Fiction, Flash Fiction, My Books, Publish, Short story, Writing

A little glimpse of the future

Specifically, I’m referring to my future publication. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been writing and revising short stories for a collection I hope to publish early next year.

The stories will be a motley crew, not only in subject, but in length. Those included will probably vary from 500 to 6,000 words—maybe longer if I get carried away.

I’ll introduce you to characters from the ages of six to eighty-six, who live anywhere from the hills to the big city. The tones of the stories will range from humor to horror.

As I reread these little previews below, I realized some of them could conjure up stories quite different from what they are. I wonder if you’ll be surprised when you actually get to read them.

Gaze into my crystal ball and you’ll see:

  • Fifteen-year-old Kelly Jean is determined to get out of Mossy Creek, North Carolina. Unfortunately, her boyfriend Lonnie Jr. doesn’t much care for her plan.
  • Amy Walls, another fifteen-year-old, wakes one morning to a future she couldn’t have imagined. Her bigger problem is surviving to see that future.
  • James is only a small-time con artist until he meets the wealthy Ann. You’d think he’d be satisfied with his new Manhattan lifestyle, but James has a wandering eye and a greedy heart.
  • After tragedy strikes a family, a grieving father’s inability to cope leads to a horrifying resolution.
  • At sixteen, Jesse fled a dreaded future in the coal mines of West Virginia to become a tobacco farmer in Kentucky. Two decades later, he’s a solitary man, buried, in his heart, as deeply as he ever would have been in the mines.
  • Nicole is a smart woman who made a stupid choice when she married Curtis. Yet when she finally leaves him, it’s to his family she runs.
  • Newly divorced and twenty pounds thinner, Karen succumbs to temptation when David reconnects with her through a high school alumni site to tell her he’s never forgotten her.

I’m excited about sharing multiple sides of my writing personality. Now, if only my crystal ball could “reveal” the fantastic title for this book that came to me in the middle of the night last Saturday. I know it was one word …

Craft, Feedback, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Goals, Novel, Query, Rejection, Short story, Writing

A Year’s Worth of Writing

Have you reviewed your writing progress in 2010? In this and another post or two in the next two weeks, Ill take a look back at the highlights of mine. When I looked back at all the posts for this year, I was surprised at how many twists and turns I took.

At the beginning of the year, I thought I had a finished novel in query status, so I turned my attention to short stories. I wrote a post, Writing vs. Crafting, in which I vowed to not only read more short stories, but to write and submit for publication some of my own. Nothing to report on my stories, but I did read more of those written by others, including fabulous debut collections from Robin Black and Tracy Winn.

Next, I jumped out of the box and started my year of living dangerously. (Even though I lost sight of that along the way, it may explain the way my writing year will end. Stay tuned.) But back then, I dared myself again by trying a writing challenge: a micro flash story. And I wrote it from a prompt, which is something I hadn’t done for decades. It was so much fun I invited my readers to take the challenge too. 

And then, I fell apart. Rejection spawned dejection and in barged the Blue Muse. From the bottom there’s no way but up, so I went into warrior mode and wrote a new query letter and opening paragraph for my novel; entered two contests; and dissected a Flannery O’Connor story for a discussion group.

The decision to edit my novel again reminded me of a good beating and then, continuing with new experiences, my novel spoke aloud. I discovered frigid fiction, but soon I became blinded by the words. To my rescue came the fabulous Kayla Olson who volunteered to read and critique for me.

Again I needed to be reminded to wait for the words. Before long I had reason to panic over platform, but as the end of the first quarter of 2010 came to a close, I was riding the train of eternal optimism.

Your turn: Have you charted your writing progress this year? How did you fair?

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Fiction, Flash Fiction, Inspiration, Prompt, Writing

The experiment results are in!

Thanks to all who participated in my writing prompt experiment. I changed the actual “results” to bold font to make it easier to see them among the comments, and if you took the prompt challenge, but haven’t shared your result yet, please do in a comment there. I think it’s interesting, the way we all started with the same words and then went in different directions. And just because I’m always curious how other writers work, I have some questions for you:

  1. Did your result come to you spontaneously, or did you give it some thought?
  2. Did you stick with your tried and true category/genre or try for something different?
  3. In the original prompt, the instructions were to write for 10 minutes without stopping, then put it aside until the next day when you could edit. How long did it take you to write yours and how heavily did you edit it?
  4. Do you regularly use writing prompts? And, if so, how often do they result in a finished piece?

If you care to know, my answers to the above questions are:  1. I stayed with my usual category.  2. It came to me spontaneously.  3. I followed the writing instructions (hard for me because I’m used to editing as I go) and I edited very little the next day. (That’s not to say it couldn’t use more.)  4. No, I don’t think I’ve ever used a writing prompt before.

And I know you’re all just dying to know what I wrote from the prompt 🙂 so, here’s a link to my flash story: Unspeakable Words


Fiction, Flash Fiction, Fun Fridays, Writing

Let’s try an experiment

It’s Friday and I feel like doing something exciting. (Keep in mind, I’m a writer and I don’t get out much.) I’d like to propose an experiment. The other day, Christi Craig, tweeted a link to a flash writing prompt. I don’t usually take prompts, but as you may have read, I’m living on the wild side now. Actually, the link gave several prompts to choose from: single words, a photograph, a line beginning.

Nothing came to me when I read the single word prompts, I wasn’t inspired by the photo, but when I read the line beginning, a scene flashed on my internal movie screen. So I typed the four-word prompt and kept going. I wrote only three paragraphs, 217 words, but it felt complete to me … or maybe that was only as far as I had the heart to take it. As is, I think it would qualify as a flash story … or maybe that would be micro flash. (You tell me … on Monday.) Although the opening could lead in just about any direction, I went dark. It wasn’t intentional; I just used what came to mind in that instant.

So, I’m inviting you all to experiment using the same prompt. Write a flash story, an opening paragraph, or just an intriguing first line and share it with us here. I’ll post mine on Monday. I think it will be interesting to see the variety of storylines our creative minds come up with. (If you come up with good piece and don’t want to risk wasting your electronic rights by posting it on my blog, just share the first paragraph or two.)

Here’s the prompt: Through the open window

Critique, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Novel, Writing

Back to business

smashclockSorry to break it to you, but it’s Monday. I know. I know. Thanks to all who stopped by the party to get crazy with me. Now, it’s back to the business of writing. This week, I’ll continue fine-tuning my novel, and it’s time to repay my critique partners with some feedback.

I’m also trying to spiff up the blog before it celebrates its first birthday. Many of my old posts need their tags and categories updated for better search results. I’ll also be editing some pages. I started with the I Write page. I’ve added the Poetry category because I’m trying to expand my repertoire … and hey, why not learn the form in public?

Under the Flash Fiction category, I’ve added a link to a new story. It’s a bit of an experiment because I rarely write in first person or from a child’s viewpoint. You can read “Secrets and Shadows” here.

What’s on your schedule this week?