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Posts Tagged ‘short story’

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

–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+% ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.

Hereโ€™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 whoโ€™ve said no. But to get to that success, youโ€™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

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

On reading: The Last Question by Isaac Asimov

May 21, 2014 5 comments

A while back, I was talking with my son, Jonathan, who lives in Wisconsin. He happened to mention one of Isaac Asimov’s short stories and said I absolutely had to read it (I’ll confess now that, despite being a sci-fi fan, I’d never read any of his work before … yes, that’s lame, I admit it). Given his glowing recommendation, I decided I should read the story. So I did. My thoughts? Well, I’m going to keep them to myself until after I hear from a few people. I don’t want my opinion of the story to influence what others might have to say.

To those who have read the story, what did you think about it? For those who’ve never read it before and are now curious enough to read it, let me encourage you to read the piece all in one sitting. It’s not that hard to do since it’s a short story, and it does, as my son suggested, make the story all that much more powerful.

To encourage you to read the story, here are a few introductory words penned by the author himself:

This is by far my favorite story of all those I have written.

After all, I undertook to tell several trillion years of human history in the space of a short story and I leave it to you as to how well I succeeded. I also undertook another task, but I won’t tell you what that was lest l spoil the story for you.

It is a curious fact that innumerable readers have asked me if I wrote this story. They seem never to remember the title of the story or (for sure) the author, except for the vague thought it might be me. But, of course, they never forget the story itself especially the ending. The idea seems to drown out everything — and I’m satisfied that it should.

The Last Question by Isaac Asimov

–dp

On writing: editing with paper and red pen

March 18, 2014 16 comments

Recently, I’ve spent almost all my time editing a short story (this one here) and have gone through numerous revisions. I think the story and writing have improved dramatically, so I’m happy with my progress. But as I was about to begin my umpteenth editing session, I realized I was getting sick of staring at my computer monitor for hours on end. Still wanting to make progress, I decided to try a little editing the old-school way. Yep, I printed the story, grabbed my red pen, sat down at my desk, and started marking away.

2008-01-26 (Editing a paper) - 19
(Photo by Nic’s events)

I think it was helpful to look at the story differently, i.e., on paper rather than glowing letters on a screen. And it was fun to run that red pen all over the pages as I found various types of errors and problems. But I must confess, though, that the overall editing session didn’t feel as good nor did it feel as complete as my normal computer-based editing. I felt constrained, as it seemed to limit the speed at which I could write down my thoughts, and if the scope of the changes became too large, the method became unwieldy.

So while I was happy to try my hand at editing via paper and pen, for me it just wasn’t as productive, though I suppose if you consider that it did let me keep revising my story when otherwise I’d probably have just stopped for the night, it did, in a small way, allow me to get more done. Not sure if I’ll resort to it again in the future, unless perhaps I find myself ready to stab my computer monitor because my eyes are burning from too many hours of endless edits (that have followed a full day of programming on the same computer).

Anyone edit by hand much? How do you like it? Any of you refuse to resort to the old way of doing things and stick to just their computer? Tried the red pen on a larger project, like a novel? How did it go?

–dp

On writing: submitting another short story

March 11, 2014 12 comments

I recently found out that Cemetery Dance Publications, one of my favorite publishers of dark fiction and horror, is accepting submissions for one remaining slot in their upcoming publication, October Dreams 2, an anthology of Halloween-themed short stories. So of course, I can’t resist … I must submit a story, despite the overwhelming odds against acceptance (I wrote about my first submission/rejection here). But I’m okay with that, because as one of my blog friends reminded me when my last story was rejected, I’m aiming for the top, and acceptance into publications of this caliber is hard. So if ever one of my stories is accepted then it will mean even that much more.

Don’t get me wrong, though … I’ll still be disappointed if/when the rejection comes, but at least this time I’ll remember that I’m in the company of hundreds of other talented writers who also were rejected. There is some comfort in that ๐Ÿ™‚

So, off I go into my next big adventure. I’ll keep you all posted.

Wish me luck!

–dp

On blogging: to post our writing or not

November 13, 2013 29 comments

To post or not to post, that is the question.

You see, I’m confused. I seem to have gathered conflicting advice on what to do with what I’ve written. Some say never post anything, some say post what you want. So what is it? Is it ok to post just flash fiction? Or short stories? Maybe excerpts from our novels? Or chapters? The whole book? Or maybe this kind of stuff belongs somewhere else, like Scribophile?

Part of me wants to post my writing so I can get some feedback, and to see if anyone actually likes what I write. But the other part of me is worried that by posting anything, I will lose the opportunity to submit to publications who restrict themselves to unpublished work, where unpublished means it can’t even have appeared in my own blog.

Anyone have thoughts one way or the other on this subject? Any experience with posting your own writing, either positive or negative? Using online writing groups, like Scribophile?

–dp

On writing: the guilt we all feel

August 2, 2013 17 comments

So, these days I consider myself a writer. Don’t laugh, because it’s taken me a while to get to this point. No, I’m not published, but the desire to write remains, despite rejections and a host of other life issues and emotions attempting to derail anything remotely resembling the life of a writer (whatever that may be). Deep inside, despite it all, something pushes me, speaks to me, tells me I must keep typing words and stringing them together into sentences, paragraphs, scenes and stories. If I don’t do it, all that I think about is doing it, or that I should be doing it.

So yes, I write, but something is holding me back, keeping me from reaching my full potential as a writer. I’ve struggled with it for so long I’ve very nearly giving up writing altogether. And it’s been relentless, beating me down until I barely have the motivation to lift my fingers to the keyboard. The culprit? A little thing called guilt.

Isn’t there something better you could be doing with your time?

Shouldn’t you be spending time with your wife?

Couldn’t you be working a little more so you can get a better year-end review?

Bleah, bleah, bleah, bleah … insert favorite cause of guilt.

On and on it goes, until soon you feel no more able to write than someone frozen by fear of rejection. It doesn’t matter … there’s no difference … you get nothing done. You spend your time surfing the web, researching for your latest idea, doing just about anything but putting one word after another into your latest short story or novel, or even blog post. It’s a sad state affairs, at least for me.

And all along, I naively assumed it was something only I struggled with.

So what made me think of this particular topic? Well, I can thank Victoria over at Crimson League
for making me think about this. While I’d thought about it frequently, it wasn’t until I read her recent post that I realized that, yes, I dealt with this very same problem. All the time. Fortunately, she also had some great ideas on how to beat these guilt feelings. It’s definitely worth a read for anyone who’s not yet read it and thinks they themselves might be suffering from guilt feelings over writing.

–dp