Category Archives: Short Story

#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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#WriteMonday – Mostly Worldbuilding

So this weekend I managed to actually work a bit on the story I started for the Make Your Way anthology.  I had a really hard time sitting down with it for some reason, but last night I finally started thinking through the characters a little bit.  I guess the problem was that I knew I needed to do some worldbuilding in order to properly think through my characters.  But once I started I ended up on a roll!

One oversight that I made with City of the Dead was that I failed to come up with naming conventions for the world.  I’ve got rough naming conventions for pretty much all the other worlds I’ve come up with because I want to make sure characters from different settings don’t have too similar-sounding names.  So last night I sat down and thought through that; from there I moved on to thinking about the individual characters a little more.  Thinking through everything also made me realize that lands and titles in City of the Dead move through matrilinear lines.  This is a little thing, but it is pretty obvious because City of the Dead is ruled primarily by the Queen (she has a King, but he is in charge of security and military matters while she is the one who does the actual ruling).

I came up with my character motivations as well.  I think I’ve figured out how they think (and why things unfold the way they do).  Last night I was thinking they were an aristocratic family, but after sleeping on it I’m thinking they are not.  While I liked the idea of them being aristocrats (especially because it explains where the family’s father is), I’d then have to figure out either why they don’t have servants or why the servants saw and heard nothing.  Plus having servants in the picture may pose a problem for keeping the character count down (which I want to do because this is going to be a short story).  If they aren’t an aristocratic family, and so don’t have servants, all of these problems become nonexistent.

Most of the work I did was yesterday, but I did find names for the characters today.  I’m planning on doing some more work on things tomorrow afternoon, too.  After that I’ll probably have to turn my attention back to Sustainably North and getting a blog post ready for next week.  Thinking of Sustainably North, today I talked about drinking straws, if you’re interested in reading it. 🙂

I hope everyone has a good and productive week.  🙂

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#WriteMonday – Short Story Submitted!

I did it!  I actually got that short story edited and submitted!

I had a really hard time sitting down to deal with it.  I kept putting off the editing.  Finally on Tuesday I sat down and started writing whatever was on my mind (it was a free write, much like I did years ago in a writing class).  By the time I was at the end of the page, I actually felt inspired and read over the story.  It was in okay shape and didn’t need too many edits.  So I worked on those when I could and finally finished on Friday.  I ended up calling it “A Friend from the Deep;” it’s set on Imezza and deals with a kraken (which is why its working title was the ever original “kraken story.”) I submitting “A Friend from the Deep” to Martian Migraine Press’s Monstrous Outlines: an Anthology of Camouflaged Horror Friday night.  I kind of doubt it will get accepted since that anthology specializes in horror and weird fiction and this piece is probably closer to fantasy (I could have sworn it said it accepted fantasy somewhere but I can’t find whatever I read now). Oh well, the worst that happens is they say no, right? I guess we’ll see what happens.

I need to make sure I remember to free write next time I have a hard time sitting down to work on a project like this!

On Friday I also followed up with my last submission (oh my gosh, that was a year ago!) I *think* the story has been published but I haven’t heard anything from the publisher.  I’ll give more details once I hear back from them. 🙂

So with all that happening on Friday, I had the rest of the weekend for whatever.  I took the rest of Friday night to look over (and clean up) my favourites list on Duotrope.  In doing that I found a few markets that sound pretty interesting; I decided to try writing something for the Make Your Way anthology. Make Your Way is looking for pieces that the audience will have to interact with in some way; I’ve written for projects like Holdfast in the past, so I’m hopeful that I can pull this off.  So I spent a bit of time later on Friday night coming up with a really simple RPG system for use with my story, with the rest of the weekend spent plotting things off and on.

I also spent a little bit of time trying to research tools to help me make this.  I’m a fan of Articy Draft but do not currently have my own copy (I was able to use it for a project I worked on in the past; the license was provided by the company I was working with).  Twine shows some promise, but it’s the type of thing I’ll use if I ever decide to publish this story on the web rather than in a book.  So I ended up defaulting to using my physical white board to plan this out.  Well, until I discovered The GameBook Authoring Tool, which I downloaded and tried out.  I think it’s exactly what I need to link everything together as I go.  So between my white board, my trusty notebook, and The GameBook Authoring Tool, I think I’m good to go for this project!

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#WriteMonday – Happy Labour Day!

It’s #WriteMonday, it’s the end of the summer, and I thought that now would be a good time to reflect on those goals I set for 2018.  To date, the only goal I accomplished from my short list was to read 25 novel-length books. That leaves me with four months left and two goals to go.  I think what I’m going to have to do is set a goal for each month (which will also leave me with an extra month either for a goal that needs a bit more time, or to work on something else).  For September, I think I’m going to finish the short story I was working on in June.  I’d like to get that story out of the way since all it needs now is some edits.  Depending on how long that takes, I may also do a bit of work on Memories (which I think is going to be the RPG Maker game I try to finish this year).

So with that in mind, I spend a couple of hours yesterday writing down everything I could think of about an idea I’ve had for a few weeks now.  I love this idea and would really like to work on it.  But first I need to finish some of my other projects that are on the go before I plot it out (and learn how to write for a whole new medium, which this project will require).

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