Sunday, March 31, 2013

March W1S1 Update

Seems like awhile since I've done one of these... So how did March (month of madness) turn out?

Stories written: 3 (one 2,200-word tale and two flash)
Stories submitted:29
Stories accepted: 0
Stories rejected: 19

Well nothing too crazy. Although if you wanna talk crazy, check out "Not enough Hairspray" published this month in Third Flation's Universe Horribilis anthology.

Not much else to say, other than I absolutely despise the new 'compose email' interface on Gmail. Once again, they took something that worked just fine and screwed it up. Why do I need a separate window to compose an email? Is toggling tabs too much for people? Apparently so, because now you have to pop the damn window out, adjust the size so you can attach a document, get an error message that it didn't save (when it did), reference your draft email because you can't tell if the document actually attached just be looking at the email itself, get another error message when you try to send your email, therefore accidentally submitting the same email twice to an editor.

I'm done with Gmail, you fucks. I'm getting a 1&1 private domain instead.   

Anyway... Happy Easter everyone!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

What Every Writer Needs: A Foul-Mouthed Checklist

While cruising writer submission guidelines, I stumbled upon Will Ludwigsen’s Foul-Mouthed Writer’s Checklist--and holy crap, is this awesome. I completely understand why an editor would put this in their guidelines, in fact, every editor should add this.

I'll highlight some of my favorite points, because as a reader (I make it a habit to read 1-2 short stories a day), I see these issues come up a lot. 

Is it told in a voice more engaging than an asshole zombie groaning for brains? 
 I'm starting to understand why some editors dislike first-person POV, because a good chunk of the stories out there lack any emotion. It's like a tour guide is telling the story (To the left you'll see a palm tree swaying in the breeze, and if you look to your right...) You would think the opposite for first-person, since that's supposedly the engaging POV, and maybe that's what the writer thought when they used it, without having a clue that you need voice for it to work. Most times, first-person is used as  gimmick to hide the character's name till the very end ... like that hasn't been done before.

I'm only picking on first-person, because it's always disappointing to see it written in such a bland way. At least with third-person, you have the excuse that it's an external, non-involved narrator telling the story. Of course, that's equally as boring to read. Just don't write bland POV's, please.

Does something fucking interesting happen, performed on the page with action and quotes and all that shit?
 It's really surprising to see stories published that have absolutely nothing happening. The characters wander around, express some thoughts, then ... yeah. The author can't even make an effort to end the story. (You know the ones, where the story just STOPS, and you're sitting their thinking: Where's the rest of it???) Then again, the stories that lack endings, tend to not have a story arc. Or maybe something does happen, but the reader hasn't a flippin' clue what it's about, why it's important, and why they should care. Which leads to...

Does the reader give a fuck at the end?
There's nothing more depressing than to get to the end of  a story and think: So what? Why did an author go through the trouble of stringing all these words together, only for me to not give a shit? I'm mean sure, I'll admire their vocabulary and writing technique, but in the end, those mean nothing if there isn't an engaging story.  

I also recommend Ludwigsen's The Surprising Power of Giving a Shit. A lot of great points he makes in that article. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Universe Horribilis is here!

The latest anthology from the good people over at Third Flatiron has arrived, and contains my short story "Not Enough Hairspray"--about an agoraphobic Rapunzel and a young man's attempt to lure her outside.

Here's an except:

It's hard to find a hairbrush for hair like mine. Actually, my hair eats hairbrushes, snaps them right in half. And I'd chop it all off, maybe donate it to one of those foundations that makes wigs for people in chemo or for people with bad combovers, but my "mother" insists I keep it because it's so gosh darn perdy—oh, and she needs it to get into the tower. I keep telling her that she should buy a broom, and it's so much more convenient than a motor vehicle. For some reason, she takes offense to that.

I don't have much background on this story other than it was inspired by a Lightspeed (formerly Fantasy) story about Rapunzel's mother, but I wanted to do something upbeat and funny, with a little dark twist. If the voice sounds familiar, Rapunzel was the prototype voice for Lorelei in "The Ungreat Escape." I adored the voice so much, I had to use it again. 

You can pick up the anthology for $2.99 at either Amazon or Smashwords.

If anyone wants a free copy to review, by all means, please leave your email address in the comments and I'll forward it to the editor. 

And may the horribleness be with you!