Archive for March, 2012

Submitted for approval

March 29, 2012

Submitted the NPR 3-Minute Fiction over the weekend.  There won’t be any news until June sometime, so I guess there’s no point in worrying about it.  Trying not to think about it, hence working on some other pieces.

Also, apparently, I can’t share with anyone until October 20, 2012.  NPR says so, very specifically.  (I know, it’s breaking your heart.)

I checked the Three Minute Fiction Facebook site – and it seems like there’s over 7000 submissions.  Ai!

On the bright side, almost anywhere I submit is bound to have better odds, right?

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Writing Status

March 22, 2012

Have finished up rough draft of NPR piece.  Am waiting on W’s feedback.

And in other activities, I am researching professional ice hockey.  For no good reason.  *whistles innocently*  I really do like to watch it – I’ve attended (and paid for) professional and semi-professional games and have watched it on television (which is more than I’ve done with virtually any other sport) – I just know nothing about it.  I’ve never played it and never really had a serious conversation with anybody about it.  It’s like I’ve been keeping a secret all this time or something.  (Can’t wait for the NHL Finals!  You know, for reserach.)

That’s sort of a problem, really.  Anytime I’ve ever researched anything, even the most surficially boring thing on the planet, I find it pretty interesting.  I was checking on liquor licenses in my state (again, for no good reason) and find the quirks of the law really interesting.  Example: no establishment can sell liquor on Christmas or between the hours of 4am and 8am on weekdays and before noon on Sundays (depending on your county).  That’s a law.  I would have never articulated it, even though I might have assumed that no one would sell liquor on Christmas for reasons of it being a holiday and all, but there you go.

Then, after I find it interesting, I might think about ways of putting into a story.  Even if I have no story to put these facts into, I will store it away.  I’ve heard of writers creating files of interesting story ideas and when I was young, I scoffed because, hey, my imagination is all I need.  Now, I totally get it.  Imagination is great, but it can use a little help from a good record-keeping system.

Anyway, all of this research will probably turn out for nothing.  I do like research.  I do like writing, sometimes.  But making sure the research reflects in good writing is hard to do, and I like it a little less.  But to make it worth reading, this melding of fact and fiction needs to happen.  Also, people notice when you’ve cheaped out.  I’m not saying it’s a conscious thing, but the comparison between different levels of effort are definitely present.  Besides, I want to do right by the material, it’s only respectful.  (Okay, people in fandom might very well say something if you cheap out/hand wave it.  “It’s all about the hot characters, and Writer X knows nothing about the sport.”  I do not want to be Writer X.)

(On the other hand, it is nice to think about stories again, even if nothing comes of this research.  I was worried about the odd emptiness in my head.  I wasn’t exactly dry, but I was definitely not moving on the things I wanted to be moving on, even though I was really trying to prime the creative pump with all sorts of looking at old stories.   I mean, I’ve got a ton of stories to finish – and some of them are really, really close to being done, except for a couple of sections, which I can’t seem to make happen.  Dang it, brain, get on it!  And, because of past experience, I do not post until I’m certain the story is done.  Sure, I might go in and tweak after posting, but to start posting while missing a key section in the middle is just bad form – because I might not finish.   I’m also in a bit of a panic because there’s a festival coming up and I just don’t know if I’ll be up for it.

Maybe it’s time for Plotto.  It looks to be interesting, anyway.

And  I’ve gotten a new laptop computer and the keyboard layout is really throwing me off, because I keep typing over the things I’ve just typed.  The heck – ?  It’s kind of bumming me out.  You’d think with the standardization of the QWERTY keyboard this wouldn’t be such a problem, but it is.  Something about the location of the up key and the shift is making typing a bit of a hassle.)

Dystopia, in 600 words or less

March 12, 2012

So I decided to try to write something for this 8th round of the NPR 3-minute fiction contest.  I’m in a weird writing state anyway – why not see if I can do something original with it.  Heck, it’s only 600 words.  And if there’s anything fanfic has taught me, it’s how to blurt out 600 words very quickly.

It’s really just something for me to do because I haven’t been able to harness the larger sweeping feelings I get for longer fic.  It’s discouraging.

Also,  I doubt the story will get very far in the judging.  The story is turning into a dystopian vision of the future (in under 600 words, even!).  And if there’s anything that NPR writers and readers and the NYU grad student writers/judges dislike, it’s genre fiction (except for mystery, because I guess mystery fiction is just classier than sci-fi or fantasy or romance.  Maybe it’s all the Brits and BBC productions.).  This is also something writing fanfic has prepared me for – the sound of crickets because no one cares about your vision.

The other thing fanfic has prepared me for: the terms that NPR set out.  They get perpetual but not necessary exclusive rights to rebroadcast-redistribute.  You get some small amount of transitory fame amongst a small audience, period.

The one thing I’m hesitant about is that I have to use my real name.  I’m allergic to using my real name, for almost anything online.  Dang it.

(But, dear friends, in case you want to have a whack at it and give me some concrit, I can send you the current copy in progress.  Please to return crit by March 28, as story is due March 29.   W is volunteered to read it, but he is not allowed to say whether or not he likes it.  I’m too easily moved by that sort of thing.)

Still around…

March 9, 2012

Not certain what is going on with the mental energy recently.  Only seem able to produce drabbles and write endless, unnecessary backstory for my current works in progress.  Somewhat frustrating.  Might also have to do with having to engage more at work now, and having less time at home to write.  On the upside, I am doing some more cleaning and occasionally go out for a walk when the (crazy, crazy) weather is nice.

Baby J (who is now upgraded to Toddler J) has been sick the last few days.  Nothing too serious – a bad cold.  Her nose is running like the proverbial faucet.

Been trying to work with Henry to get him to read these past couple of months.  Learning to read is a real process – and from the outside, you can really see how hard it is.  It is really frustrating for him.  But it’s not like I can let him not learn.  So, we practice.  Even if it makes him mad and tired of me.  (Side note: English is a pain in the ass.  I get the whole French accent thing for consistency thing now.)  I am also terribly envious of people whose children learn how to read on their own.

I almost got a speeding ticket a couple of weeks ago.  But I saw the cop car in enough time to slow down and then had him follow me until I escaped onto private property (the location of my job).  I was afraid that I had slowed down enough for him to give me a ticket for obstructing traffic.  It almost gave me a heart attack.  I could not get another speeding ticket – nor could I afford the time to wait to get one.  That’s the worst.   (It’s not like I’ve gotten so many, it’s just that once you go through the process, you really never want to go through it again.)

I told a friend of mine about this later that day and she said, “Oh, yeah.  That corner’s famous for the cops waiting there.”  Nobody told me.  I wish somebody had.  Of course, I’m being the fool here.  I drive by that corner every working day.  I should have noticed.

Also, working on taxes.  Sigh.  Citizenship.  The prices of it.  Etcetera.  Discuss.