It has occurred to me that I never announced the next Short Story Genre Challenge genre. Although I failed the challenge in February, I am continuing in March. The genre for March is .....
February was not a great month for me. I spent half of it looking for work, interviewing, etc. I got hired, but then immediately came down with the Flu. It swept through our house, making everyone miserable and postponing our Valentine's Day celebration.
Another casualty of February was my short story challenge story. I had trouble getting into the genre(western) and hardly wrote anything at all during the short month. I did, however, finish another shortie I'd started last year called "The Death of Whip Morgan."
While not a total loss, I'm not sorry to see the back of February. Bring on March and the St. Patrick's season!
It is time to announce this month's Short Story Genre Challenge genre. The genre for the month of February is:
The story can be a contemporary western, a space western, any kind of western you like! Stories will be due February 25th.
January's story came together kind of last minute. I had an idea for a story, but when I began to write it, I knew it wouldn't work as a shortie. I was writing part of a novel, and it would remain part of a novel no matter what I tried to do with it.
After some brainstorming, I came up with a new idea and wrote the first and very rough draft in two days. That was a rush! Nearly a month-long word drought and then they just came pouring out of my fingers like water.
I'm looking forward to February's challenge category. I hope to get a better start on it than I did on January's.
Welcome to my short story challenge!
The first order of business is to change the name of the challenge, partly because it's not easy to say or remember, and partly because an acronym search revealed the MGSC is already taken by the "Mouse Genome Sequencing Consortium."
The challenge shall henceforth be called: Short Story Genre Challenge.
The SSGC genre for the January story will be...[insert drum roll here]...
Short stories are due by the 25th of the month, which gives a nice three weeks in which to plot, research, write and edit. Good luck to all participants. You may begin...now.
December got away from me and here we are in a new year. Goodbye, 2017! It was a fairly good year for writing. I reached my 2017 word goal with one minute to spare, and I nearly finished the first draft of my mainstream novel.
On to 2018:
This year, I want to work more on short stories. I will be doing a Multi-Genre Short Story Challenge, hereafter referred to as MGSC(the 's' stands for "shorties"). This challenge is not official in any way, and was designed by myself, in conjunction with my editor at Collier Bluff Books, as a fun way to explore other genres.
The MGSC guidelines are fairly simple. I shall write a short story each month, from January through June of 2018, with each story being in a different genre. The deadlines for the shorties will be the 25th of each month.
You are all welcome to join in the fun. There is no prize other than bragging rights and the satisfaction of having written something this year. I shall announce the month's official genre here on this blog. Suggestions for genres or sub-genres are welcome. Leave a comment or shoot me an email.
Also new this year is me not having a day job. This may be a temporary change, but I intend to take full advantage of the time to write, and write some more. Good luck in the new year, everyone!
It's still a bit early for the reflective post about my writing in the year 2017, but I am pleased with what I've accomplished thus far.
I have two goals remaining for this year: finish the first draft of the family drama novel rewrite and reach my yearly word goal from the 365K Challenge group I'm in. Thankfully, I can achieve these simultaneously. I will be considering this an accountability post.
A brief look ahead to 2018: I have so many things planned for next year(actually 9 things, but it's a solid list). Here are just a few of them....
1. I will be researching web comics and the possibility of creating one for this lovely site. The research on this is technically already underway, as I have been reading Stan Lee's "How to Write Comics" just for something to do.
2. There will also be a short story challenge, which I will post and tweet about in more detail toward the end of the year.
3. Family drama novel will not be forgotten. After a few weeks or months of "curing" in a virtual drawer, it will be thoroughly edited through the second and third drafts.
Getting back to December, I have a major rewrite of a previous major rewrite to tackle, unless I decide to skip it and write the ending, making for a very rough draft. Based on how the month goes, I may do just that for the sake of finishing it.
Now, to get back to writing, because these books don't finish themselves....
Happy All NaNo's Eve!
NaNoWriMo has been steadily approaching, by which I mean that I knew it was coming because November happens every year. This year it has sneaked up on me and ohmygosh, it’s October 31st!
I am primarily a pantser. I don’t like outlining, but I do it when I get stuck, or when I have November looming over me, seemingly out of nowhere because, come on guys, how did October go by so fast?
Last year, I tried prepping a little. I did some bare bones outlines of a couple of story ideas. These consisted mainly of the story title, basic plot, possible ending, and a few sub plots and scenes I thought I might add. It was essentially me taking notes while brainstorming. And you know what? Last year I finished NaNo for the first time. Granted, I went rebel in the middle. I made the mistake of writing an election based story during a Presidential election year, and got sick of all things election before hitting 50,000. However, it got my writing juices flowing and helped me to finish the word count. I didn’t follow the outline exactly, but it was a good source of inspiration when I got stuck, especially the scene ideas.
So here we are on October 31st and I’ve done almost no prep. I have chosen the story I will work on(rebel again, I started it last November). I have announced it on the NaNo website. That’s it. That’s all I’ve done. I feel unprepared, but still excited.
To ease the growing anxiety over not having prepped, 50,000 words being a lot, I’ve decided to create an emergency outline. It looks like this:
It took five minutes.
Here’s hoping November doesn’t go as fast as October seemed to.
Years ago, I experienced the exhilaration of telling someone I was a writer, followed immediately by the horror of botching the explanation of my plots. I blanked. I bombed. They lost interest and we were both confused. I slunk out of the chat room and called my sister for sympathy and commiseration.
Since then, I've read several articles on elevator pitches, and their effectiveness, or lack thereof, in presenting books as something that might actually evoke interest. My few attempts at creating pitches have been halfhearted and my natural introversion has made real life pitch attempts few and far between.
A few weeks ago, I brought up my book to a local artist. She asked what it was about. This was it, what I had been waiting for. I had practiced. I knew what I was going to say. And....I blew it again. I started off ok, but then she asked what my main character does for a living and I blanked again. It was confusing and frustrating, but it had gone better than the last one. The worst part was how I could feel her interest waning.
I've been working on a better pitch, one I can memorize. I'll be trying it out on a few people to see how it goes. If nothing else, I'll at least have the comfort of knowing that I can't get any worse at this than I already am.
The month of June was tough. The kids are home from school and I have to share the bandwidth. I was on a new diet, which sapped my energy, including creative energy. It was a struggle to write anything, and there were many days on which I wrote nothing at all. On the flip side, I took full advantage of a strange late night hyper-focus that improved my editing. Perhaps carb restriction has some benefits to writing....
However, I am back to writing every day and it is awesome! I have a lot of catching up to do, but I'm glad for anything I accomplished last month.
Summertime is hot and gradually more humid, neither of which lend themselves to creativity in my house. I yearn for the invigorating crispness of Fall that sets my imagination churning.
Although I've struggled with writing, I've still been reading like it's going out of fashion. I'm working my way through @StephenKing 's Dark Tower series, and am also re-reading his On Writing, which is my favorite book about writing thus far.
I've re-read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which I thoroughly enjoyed for it's humor and absurdity. Before that, I read American Gods by Neil Gaiman.
Next up is some non-fiction that I picked up at a garage sale: Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy. That is, if I can find which stack I put it in. I am in desperate need of bookshelves.
Here's to the rest of summer and(God willing) working air conditioning! May the words flow freely!(I will edit them later.)