Submitting!

I have a story ready for submission to whatever writing contests/publications seem appropriate. I have only one in mind right now, but I would like to submit it to other places.

The story is a semi-futuristic tale – that is, it’s set in the future, but we haven’t gotten to the point of flying cars, A.I., or intergalactic space travel yet – commenting on several things, most importantly certain problems with the world and how most people who know about them don’t really consider it to be their problem. It’s between 1,000 and 2,000 words. All of my feedback from my beta readers has been excellent. They love the story, and I think it’s in the right condition to submit. I would put the story on the blog, but I want to make absolutely sure it won’t be rejected due to being “previously published.”

If, reading this, you can think of a writing contest, online publication, or literary magazine that accepts simultaneous submissions and might consider my story, comment and let me know where to look for them. If you don’t know whether they accept simultaneous submissions, that’s okay – just give me a link to a website. They usually have that information with submission guidelines. I don’t expect much response to this, but if you do relate any info to me I thank in you advance for your help! ^_^

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What to Expect

I haven’t been doing much writing lately, although I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about numerous ideas for stories and microfiction pieces. Things have been rather crazy the past few weeks, but they should be far more settled now – so I should be getting more onto the page, instead of having to settle for writing in my head. Once I’ve had a chance to do so, perhaps I will be able to post things like:

A “collection” of microfictions, the title having something to do with Garden.

A story in fantastic imagery from the point of view of a young homeless woman.

More about the Helen of Troy novel.

And, I’m sure, quite a bit more.

Someday, I Will

I’ve been considering lately how much I would enjoy creating my own publication. Whether it would be a one-time endeavor or an ongoing pursuit, I haven’t decided – perhaps it would have something to do with how it went the first time. Just the idea of creating something from start to finish completely by myself – not including the writing, as it would be a thing requiring submissions from other writers – appeals to me. With my own writing I’d rather it be published by someone else, but I would really enjoy making a publication using other people’s writing.

I might not be the best person to create a largely successful writing publication. I have good editing skills and a good aesthetic sense, and I could create a website that would appeal to readers and would display the writing well. Getting submissions, and then getting it in view for a wide readership, is another story. I don’t know much about publicity, as you could probably tell from looking at the views on this blog. I know things that one can do in theory to publicize a website (or print publication), but they don’t always work as you might expect. I suppose at that point it’s the writing that does the work, and if that part is well-chosen I would certainly get more views.

Of course, this is very speculative. I don’t have money to pay for a domain name, which means that I would most likely have to create another free blog for it – and I have two, and only maintain this one. I would enjoy the experience but it would not be lucrative, and so I’d still have to manage gainful employment. At the moment, such an endeavor might just be too much for me to manage.

I am keeping this idea on the table. “The” meaning my table – my list of things to do. Who knows, maybe I’ll pick it up again a few months from now – or maybe I’ll wait until I’ve got a reliable fan base from works being published, and then start an anthology project, or a semi-annual online literary magazine. I love the idea of this. I will continue to consider it.

What do you think?

Helen Update

Since the last time I posted anything from my Helen of Troy novel, we have met Hector, Prince of Troy, and had a few more ominous clues regarding Helen and her relationships with her family members. However, the entire work so far is still less than 15 pages, and the amount of time I’ve spent working on it lately is next to nothing.

It isn’t writer’s block that I have. It’s the uncertainty of other things in my life that prevents me from writing. I get what I like to call Deadbeat Artist’s Guilt. While I’m jobless, running out of money with no income to make up for what I have to spend, I tend to feel bad about spending my efforts working on writing, instead of job searching. Writing is more important to me, and I am much happier when I write regularly, but I need to make money. I and everyone else know this. Therefore, instead of focusing on my creative work, I attempt to put my energy toward getting a job, and therefore, money. So far this has not resulted in employment, but still – my practical side can’t justify the time I would spend on writing until I have the ability to afford the cost of living.

Of course, I feel bad about NOT writing, also. Sometimes I feel that I owe Helen an apology. (I don’t ever act on that, because I think it’s important to keep in mind that your characters are FICTIONAL. Even if your writing is based on real people you know personally, the version of them that appears on the page is not the real person – rather, that version is a fictional person inspired by the real life version.) I’ve been neglecting her – and she wants to grow up, yet at the moment she’s stuck at age 7 or 8.

I think that another reason for my lack of writing is that the story is not concretely formed in my head yet. The beginning I felt strongly, and certain points of the story are very clear in my mind, but I can’t see her entire journey. I feel as if I can’t portray her world properly until I do the research on the myths and the history, but I also don’t want to focus too much on “accuracy.” I plan to do research at some point, but it didn’t feel necessary to me to complete that part before doing the first draft write. I’m going to stick to that, just to prove that I was right…

And, if luck leans in my favor, this unproductive streak will not last much longer.

Write About Anything: “Insomnia”

In the night I lie in bed. Stars, invisible through ceilings and city air, burn through me, through the body of the earth and out the other side, until their light and life-force collides with the light from other stars. I am awake, but dreaming. My mind leads me to places fantastic and mundane, images of what will happen tomorrow and things that will never happen, specters I will never meet. Fairies chuckling and monsters shimmering. I suspect that if I saw such things in real life, I would be unable to look directly at them for fear of them disappearing, or of them being too real. And when at last I drift off, the dreams I have in sleep are fuzzy and unformed. I wake feeling unrefreshed, as if my lucid half-nightmares beckon to me, enticing me back into their world.

Thoughts on Reading: The Tale of Murasaki

I’ve been reading The Tale of Murasaki by Liza Dalby for some time now. On some days I’ll sit and read 50 pages, others only 5, making the going overall rather slow. I’m about halfway through now, and having made an observation that I find interesting, decided to share it.

This book is description-heavy. On every page there is some description of the surroundings, so much imagery that the book is like an overstuffed furniture piece of a story. Now, I’m not saying this is a bad thing. On the contrary – overstuffed furniture tends to be very comfortable – the kind you can sink into and not want to leave for hours. And, as the story is told from the point of view of a writer (and we tend to be observant people), the extreme level of imagery is not out of place. I only notice because it’s not common to have quite that much description.

I recollect that even in other books that do seem to describe the scenery quite often, the author will give you enough to picture where the characters are and then move on. While seamlessly weaving in plot and dialogue among the bombardment of images, Liza Dalby seems, at times, to continuously remind you where Murasaki is. (Or, Murasaki constantly reminds you/herself of where she is.) It emphasizes Murasaki’s awareness of the world. I do think it’s brilliant, and the writing is so artful that it doesn’t get old – not to mention how beautiful a picture of Japan is created by the descriptions. It seems to me, as well, that it takes an extra dose of dedication to keep up such an approach throughout a 400-500 page book.

Now, out of curiosity, I ask: Would you have noticed such a thing in reading this book? Would you have thought it important? Do you think that too many writers get sidetracked with descriptions? – Because I think that a lot of writers do get caught up in telling the reader exactly what a character or world looks like, before they give us cause to care. While description is a good writing excercise, I think it shouldn’t dominate the writing. If you don’t have the content to go along with it, all the pretty pictures in the world will not, in fact, make the story good.

That is not to say that, sometimes, description can’t be an entire story. Flash fiction, at least, could utilize this idea.

The Seasons

Winter came early that year, covering the month of August with a cold cloak of snow. We all grumblingly dug out our winter coats and boots, warm scarves and thick socks, from their summer lodgings of out-of-the-way closets and boxes shoved into corners. The snow ploughs came out, with great difficulty, from their hibernation, so that the world could continue turning for those with places to be. Salt scattered haphazardly, resentfully across sidewalks and streets made messy coatings on tires and shoes. Snowfall ceased for days of respite, but the cold and the sight of sparkling white remained constant.

There was a certain beauty to the snow-covered blooms and bright green leaves of late summer. A perverse beauty, some said, but even the ones who thought so admitted that the glitter of frost on a dark red rose was enchanting.

Yet even the most snow-enamored of us found it rather unsettling. We had never seen August snow, let alone for the entire month. After a few weeks of speculating conversations, people stopped talking about it, instead sitting silently in cars and buses, on porches, wrapped in blankets, with hot tea, staring with interest, concern, and sometimes annoyance at the scenic wintery vistas.

September brought warmer temperatures and steady, mild rains, flooding the streets with a river of melted snow. We put away the cozy winter clothes in exchange for umbrellas, waterproof outerwear, and knee-high rubbery rain boots.

After the melting, everything looked withered and limp, with a grayish tinge of rot. Clouds consistently plugged up the sky, dulling the world that had recently been so bright. Mid-month, nothing had changed. The leaves did not fall from their branches, nor did they turn the familiar yellow, orange, and red of autumns past. Approaching October, which should have brought anticipation of beautiful colors, leaf-jumping, and (of course) Halloween, we found ourselves asking, Will the leaves ever turn? Will they fall, and make room for the new buds of spring? Or will we be trapped in a colorless world of rain, forever?

If one looked out of an elevated window, all one could see was a sea of decorated umbrellas, the only color we could muster in our dreary world.