I haven’t done one of my “accountability updates” in a while. The good news is, that’s because I’ve been writing instead. But I still feel stepping back and taking stock is important. So here’s what I’ve been up to lately.
While not progressing as fast as I’d like, I love how it is coming together. I’m only a little over 10,000 words in, but that’s because I’ve taken breaks to work on other projects, not because I’m not writing enough.
With this project, I’m trying something new. I’m taking the time to write out character sketches and setting descriptions separate from the novel itself, and updating them as they evolve. I’m finding this a very useful tool in many ways, and plan to do a separate post on the experience soon.
2. “A Wingding and a Prayer”
This is a new piece of short fiction that I haven’t mentioned previously. After writing my blog post about how Hawley’s Pub gives me character ideas out the ying-yang, I remembered one I’d been meaning to use for a long time … Billy Wingding.
I don’t want to give away too many details, because if you choose, you’ll be able to read the story he led me to soon enough. It will be published in an upcoming issue of eFiction Magazine.
I learned two lessons from this. One is that sometimes it isn’t the stories you mull over and plot out forever that end up being your better work. I’m very proud of this piece, and it came in a rush and from the heart. It went through the same labor pains my other works go through after being written – the setting aside and editing and re-writing with fresh eyes. But at the front end, it came running right out of the gate.
The second lesson? Notification that your work has been accepted and will be published, especially when it comes from a publication you’ve read before and really enjoyed? There’s nothing like it. I spent the weekend I received the acceptance email grinning randomly and probably looking like a Village Idiot. Lee often had to wave his hand in front of my face to get me out of my happy trance. Eventually he gave up and just let me stay there for a while.
I’ve had non-fiction pieces accepted for publication before, and that felt good. But not THIS good.
3. Other Adventures
I completed a short story that I’ll be submitting to Fairy Tale Magazine in hopes of being accepted for their “Cinderella” issue. I resurrected a very short piece I wrote as a class excercise, something called “Last Call,” and put it out there to be workshopped in eFiction’s author’s group. (I must say, I got some of most useful feedback I’ve received to date – even moreso than I’ve gotten in previous writing courses). I’ve decided to take it back to the drawing board and rework it outside the specs of the class exercise as a future project.
I have two other pieces in a sort of limbo land. One is called a “A Tulip in July.” It is a flash fiction piece based on prompt for a writing contest it didn’t win. But I still love it, and am now free to grow it into what it was meant to be.
Lessons learned there? Sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with the piece that didn’t make it. It just needs to go somewhere else. Other times, you let yourself get too close to your work to see its flaws. Now, you need to set it aside until you figure out what will make it better. Neither type of rejection means you suck.
Next up is continuing my work on Man-Whore and reworking “Last Call” and “Tulip.” Also clamoring in my head are some story ideas around prank calls and odd items donated to a thrift shop.
Live, learn and write on.