Friday, July 18, 2014

The Silver Lining

If you haven't heard of it before, check out The Submission Grinder. I already keep a spreadsheet of my stories and where they've been submitted to (read: rejected from), but the Submission Grinder keeps track of how long the work was on submission, when it was rejected, form rejections versus personalized, etc. It's a neat resource to look at.

Unfortunately, what I've been clocking since I signed up has been rejections. Granted, that's what I've gotten since I started submitting, so I'm used to it, right? Pretty thick skinned by now, I'd say.

As the rejections roll in, it's occurred to me to stop subbing for a little while. I think I'm going to take the cue from Michael Seese and submit stories throughout an upcoming month. He did it last October, a sub a day, so that's 31 pieces of writing. I don't think I have quite that many that are "worth it" at the moment, but I've been piling them up as time goes on.  On Monday, I wrote a story that is not my Camp NaNoWriMo project. It needs editing, of course, but I'll wait a bit before reading it over again. This one can go in the "submission pile". There's a couple of rewrites I have in mind for stories which have been submitted at least once. There's a couple rewrites I have in mind for flash I've done in the past but never put anywhere.

So, we'll see how many I get written and fixed, and see how many venues I can find/think of which will be open at the time. Onward and upward!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Finish this story your past self started

I woke up this morning with a story in my head that was not my Camp NaNoWriMo novel.

No, this story is a short one, and I should be working on it instead of blogging about this random inspiration, so I can write it and get back to the novel. But you know how that goes.

It isn't often I have a short story idea that occurs beginning-middle-end in my mind. I won't say it's already complete and I just have to get it down, but I definitely have more of a framework than I normally would otherwise. My hard drives are rife with stories which have started out well (more or less) and then I stopped. So I have no idea where I was going. I may never know. Occasionally I look at these stories, and I think I do intend to finish them all, somehow, some day. Good intentions and all that.

But it's a writing exercise in itself, isn't it? Finish this story your past self started. That's your only clue.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Assorted Twitter and writing fun

Every once in awhile, people come up with pretty perfect things. They might be kind of simple, really. But perfect.

An example: The Worst Muse Twitter account. Pure fried gold. Go look! Tell your friends! Each tweet is damn funny, and also inspiring, in a good way. Perhaps in the worst way? No. Whatever. Writing is supposed to be fun, have fun. Play first, polish later.

Another (and this one got crashed one night because Neil Gaiman used it): You Are Carrying. You tweet the word "inventory" to is, and get an @ mention back with your, well, inventory. What you're carrying. This one is a Chuck Wendig prompt; we'll see if I can shoehorn that into my rife Camp NaNoWriMo schedule. My wordcount goal is still 50k, but we'll see if I get there or if I have to change it. I've been behind a couple of times in my still Untitled Fantasy Novel. I'm still having fun with the random name generators, though.

The Camp NaNoWriMo workshop I'm doing at the library is going well. I think only of my participants are actually doing a novel; most of them are people who really just want the time and motivation to write, and maybe some accountability. For the meetings, we've been doing a variety of writing prompts I come up with ahead of time. Some are the run of the mill "here are 5 words, write for five minutes" type, and others are based on stuff I spotted in the paper. A fun one this past week was "I've never bought ___________."

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I'm not like other writers. I'm exactly like other writers.

I'm reading MFA vs. NYC right now. It's an interesting read, though not what I thought it would be. Truth be told, I don't know what I thought it would be. Vindication that I had not gone for an MFA? Some kind of cosmic "It's all right you didn't get an English degree, you'll manage publication anyway?" Nobody but me made me get that Psychology degree. Arguably, I would've gotten better grades and been happier without it.

These answers are out of left field, I know. The book is essays on, you guessed it, NYC experiences and MFA experiences. New York City, because arguably that's where the hub of publishing has been for a good long time.

picture from Wikimedia Commons, of the "Metropolitan Tower, the Russian Tea Room, and Carnegie Hall Tower looking south from Central Park"

Friday, July 4, 2014

A history of my character naming in role playing games

I was thinking the other day: I remember almost every character I've ever created for tabletop roleplaying game. I say "almost" to cover my ass.

I have a problem coming up with character name a lot of the time. I have little disparate scraps of paper all over the place I try to write names on that catch my eye. When creating a character for a game, I come up with name last. Frequently, it's also the case with my writing. In the fantasy novel I've started, I'm using a Fantasy Name Generator for the fun of it (there's also a crapload of variety in name generators here). Find and Replace is a boon to writers.

But anyway, I thought it might be fun to list the character names I've had/used for roleplaying games, and what kind of character it was ("class" for Dungeons and Dragons, and White Wolf categorizes differently).

unicorns from NYPL digital collection

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Recent Flash fiction Entries (no winners yet!)

I know I talk about Janet Reid a lot, but what can I say? She's professional and informative, both of which are invaluable in pretty much any industry.

Well, every once in awhile, she'll do pretty regular flash fiction contests on her blog. She gives us 5 or whatever words to use, and a 100 word limit. I posted once before about getting a favorable comment from her on my entry.

I haven't gotten any more honorable mentions just lately, but I figured I might as well share what I'd come up with.

Most recently was the Get Well Soon Writing Contest, with key words "Evil, mono, virus, piper, blush." Here's my entry:

Black hat means never having to say you're sorry. Not that I'm evil. The shrink said I had certain sociopathic tendencies. I told him it wasn't a real diagnosis, and besides, he just wanted to sleep with me. Very Freudian.

But that kind of binary morality doesn't last past the first blush. Maybe I am a socipath, but it doesn't mean I don't want to hold hands in this monochromatic monotone drone of a Gibsonite future. None of my viruses were damaging, per se. After all, who doesn't like bagpipes? I thought police did especially, until the handcuffs snapped shut.

Winners found here, and congrats to Donna Everheart, because hers was great, and followed my thoughts for the rest of the day after I read it!

Prior to that was the Face Off Writing Contest, with key words "rose, berry, child, parker, finder". My entry:

Mrs. Parker had cuts on her hands; he noticed when they lit their cigarettes. "I never wanted children," she said.

"Haven't found the right woman." Too involved in his work, they always said.

"Is that how you became a people finder?" Missing toddler, dropping temperature. The golden flag of Drift's alert. The berry bramble tore up his arms when he lifted the little girl out, cheeks rose red.

"I guess."

"Will she be okay?"

Not with you, he thought, finishing his cigarette, stubbing it out. "You'll have to ask them."

When he left, she was still out there, smoking.
 Winners found here.

I have a lot of fun writing these. I also have a difficulty writing a complete story, beginning middle end. I seem to end up with oblique referential pieces, or things which seem to be pretentious gestures at O. Henry. Practice makes perfect, that's for sure, and I'm going to keep doing it. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Planning a Fantasy Novel

Well, Camp NaNoWriMo is breathing down my neck, and I've got a coverless Untitled Fantasy Novel registered as my project on the site. But I know what I'm doing, and 50k words is my goal.