Archive for September, 2011


“The desire to write grows with writing.”
 -Desiderius Erasmus

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I finished the first Campaigner Challenge. It started out one way and then evolved into this story. I think it’s decent, considering it’s only 200 words (EXACTLY, according to Word’s word count). I’m not used to writing things this short, so hopefully people enjoy it! (Like it? You can vote here. I’m entry #318)

BIRTHDAY NIGHT

The door swung open after I had closed it. Jared followed me into my house. What he did was bad enough, but now he had to invade my home?

“Can we talk, Kaley?” He asked.

This was supposed to be a nice birthday dinner and celebration of our three-year dating anniversary.  He had to go and ruin it.

“By ‘talk’ do you mean ‘go behind my back’?” I let down my hair.

“I thought I was doing something you’d appreciate.”

“You threw out my Snuggie.”

“It was dry rotting.”

“You still don’t throw out someone else’s stuff!” I turned around and walked into the kitchen.

I heard Jared leave the house and come back with a wrapped box. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I shouldn’t have thrown it out.” He offered me the gift.

I glared at him and took it. I opened it and saw that a brand new Snuggie was inside. I turned my face from him as I removed it from the box. A lump rose in my throat when I read the love note embroidered onto the Snuggie.

“There’s something else,” he said.

I turned around, and Jared was on one knee, holding a much smaller box.

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“We keep going back, stronger, not weaker, because we will not allow rejection to beat us down. It will only strengthen or resolve. To be successful there is no other way.”
 -Earl G. Graves

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In my e-mail yesterday, I received a letter from The Rose & Thorn Journal. I had sent them a story a few months back and I just got word of my rejection. Go, me! Go, me! Haha. All is well. Honestly, it’s just nice to hear back from any market about any of my stories at this point. I have five other stories at other markets (one currently submitted to the Writers of the Future contest, so I expect a long time for that). I think it’s time to query some of the magazines, though. I’ll have to double-check their estimated timeframes on their website before I do.

In Campaigner news, the first challenge is released:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: “the door swung shut.” (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

It surprised me how many Campaigners already posted their pieces! I have until Friday to write my piece, so I’m good. I did start on it already, which felt GREAT. It’s been a while since I sat down to write something new… I love writing.

Let’s Be Definitive

“More than half, maybe as much as two-thirds of my life as a writer is rewriting. I wouldn’t say I have a talent that’s special. It strikes me that I have an unusual kind of stamina.”
 -John Irving

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A writer isn’t doing his or her job if he or she isn’t understood.

When we write, we have to be clear and precise. We aren’t perfect, but the more we identify small phrases that don’t help our fiction, the more our fiction will have an impact.

I suppose you’re wondering what “small phrases” I’m referring to? Phrases such as “kind of” and “sorta” and “a little” are a few from the top of my head. What do those phrases really contribute? More often than not, they weaken what it is we want to say. I will show you examples from my own work (none of which are in their final drafts).

Using the “Find” feature in Word, I searched my stories for phrases such as: a little, kind of, and sorta. Let’s see what we find.

Brace yourselves.

We’re going to have to be a little bit deceptive. We’re going to need to be a little dirty.

Personally, I even have an issue with the way I constructed these sentences, but we won’t speak on that. Let’s focus on the two words a little (and “a little bit” in the first sentence. Cringe). I must’ve really enjoyed those two words because I have them in there twice! All joking aside, the sentences would be much stronger if those words were omitted.

Let’s move onto another story…

I preferred it a little divided.

As opposed to a lot divided? I’m not sure what I was thinking when I wrote that. Maybe I was still reeling from NaNoWriMo and I was trying to get in as many words as possible. In the context I wrote this, my intent was to express the narrator’s preference for divided attention. As you see, I could have gotten that across better.

You’ve been kind of quiet.

Depending on the circumstances, this one could pass. But generally speaking, I think you’ve either been quiet or you haven’t been. Throwing in “kind of” only distorts the meaning.

I found it kind of nice of her.

Please, don’t throw your stones. I’m just as appalled as you. Sometimes these phrases work well though (i.e. “I love that she’s that kind of person”) so just because you find it in your work, don’t jump at deleting it. But do examine it.

It is supposed to be a sort of distress beacon.

So it sort of sends a beacon of distress, but not really? Does it work half the time and the other half it doesn’t? Is it part distress beacon, part toaster? What am I saying?!

After seeing the flaws in my own writing, I suggest you go do a search in your own work and yank out these useless words.

Have fun!

The Return of Power…

“The number one thing I am earnestly attracted to is intelligence. Writers are thus the pinnacle of intelligence. While actors are great and awesome, writers literally create new worlds from scratch. What is sexier than that? Personally, I don’t know why every person out there isn’t dating a writer.”
 -Rachel Bloom

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Depending on where you’re reading this from (and whether you have family and friends on the East Coast, I suppose), you may have heard of Irene. Many people talked about her — the distance she’d travel, the speed she’d go, the amount of water suspected to drop.

Clearly, I’m talking about Hurricane Irene. I live in northeastern Pennsylvania, but not east enough to get the worst of Irene. I wasn’t really in her direct path. I mean, we got hit, but the weather where I was didn’t turn out to be that bad. Then again, I like rain and heavy wind, so take my assessment for what it’s worth. But I’ve seen worse before. With that said, the weather didn’t stop my power from being out from Sunday early evening to Wednesday early evening. Though, it went out pretty much after the storm passed. Figure that one out.

o.O

Just wanted to let everyone know that me and my family are safe. I hope others are safe as well, especially the ones who had to endure a lot more than I did.

Throughout my blackout, I did have internet access on my BlackBerry, which is how I was able to approve and post comments here. But surfing the net on your phone is a little tedious. I found myself laying in bed early because there was nothing to do. I even pulled out my Firefly DVDs Tuesday night and enjoyed that. 🙂

But with that said, I have some blogs to visit, some TV shows to catch up on, and some writing to do! 🙂