because it is pretty much all you read in school. Not that I didn’t love what we read in school but I always preferred the books (some of which I still have on my book shelves).

A lot of times as a writer the short story is not the desired end goal for your career. It’s supposed to be the “Great American Novel” not “Great American Short Story”, right? Because of this I never really thought about writing anything more then a novel or screen play. And they had to be super long and complex… and drawn out with impossible deadlines. blah blah blah

Then I started to really think about it. I have, as I have gotten older, started to really enjoy short stories. Since finishing my first short I have found I am enjoying writing them as well. I found that I had plenty of space in which to bring a fleshed out story and, most importantly, finish it. Am I giving up writing my novel? No, but for right now with my limited time I can work on some short stories which can help me continue working on my writing without having to stop because my life is already so incredibly hectic. In all honesty, I am enjoying writing the short story more then I could ever have thought I could. One of the fun things about writing is that you always find new ways of breaking your own barriers.

I may have mentioned in a previous post that I am fleshing out some ideas for a book of short stories that focus on main characters that focus on females in science fiction/fantasy/horror settings. I currently started my second short for this and I am really enjoying it. It is based off of some research I did last semester for a paper. It is going well so far. And it is definitely not as sweet as the last one. :D

Between Two Loves

Most of the posts I make here, lately, have been about my writing. This is currently on hiatus since I am now back at school with a killer schedule. It is also my senior year. I understand that once I graduate it is time to go back out there and get a job but I also have plans to get into a masters program. Unfortunately, I have two passions that are pulling me in different directions and leaves me with a big question:

Do I get a masters in Literature (my current major)? Or do I go for a History Masters (my minor)?

Two subjects I completely love. At times I even wonder if I made the right decision going with a English masters instead of a history one. I am on the edge. I feel behind in knowledge of those who are in the history program. But I wonder if history is a better match for me?

How do you decide? I will let you know when I find out.

Rejection….

I finished my short story and sent it in. I, not surprisingly, received a rejection on the piece within 48 hours. As I said, I am not surprised since I had a feeling it was not going to fit with what they wanted but I sent it in anyway. Have to take that chance. And you have to get your rejections out of the way. Right? It wasn’t the right fit and was sweet – I am guessing not action oriented enough for what they wanted. It was a very simple story that takes place in a sci-fi world but not action oriented in any way whatsoever.

Did I get upset? Yes, yes I did. I knew it was coming but it sucks big time. Rejection is never easy. So, I sat and cried as I talked to my husband about it. He reassured me. Telling me that even if it took a decade for me to become a published author, he would support me. An incredible amount of trust in my ability – especially since he hasn’t read any of my fiction work. Of course, he has said the same thing about my desire to go beyond a Bachelors for a Masters or a PhD. There is nothing like unconditional support. One of the reasons I love him so very much.

Now, what to do? The only thing one can do. Keep going. Look for other places to submit the piece. Rewrite it – fleshing out the story beyond the limitations that I had for it originally. Maybe even self-publish it at some point. Doing this as I continue to work on my other stories.

As the saying goes – Never Give Up… Never Surrender.

For the moment, I am back to working on my novel. It is going okay but at least it is going. A character I had originally put into a temporary or even throw away role is coming to be the more interesting character. Maybe it is because she is so incredibly unlikeable at the beginning of the story. More depth. So much more fascinating. Part of me wants to focus some more on her role and see where it goes. Leaving behind some of the other characters who had dead-ended. Until I decide, I will be leaving things as they are and keep plugging away.

Upcoming Releases from My Fellow Writers!

When you enter the writing world you begin to come into contact with other writers. The following are two authors who are making their impact on the publishing world and I am so incredibly happy for them – and a tad jealous ;)

I am pretty sure I have written at some point about Donna Hoise. She is a successful independent author who writes the wonderful Camelot Series. This coming August 1st she is releasing her first book through a publisher “The Devil’s Intern”!

She has also released the cover the next book in her Children of Camelot Series – Quest of the Artisan which is due out in 2015. If you have not read either of her Camelot books please do! The latest one is The Ring of Morgana which is the first book in the Children of Camelot Series. The original series: Return to Camelot begins with Searching for Arthur.

DI(Overview from BN.com)
“How did you die?”

It’s the most popular question in Hell, and Mitchell Johnson has been answering it ever since he was hit by a bus at age seventeen and inexplicably ended up in the Underworld. Now Mitchell is The Devil’s intern in Hell’s accounting office. Lately, he’s noticed a disturbing trend: the volume of new arrivals is straining Hell’s limited resources. Then Mitchell overhears his boss discussing plans to limit newcomers with a legendary time travel mechanism. With a device like that, Mitchell realizes, he could change history and prevent his own death.

Mitchell’s plot goes awry when his three closest friends—Alfarin, the Viking prince; Elinor, from 17th-century London; and Melissa, from 1960s San Francisco—insert themselves into his plans. It soon becomes clear that the fates of all four are entwined in dangerous and unpredictable ways. With unforgettable characters and a thrilling premise, this original novel is by turns funny, poignant, and thought-provoking.

I just ordered my copy at a local Barnes & Noble! Can’t wait to read it! Early reviews have been very positive.

 

*****************************

Another friend of mine – Staci Hart – has just released the 3rd book in her Good Gods Series. This one is titled: Doe Eyes.

It is currently $0.99 as a release special price. I highly suggest you read the first two books as well before Doe Eyes: Deer in Headlights – Good Gods Volume 1 and Snake in the Grass – Volume 2. There is also a short story: What the Heart Wants.

doe(overview from amazon.com / img from Staci Hart)

Aphrodite knows better than anyone how the heart works. Just don’t ask her to figure out her own.

She’s been away from Olympus for weeks, which wasn’t near long enough for her to move on from everything that happened, to get past the betrayal and loss. She has no idea what she’s walking into when she gets back other than a new competition, this time against Artemis. The goddesses have never been friends, but now they have more in common than ever, though they’d rather face eat ambrosia straight than admit it.

Artemis can’t help but be smug. Her player, Josie, is a private investigator who’s lost more than she’s won. Every waking moment is consumed by her fire to catch the man who killed her partner, and when Jon comes back into town after leaving her without a word, it’s more than she can handle. She’ll never let him in. Not again.

But Jon only did what he thought was right, and he’ll do anything he can, give her everything he has to give to prove that he can be trusted with her heart again.

With Adonis gone and the threat of Ares around every corner, Aphrodite’s past presses on her, leaving her more alone than she’s ever been. She can’t help wondering if she’ll ever escape, and how much pain she’ll endure before the whole ordeal is behind her.

Another one I can’t wait to read – so far the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive.

Short Story – Edit #1 Done

editors_red_pen

Since my last post, I have gone through and finished a first edit run on my short story which also added at least another 1,000 words to it. Once again, I am very happy with the result. This happened after I confronted one of my greatest worries about writing – having other people read it but I was told over and over and over how important it is to have someone else read your work. Another set of eyes to look through it and help point out mistakes or issues that need to be resolved prior to submission.

I had the chance to have it read by a writing group I belong to and while it was difficult I did survive it. It was not easy at first but thankfully some kind words from my fellow writers helped get me through the session and I am so very glad I did. While the discussion moved on, I sat and thought about their suggestions and made sure to write down what they had said. Parts that needed to be clearer to readers so they can understand what was happening in the story and its characters since it seems I did not put everything in my head onto paper. In the end, I do believe that it has turned out even better then the rough draft – isn’t that the point of writing groups and edits though?

Now, I have sent it off to one more set of eyes to read through before the next edit. Making this the furthest, officially, the furthest I have gone with my writing. Only a few more steps until I submit for the first time.

Most importantly these steps need to get done prior to school starting in a few short four weeks. This coming semester will be the beginning of my last year of school (hopefully) and my plate will be incredibly full. I have already come to the conclusion that my novel rough draft will not be done by the date I had originally selected for my own personal deadline. Part of this was deciding to write the short story – the other part is that other parts of life have taken importance over writing. I know, it is insane isn’t it?! But now I am back on schedule and still have a deadline it just had to be pushed back a few months. Now back to writing!

Short Stories….

For the last month or so I have taken a break from my novel. I learned about a magazine looking for short sci-fi stories and decided to take up the challenge. It hasn’t been easy and I am not sure if it will pass the muster as being sci-fi because it doesn’t really deal with space or lasers. I wanted to make it feel like an regular moment in life today it just happens to take place in a future location.

I am enjoying this. I have a hard time with short stories – I want to put so much detail into what I write that to do this I have had to hold myself back from my normal writing style. It is weird writing the words “my normal writing style” – especially since I have a hard time saying I am a writer. I have never published anything beyond a few poems for anthologies in school. I have never won an award. And all those fun things. Hell, I have never finished anything large. Maybe short stories will help with this? I have written and finished several short stories in the recent months. Two for school and this one. I am glad though that I have a bit more freedom with this one. The school ones were limited to 3-5 pages. This time its 3k-5k words (about 13-18 pages).

When I submit this short story (which I hope it does, I really do) and it gets accepted, I will post information on the anthology here. And then, then, I will call myself a writer (even with my horrible spelling and grammar errors) as I promised a friend I would do when I finally finished something outside of school. Weird to think that I may actually get to call myself a writer instead of trying to be. Now, I just need to write more after this is done… and not give up, stay strong… blah blah blah…

Wish me luck!

 

 

OH! And I am still going to finish that danged novel!

“Inspiration”

 

“Inspiration is everywhere. A story can build from a single moment in time. That moment could be a movement of a hand, a photograph, the sound of a child’s laugh, a piece of garbage on the street, a dark movie theater, in the classroom. Those moments are only limited by our imagination.” (me… I think :D )

I love being inspired. It happens to me constantly. I love it when it happens. When I am sitting there doing something and then suddenly a see something that pokes at my imagination. I can go the rest of the day, or weeks, building a story in my head. Many times these moments do not ever get written down – at least not in the past. I am starting to write down these little bits in my head since I have finally come to the point where I just don’t want to lose them. While I am working on editing my book – I am slowly building up stories on the side from these moment. Last time I wrote I had one story beginning and now I have two. As well as a short story I am working on that has a deadline at the end of the month.

I am wondering though if some of these ideas would be better suited in short stories. Something I could mix in with my poetry for a book. These moments remind me a lot of writing poetry. When you are sitting there and the muse begins to whisper in your ear. It is one of the best things about poetry to me. I am not an epic poetry writer – I have nothing on someone like Whitman – but I did spend a good hour the other day creating limericks with my son, who found them incredibly funny.

There are times, I wonder if this is the same for everyone else who writes or creates. I am just now getting to know other writers, since I have spent most of my creative life in a self-induced isolation from the creative world and I find it fascinating to learn how they create. Everyone has something different to bring to the world of stories and they come to it in different ways.

The art of creating a mental world is amazingly beautiful to me.

p.s. for some reasons I have the song “Reproduction” from Grease 2 stuck in my head… but the word reproduction has been replaced with Inspiration.

 

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