Category Archives: Short Story

#WriteTuesday

Just a really quick update today.  First, for the exciting stuff: one of the author interviews I did for TBPL Off the Shelf was published in a book!  It was the Interview with Amor Towles – it was published in Contemporary American Fiction, Volume 3, which was edited by Harold Bloom.  Contemporary American Fiction, Volume 3 is published by Bloom’s Literary Criticism, which is an imprint of Chelsea House Publishers and Infobase Learning.

Now for the less exciting stuff: I heard back from Mythic about “A Friend from the Deep” and they rejected it, too. 😦  Now that it’s been rejected again, I’m going to have to sit down with it and look it over.  I suspect I need to give it a good edit before sending it out once again.

So now that that’s out of the way, I also spent some time over the weekend play testing a friend’s game.  He made it with RPG Maker (and has been working on it a lot over the last while).  The game was super fun, and I got quite into it (and then it ended because it’s only a demo!) 😦  I’m quite excited to see how it develops. 🙂

After playing it though, I wanted to get back into working on some of my RPGs.  So I’m going to try to power through both my Sustainably North planning and the Make Your Way story so I can get back to one of my RPGs soon. 🙂

How’s your week been?  Anything new and exciting? 🙂

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Heard Back from Asymmetry!

Just a quick note to say that I heard back from Asymmetry about “A Friend from the Deep.”  Unfortunately they rejected the story. 😦

So I went back to the Duotrope listings and discovered MYTHIC: A Quarterly Science Fiction & Fantasy Magazine.  I liked that they are looking for fantasy from more diverse settings than the typical medieval one, so I decided to try my luck with them.  Unfortunately their deadline for submissions was today, so I didn’t really have a lot of time for editing “A Friend from the Deep”.  But I did give it a once over (and made a few edits) before sending it their way.  So we’ll see what happens this time. 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Finished with all the Decluttering!

This last week taught me a valuable lesson: I really shouldn’t make huge goals for January.  With the holidays not quite ending for me until around the middle of the month, I found myself feeling just generally overwhelmed over the last few weeks trying to fit everything in.  Since my last #WriteTuesday post, I spent a lot of time continuing to straighten up my place; I sorted through a lot of old documents, both physical and digital.  I finished scanning all the old notebooks I’ve been wanting to scan, and shredded/recycled their pages.  By Sunday I was feeling like I was actually on top of things for the first time this month (and wasn’t feeling so overwhelmed by all the things I had to do anymore).

So yesterday I finally turned back to the story I’m working on for the Make Your Way anthology.  I’m not going to lie: over the last few weeks I started wondering if I should even bother to finish it because it was stressing me out a lot and I’m not quite sure why.  I know a lot has to do with getting all the different branches to work on the story.  Another part has to do with my intention of making it a game book, but it was sort of stuck as a regular choose your own adventure story (so a branching story but without the game elements built in).  And I think I just didn’t plan it out as well as I should have, so I was getting a bit stuck while trying to figure out how the story should flow.  But I know I’ve had a lot of trouble finishing things in the past, so I’d really like to persevere and get this done.  But I think I need to take the pressure off myself a bit with it; with that in mind, I’m not going to be fighting to get it finished by the end of the month (not that it would be – I still have to finish writing the first draft before starting edits).

But it is slowly taking shape!  Yesterday afternoon, I got all of the threads of the story to the same point: the player has found what evidence they can, so now they’re going to go and confront the person they suspect is behind the disappearance you’re looking into.  Check out the new graph:

flowchart of my story so far - it now has colours showing endings and choices

The red and purple colours show different endings points for the story so far. The blue and turquoise colours show different RPG choices the player can make.

As you can see, I’ve added in about 10 more sections since last week, so that’s definitely progress!  I’m actually rather excited to get started on the endgame stuff now – I had ideas for it long before I planned out the middle stuff!

Also, I’m not quite sure why section 30 is just floating around in space near the top.  I connected it to section 21 after saving the graph, so it isn’t unconnected to anything anymore.

So my plan is going to be to keep working on this in February.  But I think I’m also going to work on another short story (I was eyeing up another market and had an idea for it, so I’d like to work on that, too).  I know I’ve had a hard time sitting down and working on this story all month, so I’m hoping that if I’m feeling blocked, working on the second story will help get me unstuck.  We’ll see!

Oh and in case you’re wondering how my lucky bamboo is doing, here’s a picture I took of it on Sunday:

bamboo living in filtered water - one week

It’s still turning yellow a bit, but not nearly as fast as it was previously.  I’m going to leave it alone this week, then change its water next week as my friend instructed me.  We’ll see how it’s doing next weekend. 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Working on the Make Your Way Story!

Well, last week was a very long week.  I was sick with a very sore throat.  I ended up doing far more reading than writing because reading was easier to concentrate on (I read three books, plus finished another one I was part way through!)  I’m not back to normal yet, but I am feeling a lot better now!

So yesterday I sat down to work on some writing.  I got sidetracked by a friend who asked me to read over the beginnings of his story; I suggested a few edits and we talked about it for a bit before I went to work on my own stuff. 🙂

Rather than work on Sustainably North, or on something for bUneke Magazine like I have been doing, I actually worked on my story for the Make Your Way Anthology.  The last time I did any work on the actual computer document (not background stuff in a notebook), I was still writing with the assumption that the guy was looking for the lady, not the other way around.  So I had to spend some time swapping the two around before I could write anything new.  Once that was done, I wrote out about 1,400 new words in the afternoon, and another 1000 in the evening.  Here’s what the story’s flow chart looks like so far:

flowchart of my story so far

As you can see, I’ve fleshed out one side of the story (if you choose to see where the couple fought), but haven’t done anything with the other side (if you choose to investigate Amado’s house).  Segments 16 and 21 both end this part of the story; they’ll be leading into the next chapter, so to speak (meeting with one of the character’s sister).  The next thing I’ll be working on is how the story will flow if you choose to go to segment 9 (examining Amado’s house) instead.  I want to get that part of the story up to the same point (deciding you need to meet with the sister); once that’s done I’ll continue on to the end.

I’m very happy with the amount of work I was able to put into this yesterday!  I’m hoping to get a first draft done by next week.  Wish me luck. 🙂

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Heard Back from Zooscape!

Just a quick note to say that I heard back from Zooscape about “A Friend from the Deep.”  Unfortunately they rejected the story, but the editor said she enjoyed reading it – just that it wasn’t what they were looking for. So that is promising! 🙂

While cruising through the Duotrope listings, looking for another place to submit it, I came across Asymmetry, a website that publishes new stories every week.  I read a few of the stories there (notably “I Came From the Deep” and “In the Time of the Birds“) and loved them; after reading them, I decided to try submitting “A Friend from the Deep” to them.  We’ll see how it goes this time. 🙂

 

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The First #WriteTuesday of 2019!

Happy 2019 everyone! Welcome back to another #WriteTuesday – the first one for the year! 🙂

Unfortunately this weekend I ended up getting sick.  So I stayed home, drank a lot of tea, ate a lot of soup, and just generally tried to get better.  It’s been slow going though – my throat has been sore and just hasn’t gotten better. :/

But in other news, over the weekend I heard back from Martian Migraine Press about “A Friend from the Deep.”  Unfortunately it was rejected (which I was kind of expecting).  So I looked through my list of saved markets on Duotrope and found a potential match for the piece in Zooscape.  I sent “A Friend from the Deep” off to them and shall now resume waiting.  I found myself obsessively checking my email that day to see if it got rejected by them, so I had to distract myself by going through some other emails, like the weekly ones Duotrope sends out; I found a few more markets that sound interesting, so once I get the story for the Make Your Way anthology done I’ll start working on stuff for them.

Yesterday afternoon I spent a lot of time reading the newest issue of bUneke Magazine (and scheduling tweets about it for @SustaintheNorth).  This month’s magazine is full of some great articles about environmental issues plaguing our planet.  It’s also got the first book review I wrote for them (I adapted one of the ones on Sustainably North) as well as my usual monthly column (which also happens to be a blog post adapted from Sustainably North).  I actually sent the next two month’s articles for bUneke Magazine to the editor on the 2nd, so I’m now a little bit ahead for that! 😀

In the early evening I worked on next Monday’s post for Sustainably North.  I decided to write about bUneke Magazine because I’m excited about the book review, plus Mary, the editor of bUneke Magazine, sent me pictures of that and my column.  With that done, I’m going to turn away from bUneke stuff for the next few weeks, particularly on Sustainably North; I feel like the blog and its Twitter feed has gotten really caught up with the magazine, and I’d like to just focus on the blog alone for a little bit.

After that, I went through some emails for a bit.  But by that point I felt like I had been at the computer for way too long, so I went to go and read.  So that’s been my week: relatively productive despite being sick.  How has yours been? 🙂

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#WriteMonday – Lots of Doubt

Over the last week, I found myself really struggling with doubt when it comes to working on the short story for the Make Your Way anthology.  Specifically, I’ve been doubting myself and my ability to write this piece.

Deep down I know this doubt is silly.  I’ve worked on similar projects in the past, most notably Holdfast.  Holdfast is a game book that was developed by Black Chicken Studios.  For Holdfast, I worked on two separate story lines.  I developed the characters, and had to write out a branching story (rather like a Choose Your Own Adventure story) complete with a couple of RPG choices.  And I did it all within a week.  This experience is exactly what I need to call on for the Make Your Way anthology.

Perhaps part of the problem is that this specific experience happened five years ago.  Yes I have done it, but I haven’t done anything quite like this recently.  And in truth, this project is a little more intense than Holdfast was (even though all the work I did for Holdfast happened within one week, which is a very tight turnaround time); where in Holdfast I was just writing the story stuff, this time around I’m designing the RPG system, editing everything, and having to randomize the sections at the end, too.  So it’s possible that this stuff is intimidating me a little bit, too.

Another thing that I’m worried about is the story ballooning out of control.  Being a choose your own adventure style story, having multiple paths increases the replayability.  But it also means the story becomes physically much bigger.  While Make Your Way didn’t have any word length specifics, they do remind you that whatever you submit is just one part of a bigger book, not a standalone book on its own. How do I keep the word count down while making sure the piece is fun?  Should I sacrifice replayability by making it a super linear story?  I don’t really want to, but it might be the only way forward.

While grappling with all of these doubts, I have made a bit of progress.  I have the main characters figured out.  And I’ve brainstormed a lot of individual story elements (including a possible bad ending!)  I think at this point I really just need to sit down, start writing, and see where things go, even with all the doubts.  So wish me luck as I do that this week! 🙂

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