Something of a tough week. Mechanically rather than creatively. I spent the majority of it finishing a short story that I started during the MRK Short Story Intensive. This story really did not want to be out in the world — each word was like pulling teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth. Requiring lots of heavy machinery. Or, if you’d rather, I really had to mine for each word.
I’m not sure exactly why this is. I had the same feeling writing the beginning of this piece during the intensive, and I was convinced that it was terrible because it felt so hard to write. But when I went back to read it, it was fine. I received good feedback from my fellow MRKers too.
I’m wondering if it’s because I’m trying to use a specific outlining technique. Normally when I write, I start by discovery writing to find a direction. Well, scratch that. I start by noodling on an idea, holding it in my brain and feeling some of the edges. Usually, I catch on something and I go with that. Then I discovery write to figure out where it wants to go. But what ends up happening is that my arc lacks meaningful conflict and tension (so more of a line than an arc, I guess). Or, for longer form works, I get lost in the middle and I’m not sure where to go.
This is an issue I’ve run up against repeatedly.
And this is where the MRK Short Story Intensive* came in.
THIS. PAST. WEEK. I’m still reeling.
Last weekend, I took Mary Robinette Kowal’s Short Story Intensive. It was absolutely amazing, and I’m still processing it and trying to figure out how to put it into words. It was a legitimately intense couple of days, but I got so much out of it, and it fueled me for this entire week. STILL SO AMPED.
I started my flash fiction April project, which has been going well. The piece that I wrote on Wednesday, I’m going to polish and submit to a contest. I’m clarifying some of my writing goals and working on nailing down deadlines for myself. I’m going to start submitting this month.
The intensive introduced me to a great group of fellow writers, so we’re forming a critique group together. I spent a good amount of time figuring out the logistics of that — our first meeting is next weekend.
Also, one of my friend’s from residency came for a short visit to apartment hunt since she’s moving to St. Louis this summer!
Camp NaNoWriMo starts today!
For this camp, I’m going to do another flash fiction challenge like the one I did during Inktober. It was a good way for me to play with ideas on a small scale, identify recurrent structural issues I have, and practice a little flexible creativity.
If you want to participate alongside me, here are the details.
- Write a piece of flash fiction daily for the month of April — 30 first drafts for 30 days.
- Each flash fiction piece should be <=1000 words long and must contain an arc/plot/conflict (vignettes and slice-of-life stories don’t count).
- If you need help deciding what to write, here are a few sources:
- Try to go two to three layers down from where your brain first goes with the prompt.
- Share the piece: to your blog, to a kind friend, to an internet rando. Let someone know about the work you’re doing!
Getting my recap post up early this week since the weekend is going to be pretty busy.
I’m realizing that I need to figure out a more organized plan for the pieces I have revised, that need to go out to beta readers, and that need polishing. Plus a way to organize things when I start submitting.
Trying to figure out the markets is an intimidating prospect, but it’s also fun since a lot of my research is reading short stories to see if my work might fit in a potential market.
Did I do it backwards? Should I have done more market research first and then written towards a market? There’s so much conflicting advice…
In other news, Camp NaNo is about to start. I’m planning to do another flash fiction challenge month. Forthcoming post on that next week!
Finished a short story this week. Finished revisions on a couple more pieces of flash. I’m starting to get antsy about the fact that next up is putting stuff out into the world for other people to read. A necessary step, obviously, but one that is making me have feelings.
Also, there are a few things coming up in the next few weeks that I’m excited/nervous about. Next weekend, I’m doing Mary Robinette Kowal’s Short Story Intensive, and I’m pumped for that. Then, April is Camp NaNoWriMo, and my plan is to do another flash fiction month. Mid-April, there is a flash fiction submission deadline that I need to hit.
This is a little short and not as self-reflective because I have to get ready to drive Adam to the airport for GDC, but I wanted to get this post up before that.
The allergy shots are causing horrific looking bruises at the injection site, which I haven’t experienced before. So that’s interesting… It has nothing to do with writing, but still.
Started a new short story this past week which I’m feeling pretty good about. It needs a round of editing and then I’ll ask for some second opinions. Finished revising a couple of flash pieces. Caught up on Writing Excuses.
All in all, a pretty good week.