Monthly Archives: February 2013

Write 1/Sub 1 check in: week 8, the one with the weird prom date

Week 8! Oddly enough, after I complained about last week’s ebb of creativity, I was struck with a story. Or rather, struck with a title and first line.

The title:

The Most Miserable Prom on Planet Earth

The first line:

My prom date is a space alien.

Despite its beginnings, it has no trace of science fiction or fantasy. Really. I scribbled down the title and that first line on Sunday, then wrote the story on Monday. I won’t say it came from nowhere, but it was unexpected. So considering how busy the week was, I got my writing and subbing in and I was quite pleased.

Writing:

  • The Most Miserable Prom on Planet Earth, ~ 2,000 words
  • Breaking the Unwritten Rules in Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction assignment: 350 words on a dialogue scene

Rejections:

  • The Madness in King’s End But! This is a rejection-plus. I didn’t win the contest I entered it in, but the story was one of two honorable mentions. This pleases me immensely, since the contest was for mystery fiction, and this story is more mysterious than mystery.

Submissions:

  • The Madness in King’s End (and yes, I sent it right back out again)
  • It Only Takes a Minute (this one too from last week)

Acceptances:

  • None

Published:

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My ten-year-old’s bucket list

So in the class I’m taking over at The Loft Literary Center, Breaking the Unwritten Rules in Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction, we’ve been talking about clichés and tropes, and about all those unwritten rules we might not even realize are holding us back from something original and startling.

We’ve discussed narration and how to balance entertainment with authenticity when writing a middle grade or young adult character. It reminded me of something Kyra said a while back.

One day after school, she mentioned she had something on her “bucket list.” After I got over my internal freak out about my ten-year-old having a bucket list, I asked her what she meant.

Here’s the thing: she’d never heard the phrase “kicking the bucket.” If she saw it in a story (or heard it in a movie) she would probably ask me what it meant if it wasn’t clear from context.

To her (and her friends), a bucket list represented a figurative bucket where they placed all the things that they’d like to do someday.

In Kyra’s case, this list includes:

  • being a scientist
  • traveling the world
  • painting all her pets’ portraits.

So, as writers, we’re told to avoid clichés because they’ve lost their freshness and meaning. But in some cases, all it takes is the next generation to give the old something new.

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I’m the main squeeze!

My short-short, Payment, is the Pulp Fiction “main squeeze” over at Literary Juice. I adore the formatting; it’s so much fun. And timely. It is, after all, Girl Scout cookie time.

Click on through to read. It will take you all of .25 seconds to read those 25 words.

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Write 1/Sub 1 check in: week 7, the one with all the rejections

Week 7! I’m hanging in there, although I must admit, I slowed down a lot this week, got all panicky, and then topped off my week with three rejections. However, I do feel stories and words gathering in the back of my mind. With a little luck, the ebb will soon be over.

Writing:

  • Lost and Found
    • Poem of this title
    • 100-word flash fiction of this title

Yes, it’s true. I wrote two very short, but different, pieces and gave them the same title. I. Was. Inspired. (Not.) Neither one may go out, but when I made this Write 1/Sub 1 pact with myself, I defined “write 1” as something I could potentially send out, not a scene or rambling words, or whatever. But, speaking of rambling words:

  • Breaking the Unwritten Rules in Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction: 1,200 words on a character sketch assignment

Rejections:

  • Just a Matter of Time
  • It Only Takes a Minute
  • One Good Turn

Submitting:

  • Just a Matter of Time, back out it goes. Bye-bye!

Acceptances:

  • None

I’ve been waiting for this week to happen, by which I mean, the week where the flood of rejections came in and my creativity was at its lowest. From looking at my submission tracker, I knew I was (over)due for this sort of rejection storm. This is what happens, of course, when you submit something every single week–they come back, sometimes all at once.

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I was wrong. This comment is better.

So, in the comments that shall not be named, but that I always delete? I find this one:

Hi my family member! I want to say that this post is awesome, great written and come with almost all significant infos. I’d like to look more posts like this.

I love this. I love this so hard. Am I so dim that I’m fooled by “Hi my family member!” You never know, so it’s a worth a shot, yes? Although I am pretty stoked that my posts come with almost all significant infos. Mind you, not all of them. This gives me something to strive for.

Until further notice, this will be my favorite comment that shall not be named, but that I always delete.

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Write 1/Sub 1 check in: week 6, the one with Girl Scout cookies

Week 6! Despite the 200 hundred boxes of Girl Scout cookies in my living room–that need a home that isn’t my living room–I had a very good writing week. Here’s what I did:

Writing:

  • It Only Takes a Minute, 247 words, for the Flash Fiction Chronicles String of 10 contest
  • The Weight of Secrets, short story of some length. I wrote it longhand and it’s still in my notebook, so I don’t know the exact word count.

Submitting:

  • It Only Takes a Minute, since I wrote it for the contest, why not actually submit it too?
  • The Madness in King’s End, to a local mystery contest. However, my story is probably more fantasy than mystery, so I’m not holding my breath on this one.

Rejections:

  • None!

Acceptances:

  • Payment, that even shorter (25 words) version of Cash or Check received an acceptance from Literary Juice for their Pulp Fiction section, where the story must be exactly 25 words with a one word title. (Now you know why I changed the title.) Oddly enough, it’s a story with a Girl Scout cookie theme.

Published:

I also started an online class this week at The Loft Literary Center,  Breaking the Unwritten Rules in Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction. I’m all about the rule breaking. The next couple of weeks are going to be very busy, so this Write 1/Sub 1 thing may be more of a challenge. It’s like a cliffhanger–stay tuned to see if I can make it all work. 

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Is Your Writing Stuck Because Your Brain has Plateaued?

I love this post from Rosanne’s blog. It captures one of the reasons I’m participating in Write 1/Sub 1 this year. Give it a read–as you can see, it applies to more than just writing.

Bane of Your Resistance

By Sean D’Souza

I’m delighted to introduce you to today’s guest blogger, Sean D’Souza, Chief Brain Auditor for Psychotactics. Sean is a fellow brain geek — fascinated by the human brain and able to translate what he discovers into engaging articles (as you’re about to see). He is the author of The Brain Audit—Why Customers Buy And Why They Don’t. Visit the Pyschotactics website for more articles by Sean including a free report on “Why Do Most Headlines Fail?”

As you read’s Sean article, consider how much of your writing resistance is caused by your brain plateauing…

Imagine you had thirty-three seconds to pick up a glass of water, take it across the room, and throw the water down the sink.

Could you do it?

Sure.

And you wouldn’t need more than ten seconds to do the task, especially if the sink isn’t very far away. Now give…

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The Burden of So Many Roses: Milestone story

Falling Roses

So today, The Burden of So Many Roses is live over on Kazka Press, where the theme this month is an undelivered valentine. My guess is (I haven’t read all the stories yet) that if you’re not a fan of gooey Valentine’s Day stories, you’ll be happy with the fare offered up this month.

At least, mine isn’t gooey.

It is, however, a milestone story for me. Here’s the breakdown:

1/3/2013: finished the draft

1/13/2013: sent to Kazka Press

1/30/2013: accepted

2/5/2013: published!

Not only is that one of the fastest turnaround times for me, submission to acceptance, it is the fastest I’ve ever drafted/revised/polished a story and sent it out. That being said, Kazka Press has a list of prompts on their submission page, and I had that undelivered valentine fermenting in the back of my mind for the entire month of December. That probably helped.

One of my goals this year is to figure out how to maintain a steady pace of writing while dealing with the ebbs in my creativity. And ebb it does. To the point where I’m all reclined on the fainting couch, hand on forehead, and despairing, I’ll never write again!

But since I always do, I’ve stopped believing myself when I get this way. This is why Write 1/Sub 1 is such a challenge. If I don’t write one, I’ll run out of things to submit. But it’s teaching me that:

  • I can write more than I think I can.
  • I have more story ideas than I think I do.
  • No one story concept is like another. Some tumble out like gifts, some I pick at, bit by bit.
  • There’s no wrong way to draft a short story.

Sometimes, to write, you simply need to get out of your own way.

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Best spam comment ever …

It begins:

Do you have a spam problem on this blog?

Well played, Spammer. Well played.

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Write 1/Sub 1 check in: week 5, the one with no heat and a sale

Week 5! Our furnace died on Friday. It’s also been one of the coldest weeks all winter. Clearly our appliances have a (dark) sense of humor. Yesterday was Girl Scout cookie “go” day, so since the house was cold, Kyra and I bundled up and sold cookies door-to-door. By the time we arrived back home (several boxes lighter), we had heat.

Writing:

  • Poem about the color orange. It is full of whimsy. And adjectives.

Submitting:

  • One Good Turn, (very) tongue-in-cheek science fiction story.
  • Payment, an even shorter (25 words) version of Cash or Check

Rejections:

  • None!

Acceptances:

  • The Burden of So Many Roses to Kazka Press for their undelivered valentine prompt. The story should be “live” in a few days. 

I also spent a good deal of time revising/editing two stories, One Good Turn and another that I’m set to submit in this upcoming week. 

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