Since coming back from Denver, I’ve been on a bit of a whirlind writing spree. Or maybe it doesn’t exactly qualifiy as a spree, but I’ve been churning out more in the last few weeks than I have since completing the “Elevator Ghost” story back in the late fall. Here’s what the latest outpouring has been:
1. In my writing class, we had an exercise where we had to write the start of piece of fiction based on any one of 5 “first sentence” promps. There was a prompt that had to do with someone being clairvoyant that struck me, so I dashed off a quick piece and submitted it to our discussion group.
My instructor responded that she thought I was really onto something, and that I should flesh out the story and submit it to a certain contest. So I’ve been really pouring a lot of heart and soul into that. Without giving away too much detail, the story is based on a woman who has struggled her whole life with relationships of all kinds -from family to romantic to friendships – because her dreams have a habit of coming true and people don’t always like hearing what she has to say. In a new town where she’s finally settled in and made some friends she cherishes, she has a dream about an event she knows will impact them all in a major way, and …
The story itself is finished now, and in what I like to call “the incubation” stage where I go back and edit. It needs to lose several hundred words to qualify for the contest, which sounds a bit overwhelming. But a big part of what we’ve been doing in this class is intentionally writing pieces X amount above the final wordcount and then learning to go back and slice and dice our work to fit a new, much smaller count. I’m getting a lot out of that. Learning to recognize where you’ve thrown in extra explanation or description to make a point that could be made more concisely with crisper, more hard-hitting writing is something a lot of writers struggle with, it seems.
2. I receive a weekly newsletter from an established writer who compiles “small market” opportunities for new writers to try. In one of the more recent ones, there was a write-up on an online magazine called “Enchanted Conversation,” recently changed to “Fairy Tale Magazine.” I’ve spent a few afternoons being completely drawn into the stories there. Each issue’s theme is stories or poetry based on that tale. Some of the twists writers have come up with, whether they be retelling the original tale from the point of view of an auxiliary character or spinning off to what happens in the aftermath of the known story, are pretty darn brilliant.
I’m going to give it a try for the “Cinderella” submission cycle in June. I’ve begun story that I think features a pretty unique twist on that, and am in the rough draft stage. It has been amazingly fun to write.
3. I did receive a rejection from my first target publisher for the “Psycho Grandma” tale. I can feel myself getting better at taking those, which is absolutely critical if I’m gonna keep at this. I hear my old faculty advisor with his “seek pain” motto and my new instructor with her gentler “cry a little cry and then move on,” and I’m getting it down. Like it or not, the “thanks but no thanks” is as much a part of this process as most people not buying your product when you’re in marketing or sales. It probably hurts more because what you are selling are bits and pieces of your heart and soul, but that just means you need an even thicker skin than the most obnoxious car salesman.
4. Lee has started blogging again too. Right now he’s mostly working through his thoughts and feelings on religion and science. I tend to come at those things from a place of intuition only – if not in how I form my conclusions at least in how I talk through them. He, on the other hand, spends a lot of time reading up on theories and watching documentaries and science shows and trying to weave them all into place. I’ve linked his blog, Boogersview, as well as the Fairy Tale Magazine in my blogroll.