Vacation Time

Fink Beach

Taking a little break. It’s the summer and I’m on vacation, so not much time to update the blog. Or write. I’ll do a bigger post when I return on August 14.

Until then, I’ll be wrapping up a draft  of my latest short story “P” and resubmitting some stories that I’ve already finished. Just so you know it’s not all vacation.

Will see you all again soon with some more updates on where my writing is going.

,DJ


Elmore Leonard’s Rules for Writing
To tide you over until I return, here’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules for Writing. Great stuff here and lots of modern writing seems to follow his rules. His points keep on rolling around in my mind.

Alright, I’m out of here. Till next time…

Writing Update and…Short Stories Reconsidered?

[Part of a continuing series on where my fiction writing is at.]

Another update today on my writing and a little introspection further down the page.

I’m a little over half way done with a second draft of my new short story, “P.” I’m going to hold back on the title reveal until the second draft is in the can. That’s partly  because I don’t know if I’m satisfied with the story’s working title. Also, I would like to get the second draft (for me, always the hardest draft) done and off to Beta readers before I start promoting it. I just want to make sure the piece hangs together and works, before I start promoting or talking about it.

Which brings us to…

The Other Stories
I have three other stories I’m submitting now to magazines. I’m going to keep submitting those until they reach about 20 rejections. (This is based on some earlier feedback on my “rejection tolerance”). Then, it’ll be time to think about retiring (“trunking”) the ones which pass that threshold. So far, none of them have reached it. There is one, however, that’s getting close.

So much for the writing update…On to more interesting matters…

Short stories—reconsidered?
I may be getting a little “burnt out” on short stories. I have always felt I’m a writer who likes to write long. I have a lot of difficulty keeping my tales to the 7,500 words (or less) standard limit for short stories. I simply want to expand on scenes, characters, etc. to what I consider a “natural” length. Even my short pieces tend to be long: “The Ghul of Yazd” was over the 7,500 word limit for a short story.

In addition, many of my ideas tend to be for longer pieces. If you’re looking for someone to blame for this, blame my characters or Russian novelists. I can’t seem to stuff the best characters into a 7,500-word story. They just won’t have it. They’re always there in my head saying:

“What about this, Darius?”

“Oh! Don’t forget me in that scene! I would be fabulous!”

“Oh, and what would I do if you only placed me in that situation? Just imagine it!”

leo_tolstoy

I also blame Russian writers for this. I do. In high school, I got hooked on Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and the like (those wordy bastards!). And as you probably know, they write very long, dense books. Their influence on me was huge. These books (The Brothers Karamazov, Anna Karenina, etc.), in fact, are one of the reasons I became a writer. (But that’s a post for another time).

So, I blame them collectively: my characters and the Russians. I can’t say I’ve decided to act on this impulse to write long, but it’s there. Right now, I have a couple more short stories I want to get done, including “P.” But that doesn’t stop me from pre-writing or researching or thinking about how to plot out a novel…

Now does it?

See you next time,

Darius

Done with New Short Story

Hi, Everybody. Getting ready to take off on a trip for the long weekend, so I’m going to keep this one really short.

I’ve just finished a first draft of a new short story. It’s kind of late here, so I’m not feeling up to the whole “title reveal” thing tonight. It’s simply just another story done and I wanted to let you know. ecuador-andes

A basic overview of the story: It’s about 8,300 words and a bit too long to sell to a typical fiction magazine. I’m hoping to shape and sculpt the piece and remove some of the fat—and I have an idea just where that is. Namely, any part that doesn’t move the plot forward or develop a character. I’m hoping that simple cutting operation will get it down to around 6,000 words. A big part of the problem, you see, is that I’m finding more and more that I like to write LONG. But, I’ll address that whole thing a bit later here on the blog.

A few more details about this piece: It’s set in our world in the present day, mostly in Peru. It does contain some fantasy elements, so I’m calling it “urban fantasy” since that seems to be the hot genre these days.

That’s about it for now. I’m off to the Appalachian mountains tomorrow morning for some fresh air and hiking. When I come back I should be near a final second draft for the piece and ought to be ready to do the title reveal.

See you soon,

Darius