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Posts Tagged ‘writing status’

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 πŸ™‚

–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 πŸ™‚

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: The inevitable rejection

July 16, 2013 28 comments

So, back in January, I accomplished one of my goals for 2013: I submitted a short story to Cemetery Dance magazine. With high hopes I’d pressed that submit button, sending off my short story of which I was so proud. And then I’d waited … and waited … and waited. After a while, I’d waited so long I didn’t really even feel like I was waiting for anything anymore. But to be fair, they did warn that due to the deluge of stories it would likely take several months before I’d hear back from them. Well, they were wrong. It took over five months! But, on the positive side, I did hear back.

While I’d like to tell you I received a personal note from the managing editor of the magazine/publisher, Brian Freeman — you know, something telling me all about how it was a wonderful story but they just couldn’t quite fit it into this quarter’s magazine but they’d sure like me to submit again — the truth of the matter is that I received a “form” rejection from some unknown underling in charge of reading through the slush pile (at least I assume it was the slush pile … who knows, maybe I made it further along). I suppose I can understand why it happened, though. With the sheer volume of material that’s submitted to some of these magazines, especially one of the caliber of Cemetery Dance, it’s nearly impossible to personalize rejections. Otherwise, nothing would ever get published. But still, it would have been nice …

To put a positive spin on things, though, you could say that I accomplished something else in 2013: I got my first rejection πŸ™‚ At least that means I wrote something, and that I overcame inertia and fear and actually submitted it, knowing full well that in all probability it would get rejected. But I consider it a part of my growth as a writer. After all, if you can’t handle rejection, there’s no reason to be a writer, unless, of course, all you want to do is keep your stories to yourself, hidden somewhere on your computer. But that’s not me. I’d like at least one other person besides my lovely wife to read something I’ve written.

I’d like to thank all those who left encouraging comments on my original post. I appreciated each of them. One in particular, though, had some advice that I plan to follow. I’d like to thank Michael over at Parlor of Horror for taking the time to give me some good suggestions on what to do with my stories. So thanks, Michael πŸ™‚

I’ll post the rejected story soon, then some of my other work. Eventually, I’ll even post some of my W(s)IP. I’d also like to find a writing buddy at some point, or an alpha reader, preferably someone serious about their writing and their interest in reading over works in progress. I’ve also heard about some folks having great success with online writer’s groups, so I’d like to pursue that as well. I’ve already got an account on scribophile.com; now all I need to do is become active within the community.

Should make the remainder of the year interesting, and hopefully productive.

–dp

On life/writing: missing in action

April 26, 2013 18 comments

Yep, that’s right. Missing in action. Guess that sums it up. Over the last couple of months, I took a nosedive in the creativity department and lost pretty much all my energy for writing. Why? Not sure, but I think it was a couple of things that combined to disengage me from the writing world.

I think it all started when the family gathered together on what would have been my dad’s 80th birthday, which was February 25th (he passed away on November 30th of last year). We’d planned it as a celebration of his life, and I think, at the time, that was what it was and what it felt like. I remember, on the 24th, me, my mom and my sister, were sitting at the kitchen table on the evening before my dad’s birthday, talking and reminiscing about life in general and about my dad in particular. Time passed, memories and tears were shared, and before I knew it, when I glanced at my watch, I saw that it was just a couple of minutes before midnight. When the clock struck twelve, I stopped the conversation and told my mom and sister that it was dad’s birthday. We all smiled, clinked our glasses, and wished him a happy 80th. Afterward, we continued our time of sharing while we sat at the table, then finally, around 3am, went off to bed. It felt good. It felt right. I think my dad would have been happy to see us there, talking, remembering, and celebrating.

I don’t think the real impact ofΒ  my dad’s birthday, or even his death, hit me until I returned home. It wasn’t like getting zapped by a lightning bolt, though. It was more a gradual, suffocating despair, like a blanket floating down and covering a bed, that led me into a deep malaise from which I’ve yet to fully recover. Along the way, it managed to sap from me any real zest for life, any sense of wanting to do anything but just manage to get by day to day. And so I did, with each day coming and going, as I tried to make sense of life and sort through thoughts that I just couldn’t get rid of.

I suppose I could have made it through all that well enough, and probably been able to continue creating, putting words to “paper”, hopefully allowing the ideas threatening to paralyze my thinking to escape in some manner, had it not been for what I think was the other essential element leading to my creative demise: deadlines at work.

In my world of software development, much of my time is spent in “normal” work mode. Schedules are set, tasks are worked on and completed as part of an overall goal, and life is good. Good, that is, until the date of a product release approaches. Suddenly, then, all those features that aren’t quite done yet, or those important bugs that must get fixed immediately, or those important customer requests, all become high priority and all must get done NOW. Suddenly, each day is filled with relentless mind-numbing work, where attention to detail is critical, yet hours are few. So days and weeks become longer, with little to no downtime. The end result? A brain so overworked that thoughts much more complex than staring at a DVR recording of the latest episode of such and such are almost unthinkable, and the idea of sitting in front of a computer for even one more minute than necessary is impossible to even conceive. Unless, of course, that time consists of theta wave inducing surfing of the web for nothing in particular.

But now, where am I? Well, I find myself at the end of the recent release cycle craziness and returning to “normal” work mode, which is good. As for the passing of my father, and its effect on me, I think the jury is still out. I’m beginning to feel like I’m emerging from the fog of apathy his death has caused, and I think life is beginning to make sense once again. If it weren’t, and this is reassuring, I most certainly wouldn’t be sitting here at my computer at this hour (8:41pm), typing away at a blog post, which while it isn’t the most creative of activities does at least require some level of interest and energy to produce. So I’m encouraged.

Where does that leave things? For now, I think I’m ready to resume blogging. And I think I’m ready to resume reading blogs and actually participating in the discussion they evoke. And, more importantly, I think I’m ready to get back to working on accomplishing those goals I set for 2013. Inside, I feel a twinge of excitement, a small flicker of desire to create once again. And it feels good. It’s been a while since things have felt good, since I’ve had the time to even think about anything beyond making it through the day and getting work done for my job. In a way, I’d like to think these words, from the seventies song “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash, apply to my life:

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright, bright
Sun-Shiny day.

I Can See Clearly Now

Time will tell.

–dp