Archive for June, 2010

A Successful Week

“Keep in mind that the person to write for is yourself. Tell the story that you most desperately want to read.”
-Susan Isaacs

Read the subject, ladies and gentlemen! It’s been a successful week. Granted, it wasn’t a full-fledged week because we at Flash Me Magazine are taking a break until June 30th. That’s the day we’ll decide which stories we’ve held will actually make the issue. So, not only did my responsibilities at FMM not last through the entire week, but I didn’t have a chapter of either novel I’m critiquing, so there wasn’t much reading to do. But a success is a success!

There were days where I either didn’t read or work on my fiction, but I just made up for it the day after. I think that’s a good plan. Instead of trying to cram a little bit of everything into one day, do a good amount of what I can do one day and then do the rest the following day. Alternating worked this week. 🙂

My online writing course with Gotham Writers’ Workshop is going well. I submitted my homework assignment Saturday (it was due yesterday) which was fairly simple. This week’s assignment requires a bit more work — I must outline an actual article. I already know what the article will be about, so it’s just a matter of laying everything out to where I think it’ll flow well… Reading the lectures, I didn’t really know so much went into article writing. With ledes, nut grafs, hooks… A lot of work but I’m still excited!

I finished rewriting “Like a Fly on the Wall.” I actually managed to trim it beneath 1,000 words and keep the story intact. I feel quite accomplished. I sent it over to a critique friend to see what he thinks of it. If he doesn’t have too much to critique on it, I plan on submitting it to a market very soon. I still haven’t submitted “Moody & Saundra” to another market yet.

Even with all of this writing progress, I still managed to go to dinner and the movies with friends. We saw Toy Story 3 on Friday (which was really good!). On Sunday, my family and I went bowling. Then my friends and I had a movie night yesterday where they came over and we watched White Chicks.

All this writing and hanging out while working a 40-hour week too!

All in all, it was a perfect mix of work and pleasure. Time to do it again! 😉


“Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.”
-John Jakes

So, not long into working at a flash fiction magazine, I decided I wanted to write a flash fiction story. It’s only fitting, right? So, I wrote the story, Like a Fly on the Wall. It ended up being 985 words. Not bad, right? I posted it at my critique site, received excellent feedback, and incorporated a lot of their changes. That rewrite ended up being 1,000 words even.

I posted the rewritten version, received even more great feedback (and some accolades that the story was headed in the right direction) and I’m currently rewriting it again. Tell me how, with this second rewrite, I’m nearly 400 words over what counts as a flash fiction piece?! How is it that with each rewrite I lengthened the story?

Could it be the development I incorporated? Probably. But that’s something that needs to be there, as my characters’ motivations weren’t shining through in the previous two versions. How does a writer decide whether he wants to keep the story what he initially wanted to write (a flash fiction piece) or let the story run with however many words as it wants? Several of the critiques I received said the story wasn’t too big for flash fiction though, just unfocused. I believe I focused it… and I end up with 1,400 words.

Looks like “Backspace” will be a new friend of mine for a little bit. But if I feel I’m beginning to sacrifice the story for word count, story’s gonna have to triumph.

Whenever you think you’re writing what other people want to hear from you, and that it’ll be commercial, you’re doomed to disaster. Writing has to be as truthful and specific as we can make it. The minute we think that we’re reaching more people and pleasing them, we get general. And audiences sense that and turn away, shun us.”
-Terrence McNally

Getting everything done that I need to get done is easy on my days off of work (Monday & Tuesday). It’s the days that I work for eight hours that I need to be sure I keep the reins held tight and not let myself get too laxed.

What is this schedule to which I am referring? Let’s see…

          1. I need to be sure I work on my fiction in progress (whether it be writing, rewriting, or editing). I’m not going to get anywhere as a writer if I don’t have stuff to put out there.

          2. Keeping up with my editor responsibilities at Flash Me Magazine. Especially now that we’re at Quarter End, my presence is required more than before. I do think we’re getting a break somewhere around the beginning of July though… That’s what we’re shooting for anyway.

          3. Now that I’m in a writing course, I need to make sure I do all the work I need to do in a timely fashion. My last course I waited a few days into the week before I began working on that particular week’s homework assignment and I was semi-rushing to get it done. I can’t do that again.

          4. Keeping up with my critiques. Though right now I’m only critiquing two people’s works, I like to read each chapter three times to be sure I don’t miss anything that could help them improve their work.

          5. Read. Yes, I need to be sure I make time to read as well. I would do this at my job, but since I stand at a desk, looking down sometimes hurts my neck. And it isn’t like I can hold the book up at a comfortable eye level.

          6. Blog! I didn’t start this blog for it to sit here and not have posts in it. I’m actually writing this blog as I’m watching TV… What!? I can multi-task. Writing a blog doesn’t require that much concentration, does it? 😉

With all that said, I love that I’m doing all this with writing. 🙂

On a work-related note, last night I was honored with the title of Employee of the Year for 2009. I’m still thinking about the magnitude that holds. Here’s a picture. My eyes look a little dreary but it was either that or not share the picture. 😛

“Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne

I must admit I’m unsure how to start this blog. I’m just going to go with it. I’ll jump right into the action.

I created this blog as a means to keep track and show my life/journey as a writer. This summer I was hoping to either be in Washington or New Hampshire amongst a handful of other students, but I ended up having to make my own writing plans. That’s fine, because I was used to it anyway.

So I enrolled in an online writing class with Gotham Writers’ Workshop which lasts for 10 weeks, starting today (assuming I get a spot since I enrolled yesterday… They’ve yet to send me an e-mail to confirm). It’s a class on article writing. It isn’t fiction (obviously) but I thought it would be good to expose myself to a different form of writing, especially considering where I think this blog may go in the future.

I was planning on creating a blog over the summer anyhow because I intended on attending either Clarion West or Odyssey for 6 weeks (located in Seattle, Washington and Manchester, New Hampshire, respectively). Clarion West rejected me, and while my story “For Zanna”  won me a spot on the waiting list for Odyssey, I never received a call offering me acceptance. So here I am, still in Pennsylvania… It at least gives me more time to save up for next year’s tuition! 🙂

I will say though that the feedback Jeanne Cavelos (the director of Odyssey) offered me on my story was very honest, helpful, and encouraging. I’ve yet to sit down to rewrite “For Zanna” though. I’ll get to it. I’m working on rewriting another story of mine currently — “Like a Fly on the Wall.” It’s my first flash fiction piece and it’s gone through a couple of versions thus far (thanks to my critique group!). I believe the version I’m writing now will be the final draft, then I’ll submit it to a market.

Well, I don’t want to make a novel out of my first blog post and bore anyone who actually sat through and read this. For those who have read this — thank you! I hope to be one of the blogs you’ll come back to and make one of your “frequently visited” blogs.