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A mid-November update on NaNoWriMo and new short stories

November 15, 2014 10 comments

I’m smack dab in the middle of yet another NaNoWriMo, right along with all those thousands of others brave enough (or foolish enough) to dive headfirst into this annual frenetic activity. For NaNo this year, I chose to do something a little different in November. Instead of writing something completely new, I decided I would take a “completed” draft from a previous NaNoWriMo (2011, to be exact) and spend the month working on revision. I figured if I could get a minimum of 50K words or 30 chapters edited over the course of the month, I’d consider that a win. So far, progress has been great, and my novel is moving another step closer to becoming a finished product. While it’s far from perfect at this point, it’s improving with each revised chapter.

On the short story front … first, thanks to all of you who took the time to read my last story and leave a comment. I appreciate your support, encouragement, and feedback. Second, I’ve got two different short stories I’m working on right now, though the pressures of November writing might make it hard to finish them as soon on time. One hasn’t even been started, but it needs to be finished and polished up by the end of the month. Ooops. Timing for the other is a bit more open-ended, which is nice. I have a partially written story from years ago already in place, so I hope to expand and complete it in time for that submission. Both should be fun projects.

Hope everyone’s having a wonderful November, filled with plans for the upcoming holidays. My favorite time of year …

–dp

My short story is now available to read

November 6, 2014 14 comments

I was happy to be included in this year’s Halloween edition of the Siren’s Call eZine (click here to download the pdf), published by Siren’s Call Publications.

October Siren's Call eZine

Siren’s Call eZine

If you’re in the mood for some post-Halloween chills, or just want to read my story — The Patch Beyond the Hill — download the eZine and check it out. For any who do, please let me know what you think of the story.

–dp

End of (unannounced) summer hiatus and short story news

October 10, 2014 13 comments

Summer is over now, which is fine by me. Though our pool made those 100+ degree days bearable, and sometimes even fun, I’m ready for cool weather and the holidays. It’s also time to jump back into blogging and catching up with everyone else’s blogs.

First up, some good news. I recently submitted a short story to a very cool eZine for their upcoming Halloween themed issue. I was thrilled when they accepted it and am looking forward to when it comes out later this month. When it does, I’ll let everyone know where they can find it should they be interested in reading the story.

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween 🙂

–dp

On writing: Cemetery Dance 2 : Dave 0

July 17, 2014 18 comments

Just found out today that the story I submitted for an upcoming anthology (October Dreams 2) from Cemetery Dance was, to put it euphemistically, not accepted. On to the particulars. Turns out that around 200 people submitted stories. From those they decided to use 3. What is that? 1.5%? Guess I shouldn’t feel too bad for not making it into the top 98+% 🙂 On the plus side, the editor (Richard Chizmar) looking over the stories did say that around 10% of the stories were excellent and that they’d already decided to use several of the others for various publications. Who knows, maybe I’ll make it into one of those? Oh, and I should also note that he personally read through all the submissions (yeah, that’s right, 200 short stories!). How many times is that going to happen? I thought that was pretty cool, and I thought it was pretty awesome that he chose to request submissions like he did. I can only hope he chooses to do the same thing in the future.

The original request for submissions and subsequent notification of those selected has all been done via Facebook. A perk, I suppose, for being a friend (Facebook only) of the founder of Cemetery Dance publications 🙂 Now here’s the question: do you think it would be unreasonable, or bad form, to send a message to him to ask if my particular story made it into the top 10%, or even 3% (they considered 6 stories in the end)? I’m not really worried about whether it didn’t, but just curious about whether my story was decent, as in good enough that a writer/editor for one of the premiere horror/dark fiction publications thought my story was worthwhile. Yeah, I know, I suppose in the end it’s really just about me getting some validation and all that. But for some reason I’m really feeling the need to know something, anything, even if mine was in the “gee that wasn’t so great pile”. But, I also don’t want to come across as too amateurish (even though I am). Thoughts?

Well, now it’s on to the next big adventure(s). In the short-term, I think that might be, along with working on the stories already in progress, looking for other good horror/dark fiction publications that are accepting short stories. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.

A final note: as fate would have it, just yesterday, I saw this blog post : How to take rejection.

Read through this short but helpful article. The last paragraph sums up the writing life.

Here’s the lesson to remember: far better writers than you have been rejected far more often. In success, you will be able to look back fondly at the people who’ve said no. But to get to that success, you’ve got to power through the failures.

Update: Thanks everyone for your responses and encouragement. After hearing what everyone had to say, and allowing some time to pass, I think I’ll most likely just let it go and concentrate on writing and finding other good publications that would consider my genre. When I jump into the submission arena again, I’ll be sure and give an update.

–dp

What we really think about rejection?

June 30, 2014 3 comments

Somewhere, deep inside, isn’t this how we all feel when one of those rejections come along?
Rejection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

–dp

On editing: red pen and printed copy

June 28, 2014 8 comments

Yep, that’s right. Once again, despite my lukewarm feelings about the first time I tried it, I’ve grabbed my trusty red pen and am ready to apply it (liberally) to a newly finished short story. It’s a tale about a young family’s car trip that takes them through an isolated stretch of highway running through the desert between their home in southern California and a family reunion in Phoenix, Arizona. Current working title: Road Trip

Red pen and hard copy of Road Trip - ready to edit

Red pen and hard copy of Road Trip – ready to edit

I hope to include it in my eventual collection of short dark fiction, Night Terrors. Time and editing will tell if the story is good enough to make it in. I’ll let everyone know how it goes.

Wish me luck.

–dp

ps – if you look closely, you’ll notice there’s already a coffee stain on the first page. Good start 🙂

The Writing Process Blog Hop

June 23, 2014 14 comments

Recently, I was asked to participate in a speculative fiction writing process blog hop. Having never done one before, it seemed like a great opportunity to not only learn about some talented writers but to take a few moments to reflect on myself, my writing, and what I’ve been up to.

To start things off, be sure to check out last Monday’s post from Travis Hill on his blog, Angry Games. Also, I’d like to thank Elle Chambers (you can check out her blog here) for asking me to join in the fun.

As part of this blog hop, I’m supposed to answer a set of questions about my writing. I hope that by the time you finish reading my responses, you’ll have a little better understanding of me as a person and a writer, as well as gain some insight into how I write.

What am I working on?
I have two books in progress. One, entitled “Whispers” – a NaNoWriMo novel about a young couple, their son, and a secret that’s spanned the generations – is complete but is in the middle of the revision process. The second, entitled “The Last Descent” – an apocalyptic story, one of those “end of the world” books – is about 2/3 finished. I wrote it back in 1989/1990 while I was waiting to hear back from publishers about my first book, The Light. (I talked about this way back here). It’s got a lot of potential and I’m excited about trying to finish it. My biggest obstacle so far has been trying to get my mind wrapped around the story as currently written so I can figure out exactly where I was trying to go at the time I originally started it. It’ll be a challenge, but if I can get it done I think it can be a great book.

I’m also putting together a short story collection entitled “Night Terrors”. Along with a number of stories already completed, I have two new stories undergoing revision and one story, written quite a few years ago, that I’m rewriting.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’d like to say that my writing is unique, but I’m not sure that it really is. While I think both what I write and how I write have been heavily influenced by Stephen King, I in no way consider myself anywhere near his level of writing. I do, however, aspire to write some great stories with wonderful characters, all with the hope of taking the reader on a trip through the darker side of life.

Why do I write what I do?
Perhaps because in my world, when life is serene and wonderful, and it seems like things just can’t get any better, all I can think about is … uh, what’s wrong? Something bad is waiting to spring itself on me. I guess, in a way, when I’m writing or thinking about writing, it sort of starts out like this short short film:

Bambi Meets Godzilla*

In a humorous way, this short film demonstrates where I go in my writing. Almost everything I write takes a dark turn, no matter how lighthearted or innocent the setup might be, because somewhere, off in the corner, in the shardows, just out of sight, something awful … something horrible … is waiting to reveal itself.

(*) If interested, here’s Bambi Meets Godzilla (redux … inspired by the original)

How does my writing process work?

I am, at least so far in my writing, a complete and total pantser (or, if you prefer, a discovery writer, which sounds way better … read about it here).

What happens? I get an idea. I think about it, along with all the other ideas flowing around through my brain. I write all of them down in a wonderful Mac product called MacJournal, then mull over the ideas once again. Eventually, one works its way up to the top until I pretty much can’t stop thinking about it. At that point, whether it’s a short story, a piece of flash fiction, or a novel, I fire up Scrivener (best piece of writing software ever!) and type away. I know many people frown upon hearing the word “pantser”, but for me it’s just the way things happen. So far I haven’t been disappointed with anything I’ve written, so as the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

 

Next up on the blog hop is Nicolas Wilson. Be sure to visit his blog next Monday to learn more about what he’s up to.

Nicolas Wilson is a published journalist, graphic novelist, and novelist. He lives in the rainy wastes of Portland, Oregon with his wife, four cats and a dog.

Nic’s work spans a variety of genres, from political thriller to science fiction and urban fantasy. He has several novels currently available, and many more due for release in the next year. Nic’s stories are characterized by his eye for the absurd, the off-color, and the bombastic.
For information on Nic’s books, and behind-the-scenes looks at his writing, visit nicolaswilson.com.

 

–dp