My 2014 summer project is to finalize and submit as many stories as I can. (Not to be too obvious but it’s it much easier to get acceptances when stories are in an editor’s inbox rather than sitting on my desk.) I’m giving myself the week to complete my three active stories and to sift through my other short stories so I know exactly what I have to work with for the next few months.
Stories=actively working on three. 1) First things first, the priority for the next week is “All of a Heap” as I have the opportunity to tweak it before it goes to print; 2) the Wimbledon story is in its final revision stage; 3) I started a new short story about a man forced to step outside the home he’s barricaded himself into for the past eleven years (he’s a tad agoraphobic). I originally saw this one as a short flash piece but it would be a lot of fun to expand so we shall see what the first draft turns into.
Rejections=One. Walker Watcher is the story of a man stuck in an alternate Hell that includes constant walking and being submitted to watching his transgressions ad nauseam on an old tv box that accompanies him at every step, rabbit ears antenna and squeaky wheel included. This week I received a “great” personal rejection email for that story, however “great” a rejection can be. I submitted WW back in March for an anthology and had given up on it but it turns out the story made it far in the process, which is why they had not yet sent a rejection. I wasn’t sure how WW would be received because it is a bit of a gloomy odd one so the positive feedback means it will be part of the summer project so I can try to find it a home.
Critiques=One short story. I wasn’t planning on doing any crits this week but I guess it’s an itch I have to scratch. Let’s see if I can keep my resolution not to do any this coming week.
Writers’ events=Two: a short write-in session as well as a monthly social dinner with local writers. I must admit the current write-ins at the new location are a challenge for me. I work best in utter silence, with no radio or ambient noise (even the neighbouring dog’s barking really throws me off my game), so casual write-ins where there are lots of comings and goings aren’t working for me when I need to focus on reworking or developing my own stories. (Another factor is that rather than carry my 19-inch laptop to write-ins, I use a tablet, which really slows me down.) I’ve debated whether to simply abandon those write-ins but since I would probably just end up watching tv at home, I’ve accepted what they are and decided to make the best of them rather than become a recluse. I currently use that time to critique stories since I quickly recover from interruptions doing that kind of work. More importantly, I enjoy
commenting editing utterly tearing apart critiquing stories, even (especially) when those stories are really bad.
Audiobook: Listening to Mirage by Clive Cussler with Jack Du Brul, and narrated by Scott Brick (who is awesome as always). The Oregon Files is by far my favourite of Cussler’s series. Though I’m getting better at writing descriptions, I always struggle with them in my stories. It’s not as easy as it seems to find the right balance between letting the reader create a mental picture on their own and writing descriptions that turn into tedious laundry lists. I find Cussler writes visual descriptions where I can easily picture everything and his analogies are vivid and relevant to the story. I’m soaking it all in while enjoying Juan Cabrillo’s latest adventure.