Technically submitted. The envelope is on my desk, signed and sealed, and awaiting a trip to the post office. I won’t make today’s closing, so it’ll go out on Monday.
This is a record for me: less than one week between writing the first draft, revising, and submitting. The beauty of flash fiction that works. I just seriously hope this one makes it, because the theme is so strong in this story, there is no way I can rewrite it to avoid the “colors of silence” theme.
Posted in Writing
The new story option veered away from the silence theme, as did the second new story option. With seven days left, I have decided to clean up the Angel story as best I can and submit that, and be done with the theme.
All is not lost though; I am pleased with the results of this endeavor. In trying to get Black Violas ready for submission, I ended with a new contest entry, two strong story ideas, and the conversion of Black Violas to either a full length short story or development into a novella.
I learned a lot about writing on theme. I’ve written according to prompts before, and pictures or words that inspire me, but I’ve always allowed myself to let the idea evolve naturally. Deviating from that prompt was necessary. For a contest–that’s pretty much a rejection.
So I have a strong entry for parsec. I’m happy with that. I’m going to spend the next few days making it stronger, and then getting back to my other projects. It’s not just about how much I can do, but how GOOD I can do.
And speaking of good, March was horrible for working out. I managed to walk a few times, but only made it to the gym once. I need to fit it in someplace other wise my sedentary lifestyle is going to be very bad for me and my wardrobe.
Posted in Writing
Talk about storms… my post from this morning is now outdated as far as Black Violas goes. Black Violas is a good story, and the contest theme led me to it, but they don’t fit together. I broke the story elements out to what would fit, but my heart isn’t in it. I like the story the way it is, aside from fixing plot holes and getting it to fix inside the 3500 wordcount limit. So why do I need to do that? I don’t. I can turn this baby into a novella, get into all those nitty gritty details without freaking out about writing a full length novel on this topic.
So my new plan for the parsec contest: I’m taking the elements I broke down and fitting it to a fantasy story, changing the setting from a cave to a forest (because I really don’t need two cave-in stories!), and THIS concept seems to fit the theme better, more naturally.
Here’s the catch: I only have eight days to write, revise, and submit this thing. I am insane, but I’m going to give it a shot!
Eight days. Technically nine, but I need the ninth day to go to my day job and hit the post office, which also happens to fall on Tax Day. Punishment for waiting until the very last minute I suppose, but I’ve been struggling with this story for months. Every time I think Black Violas is done and in the right direction, I’ve discovered a solid reason that it doesn’t work. For the longest time, I had a whisper in my head that I was forcing the theme. And really, I was on the right track, but the way I was using it was forcing it.
The good news is I’ve finally figured out how to fix it. I let go of “I want” and started at the ending, thinking of how the theme and issue could be resolved together, and figured out what needs to happen to get Meghan there. And what’s even better, I get to keep the cave-in scene I liked, I just need to change what planet it happened on. There’s more to it than that, but that’s enough to keep me going.
The bad news? I’m losing my beloved title. I had been trying so hard to keep the part of the story that gave it its title. It was my visual for the entire thing. Oh well. No sense in destroying a story if the title is going to kill it.
Posted in Writing
While analyzing Black Violas, I had inspiration for a new story (also related to the parsec theme) and I wrote it right then and there in the parking lot. Came home and typed it up after dinner and am now looking at the revision. I’ve never written flash fiction before, and it was amazing that I got the elements right. I’m tweaking the details, but I love the story. It’ll come into its own before long.
I know I’m growing as a writer. Before, when someone critiqued me and tore my story apart, I bled. Me. I’d think I was a failure and question why I was doing this to myself. I’m done with that. Critiques are so neccesary to writing fiction. The world and story are so alive in my mind, that I cannot convey it all properly right off. Maybe if I had six months to forget the story and read it anew, that would help. But I’d still need the view of someone who hasn’t had any exposure to it at all. It’s invaluable.
So, Black Violas: I got back two critiques from writers, and two from non-writers. They all helped me understand what isn’t working. It was an early draft, I knew it needed work, but I didn’t realize how much I really tried to cram into a short story. It seems what I need to do is go in with a highlighter and find everything related to the single most important idea in the story, and anything that supports that. And start the next revision with just that.
It means cutting another character, and actually, I’m all right with that. What’s helping me is believing that the story as is, is a novel synopsis, so I can play with all my complications later on, in a stronger form. It’s allowing me to let go of what isn’t critical for this small piece to work.
There is less than a month until the contest deadline, and I have two other deadlines before it. This is definitely shaping up to be an interesting year–and I am not backing down from the challenge.
Watering the Black Violas is in the edit process now. It’s drastic in that the pov is shifting from third to first, and while I’m keeping the events fairly close to the original, it’s easier to jsut rewrite it into a clean new file. I’m eager to get it done, but I’m guessing it’ll take a few days at my evening writing pace. Then I can send it off for crit.
I finally remembered what happened this weekend (sick child and stress and exhaustion) and the bad news is I feel it sneaking up on me now.
Onto the writing: I hit a breakthrough on the story I’m writing on for the parsec contest. I wrote the ending first and now I’m on the beginning which is weird for me but a change in routine is good for the brain. It confuses the muse, but she gets into the swing of it. I think it amuses her. The title is Watering the Black Violas, and it wound its way into science fiction. The original ending I wrote is already obsolete, but that’s all right. It helped me find my path for this story which I can’t wait to share.
Hunter isn’t an edit, it’s a rewrite. The new ending I have in mind is good, and it ties together the story threads quite nicely. I want to salvage a few parts of the original story, I worked in a lot of imagery that adds to the ghostly feel of the story and I want to keep that. The main character is still the hunter, but he’s not so much hunted as he’s caught between a rock and a hard place. He becomes judge jury and executioner.
As for the parsec story, I’ve jotted down about a dozen ideas I could write. I’m going to pick my favorite and run with it. The contest allows up to four entries per writer, so I’ll take it one story at a time, and just try to vary the use of the theme and genre to make them as different as possible. I started the first story over lunch, and it’s a little creepy. I wrote the ending first actually, which is unusual for me, and the fate of these characters is kind of sickening but fascinating at least to me. I just need to keep writing it and see what it turns into or rather, starts with.
I really like the theme — Color of Silence — and I swear they must’ve picked it for me this year. Last year’s theme was Dark Glass and I almost had a story for it, but just didn’t commit to it. The prior year just stumped me (Metallic Feathers). I know I can write to a theme, and finally I’ve got one that just sings to me. I can’t waste the opportunity. Hopefully the story will sing too.