Wednesday, April 27, 2011

May is Short Story Month

I was going to do some more self-promotion here, but thought it more timely to mention that according to Emerging Writers Network, May is  Short Story Month. If you check out their website, you will see the commitments that the host of the celebrated site, Dan Wickett, has made for the month. What are yours?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Plot Whisperer

I've been a bit remiss in not mentioning this excellent resource earlier. I first learned about The Plotwhisperer when I finished Nanowrimo this fall, and found a link to the Plotwhisper videocast. Plotwhisperer Martha Alderson takes all of us with those hopeless first drafts step by step through the process of redrafting and rethinking. Due to some difficulties, technical and otherwise in the month of December, I kind of lost the plot on this, so to speak, but plan to resume it again in the not too distant future.

My personal aside about all this is that watching the first video, I was struck by how very familiar the
setting felt. I didn't recognize it specifically, as it was someone's backyard, but there was a deeply Santa Cruz feel to it, for reasons that elude me even now. And sure enough, after a few more episodes, it ended up down by the Santa Cruz yacht harbor (fortunately, pre-tsunami), so I then knew it was a local connection.

Last month a couple of women came in and used the bookstore I work in as a setting for a little video they were doing. I had walked past them both several times as they were setting up, and they had some sort of big easel they were using, which for some reason I took to be for Japanese art. So it wasn't until sometime later as I was walking past that I heard the video as it was made and thought 'that's the plotwhisper!" When they had wrapped up and come back to the information desk, I was able to speak witht them both and tell them how much I was enjoying their YouTube series. They were both quite lovely.

Anyway, without further ado, here's a link to the Plot Whisperer which in turn has links to the whole YouTube series. It's really good. (And up through some part of May, there's even a contest!)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Red Wheelbarrow and "The Package"

So I thought I'd finally kick this blog into gear and start using it as a place to talk about some stories I have out there. That's not going to be the only focus, but I thought aspiring writers might benefit or enjoy or at least be willing to read some of my take on the publishing experience. Although I believe at this point all first publishing rights have reverted to me, luckily enough for lazy me, a few of my stories still have a kind of half life on the web, so I will take that as a beginning here and eventually move on to some that don't.

"The Package" was the first story I ever got published. It was far from the first story I'd ever written, or tried to publish or anything, but all the same, it was the first one that got picked up by a real literary journal and for that I am forever grateful. Randolph Splitter of Red Wheelbarrow Literary Magazine picked this one up after I had pretty much despaired of anyone liking anything I did and for that I remain profoundly grateful. For some reason, this issue unlike other years is downloadable HERE, and of course it's entirely acceptable if you are distracted and waylaid by the interview with Khaled Hosseini of The Kite Runner fame that immediately proceeds it. But 'The Package' begins on page 96.

When you're just getting stuff out there after a lot of rejection, you may tend to be a bit afraid of what friends will think of it. But with the small circle I did mention this one to, I was very interested in the kinds of responses it brought up about the mysterious and ambiguous packages they'd crossed paths with. And I'd be happy to hear your stories too.

Oh, and by the way, I'm not that afraid of comments anymore. Unless you're a spammer, go right on ahead.   

Friday, April 8, 2011

Submission tips from 500 Words on Words

Over at too rare but excellent 500 Words on Words, Nathaneal Green has some good and practical tips on getting your short story published. I've submitted a few in my own time, some of which actually have gotten published and some fewer of which are still available on line. I'm planning on posting some links here over time, because really, why not? But meanwhile check out Nate's post HERE. His advice is uniformly sensible and sane.

Nate had a story published recently in  a new and cool little mag called Fractured West which features short, short stories. I ordered a copy and it arrived a few days ago. I've only read Nate's so far, which is excellent--had me going one way, then flipped me around in another. I'm looking forward to reading the rest soon.

Oh, here's a blog post I just  accidentally found with a bit more about Fractured West.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Favorite short stories

How can I pass up an opportunity to write a worthwhile post without doing any real work myself? Over at Declan Burke's Crime Always Pays, he's offering a chance to win a book of great British crime for the small effort and pleasure of posting  your favorite short story. Quite a nice list is developing of things I  hope to get around to, and at the very least this is a good way for me to bookmark said list and come back to it. I'm getting a bit confused as to whether the book is called The Mammoth Book of Best British Mysteries 8, or the Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 8, but either way, it has absolutely a ton of my current favorite crime writers, so I'll be getting my hands on this one, one way or another.