Doubt, Fiction, Novel, Short story, Writing

Something old, something new, something borrowed, and I’m not blue!

I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about what I was writing until I’d written it, but, like all fiction writers, I lie. I won’t go into detail though. The title of this post says enough. After months of wrapping myself in rope after rope of “shoulds”, I ended up so tightly bound I couldn’t write at all.

What happened to my plan to write more short stories for a collection? Well, critique comments pointing out things you “can’t do in short fiction”, depressed me. I see now that half the stories I’d written are really novel chapters in poor disguise. My lack of higher education has smacked me down. I don’t know the conventions of short fiction, and I don’t want to take the time to learn them—at least, not right now.

But I do have a story to tell, and it’s novel length. In fact, it’s the story I started to tell months ago, before I let my marketer’s brain take over. The story excited me then and it excites me now. I write what I write. It finds the readers it was meant to find. That’s my career plan.

Of course, now that I’m fired up, it’s almost time to take a break for the holidays. Life has a wry sense of humor. I’m not worried though, I’ve lived with this story for a good while. It’s not going anywhere. And PLEASE, if you hear me starting to doubt again, will you kick me?

Do you take a break for the holidays or try to keep your regular writing schedule?

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 …

Characters, Dream, Fiction, Short story, Writing

It’s YA and bleak! Why the heck am I writing this story?

I’m writing a story unlike any I’ve written before. It’s sort of YA dystopian. I didn’t ask for this story, I dreamed it. Actually, it was too intense to call a dream, so let’s call it a nightmare—the kind you force yourself to wake from because you’re too afraid to see the end.

Is it that intense on paper? No. At least, not yet. This has been my first attempt at writing without any preliminary writing—no crucial scenes pre-written, no dialogue already recorded. I don’t like writing first drafts. I know in my head where the story is going, but since I haven’t written the climactic scene, it’s driving me nuts not knowing if it’s going to turn out well. Yet, I keep plugging away.

This story has already gone through major changes. I’ve altered the original ending, which I sensed, but didn’t actually see, in my dream. I made that decision because I realized early that this was not a story about a girl; this was a girl’s story. I needed to tell it all from her point of view.

I’m eons way from my teen years. It’s not easy for me to get deep into the mindset of a 15 year-old girl. I have teen-aged granddaughters, so I’m not totally out of that world, but still …

So, yeah. That’s what I’m working on. I’m trying to ignore that inner critic asking me what makes me think I can write this story … or pointing out how much time I’ll have wasted when it fails. Someday I’m going to make her the victim in a violent tale.

Your turn: What sort of challenges do you set for yourself?

Family, Real Life, Short story, Travel, Writing

Be it ever so humble …

First, I want to thank all who took the time to read my short story, “Perchance to Dream“. I didn’t mean to leave that post up so long. I had hoped to publish a new one this past Sunday, but during my time spent in Indiana, I had even less internet access than I thought I would. I returned to my Pacific Time home yesterday afternoon, exhausted, and went to bed still on Eastern Time. After ten hours sleep, I feel almost normal. So I’m up before dawn writing this post.

Today’s photo is of my son and his grandmother (my mother), taken after his doctoral commencement at Ball State University. That ceremony was the highlight of my trip, of course. The next day, we had a big Syrian dinner with my husband’s family where both the wine and conversation flowed like water. Most of my time away, I spent with my mother and two sisters in the home we moved into when I was fifteen.

It’s always a weird experience when you return to a place that never changes. No, my mother hasn’t kept everything the same since the late 60’s, but the décor in La Maison de Cassidy, for the most part, has not changed since the 80’s. Every mirror where I checked my hair, makeup, and clothes on high school mornings and before weekend dates still hangs where it did then. Unfortunately, I look completely different in them now.

Okay, it’s now over three hours later and I still haven’t finished this post. Life intervened. But what’s life without life? I do have a few writing-related things on my mind, so expect a bit more meat next time.

… there’s no place like home.

Fiction, Real Life, Short story, Writing

My presence is mostly an illusion

I guess this post title always applies to the virtual world, but I’m using it to let you know I’m on vacation. For the most part, my internet access will be sporadic for the next few days, so I didn’t want to publish a controversial post that would incite hundreds of comments. Ahem.

Instead, I’m offering a story I hope you’ll enjoy reading. This one is a twisted tale about Nina, a woman for whom the line between dream and reality has blurred. You can read it by clicking Perchance to Dream.

I’ll check in when I can, so be good.