Monday, August 31, 2009
Sep 2 Sarah Hilary Burial of the Bells
Sep 3 Clinton Lawrence The Old City
Sep 4 Joel Willans A Friggin’ Star
Sep 5 Margaret Karmazin Diamonds in the Rough
Sep 6 Ellie Tupper Mandala: A Dish of Lime-Vanilla Ice
Sep 7 KM Rockwood Shredded
Sep 8 James Hartley Breakfast
Sep 9 Gargi Mehra The Beauty
Sep 10 Ben Loory The Wall
Sep 11 Melody Beacham Under My Skin
Sep 12 John Jasper Owens Mute Point
Sep 13 Fred Warren Weightless
Sep 14 Sheila R. Pierson Steak and Potatoes
Sep 15 Krystyna Smallman Consuming
Sep 16 Martin Turton Minding Matthew
Sep 17 Lori Simeunovic In the Cards
Sep 18 Anna Sykora Your Guarantee of a Human Bean
Sep 19 Aaron Polson How to Burn a House
Sep 20 A. S. Andrews Alien Life
Sep 21 Garry Grierson The Bull and Bucket UFO
Sep 22 Eric Del Carlo Frankly
Sep 23 Lossie Reeves Addie and Boog
Sep 24 Ann Wilkes Grey Drive
Sep 25 Cathryn Grant So Lucky
Sep 26 John Wiswell Frankenstein’s Monsters
Sep 27 Cate Gardner Strange Tooth
Sep 28 Debra Easterling Annapolis Eyes
Sep 29 Lee Hughes The Backtrack
Sep 30 Oonah V Joslin The Devil’s Within
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Rodeo had a Dog Party yesterday. The guests included Harley and Ian, two wild and wacky Weimaraners; Lucy, whose provenence is cloaked in shady secrets despite her grand dame manners, and Sky of the azure blue eyes who conjures up summer ranch adventures since that's where she came from. These aren't great pictures since the dogs were roiling all over the yard, in and out of the pool, dashing in circles as if there was a rabbit on a stick somewhere about 10 feet in front of them. But I have to share because, well, it was hilarious and Hillary (Rodeo's MOM) wasn't here.
Yes, Danielle, I'm getting back to work.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Will's photos of the La Canada fire, his house in the path. Will and Lynne spent much of their night up on their roof. Here's what Will had to say on FACEBOOK this morning.
Lots of activity during the night in our little neighborhood. The fire burning its way down the hill toward us. Neighbors evacuating. As we watched from our roof we saw others silently standing or sitting on their roofs...watching, waiting. A flare-up here, a pop, a crackle...heat. As light comes so does hope that today's aerial assault will be victorious.
Friday, August 28, 2009
The hills of La Canada are going up in flames. The Moffitts are packed and ready to leave at a moment's notice. This is serious stuff. Pray for everyone in the SoCal fires.
Second, hmmmm. Over at Robert Swartwood's http://www.robertswartwood.com/?p=294 he's giving away a free copy of the "an old issue of Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine, issue 33, published in 2004, which contains my [Rob's] story “Persistence” …"If you comment on his post about something you are persistent about, he will enter your name in a drawing to win a copy of the magazine. SIGNED.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I feel so lucky to have a story at 3 A.M. Check it out when you have time. Rim Shot at 3 A.M, click here to read: RIM SHOT.
FLASH FICTION CHRONICLES STRING OF 10 CONTEST
And I've been reading contest entries for the FFC String of 10 contest--our first ever!!! This weekend I sent the top eleven out to six other judges to rank them from thebest to least-best and make comments. Hopefully, I will receive these back by the end of this week and be able to notify everyone as to the results sometime next week.
These observations are more about me and my reading experience than about any one entry. However, I am sharing them with you so that if and when we sponsor a fresh new contest, those who read this and enter will be at a distinct advantage.
All fiction stories benefit from a well-thought out title. A title should reflect the overall story if possible. One classic rule says that a title should be the character's name (Antony and Cleopatra, Ethan Frome, Moby Dick) or the setting (Howard's End, Mill on the Floss, Our Town), both character and setting (The Old Man and the Sea, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland), or they reveal theme, in abstraction (Sound and the Fury, War and Peace, From Here to Eternity) or suggest theme in a specific object or event (The Golden Bowl, Light in August, The Sheltering Sky), or character or setting that reflect theme (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Paradise Lost, The Grapes of Wrath).
Titles should enhance the story, add to it in some way, yet not telegraph so much that there is no surprise left at the end. Specific ambiguity? Is that possible? I think so. This is even more important when writing short fiction. Whenever there is a word limit as in this 250-word contest, every word MUST count. The title gives the writer another way to set up, entice, and pay-off the reader, and title words are FREE, above and beyond the word count of the work itself. So use a title. Writing isn't just random thoughts. It's thinking carefully about all the ways you can help the reader have an emotional response to your story.
Many stories lack surprise and surprise is what jolts a reader into having an emotional response. I don't mean just a twist ending either. Surprise is more than that.
First, surprise comes to the reader when a setting is specific and interesting. When there is no setting established at all, the reader is left in a blank empty space, and readers, like Mother Nature, abhor a void. A writer can engage a reader with a few small details that create a unique place in which the story can exist.
Second, surprise comes to the reader when a character is unique. When there is something different than we expect about the person, his attitude, his way of speaking, even his appearance. A wise teacher once told me (and our class) to always do something unique to a character, give him a headache, a limp, a funny haircut that reflects in some way who that person is. Actually he used "a toothache" as an example, and I watched a movie in which the character had a toothache throughout and that toothache paid off in the end in his own behaviour. I thought aha, Gordon's toothache! Dang. I can't remember what it was, something by Russell Banks I think.
Third, surprise --and delight--happen when the language is full of vivid specific detail, images that pop off the page, clear and precise and visual.
Fourth, surprise happens when an ending provides both the unexpected and a sense of the inevitable. The reader might guess from the title, the specific character traits of the hero, the dangerous setting, that the story may end badly, but the reader should not know the exact details of that ending (I am thinking here of The Old Man and the Sea here or Of Mice and Men).
It is in the details that the reader will be surprised and satisfied because though the writer may have promised an unhappy ending, he ends it with epiphany or an unthought-of-sadness. The twist must NOT be the pulling out of a gun that the reader didn't know a villain had, but rather the pulling out of the gun the reader knew he had, and then decides not to fire.
So yes, twist the ending, but don't create surprise with a non-sequiter. Classic rule from Master Chekov: If there is a gun on the mantle in the beginning, use it by the end. And the reverse is also true, if you are going to use a gun in the end, put it on the mantle in the beginning, but do it all subtly because...
The real surprise should come with the revelation of the human spirit. We need to know the person, the character a little before we can appreciate the surprise. Can it be done in 250 words? Yes.
3) Cliched story plots
Third and last observation for today. It's hard for a new writerto know what a cliched plot is. Everything feels new to him because he hasn't written before. But what's new to the writer isn't necessarily new to the reader, especially an editor. Therefore if you are going to write about illness, revenge, execution, suicide, dead mothers, boy meets girl, Martians landing on the earth, and football quarterbacks, etc, then it is important to pay attention to the details of your story and create unique characters, unusual settings, screwy attitudes, a strong identifiable voice, anything that lifts the cliched plot above the mundane. Most of the time this means a lot of writing practice and thoughtful revision. Reading every line, every word, and doing the revision without overworking it. Not easy, but it comes with working at it every day, just like playing the basoon.
The classic belief in storytelling is that there are only 5-12-24 actual plots in the world, and that's true on some levels. It's what the writer brings to a cliched story that makes it good. This has been proven over and over by Will S, Charlie D, John S, Edith W, Charlotte B, Tommy Hardy, Margaret A, Carole S, Willie F, and even Stephen K.
HINT FICTION SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE APPROACHES
August 31 is rapidly approaching and all hint submissions will need to be sent to Robert Swartwood, editor of the H.H. Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction soon. the link to the guidelines is above. Check it out and get to work.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
What most writers want and need is feedback so they can become better at the keyboard. A kind word about what works and a clue as to why it doesn't is like Kool-aide to a hummingbird.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Flash Fiction Chronicles is having its very first contest for the best 250-word story written from the String of 10* ( words and phrases) posted below.
1st Place Winner will have his or her story published at Every Day Fiction in October and be paid the standard payment of $3.00 per story. A copy of The Best of Every Day Fiction, 2008 will also be awarded to the winner as well as an "I Write Every Day" t-shirt (see post before this one).
2nd and 3rd Place Winners will have their stories published at Flash Fiction Chronicles in October. There is no payment for publication at Flash Fiction Chronicles. A copy of The Best of Every Day Fiction, 2008 will also be awarded to both 2nd and 3rd place winners.
- Read the contest's String of 10 Writing Prompt posted below*, on the FFC Daily Prompt Page, or at Gay Degani's Author Thread at Every Day Fiction.
- The contest is open to stories of up to 250 words. Entries over the word limitation will be disregarded. There is no entry fee.
- Submit via email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org. All entries must be copy and pasted into the body of the email. No attachments will be opened.
- You may enter as many 3 separate and different stories up to 250-words each. All three must contain at least four words from the String of 10. Any stories without at least four words from the string of 10 will be disregarded.
- All entries must be in English, original, unpublished, and not submitted or accepted elsewhere at the time of submission. Flash Fiction Chronicles/Every Day Fiction/Every Day Publishing reserves one-time publication rights to the 1st- through-3rd winning entries to be published at Every Day Fiction and Flash Fiction Chronicles.
- Entries must be received via email by Midnight PDT Tuesday, August 18, 2009. Winners will be notified by September 20. Publication will follow in October.
Keep in mind: What matters most is your story, not the prompt words or quotation. However at least four words from the prompt must be used.
Saturday, August 08, 2009
Sunday, August 02, 2009
1) Don't post your entries here at Flash Fiction Chronicles.
2) Email entries to mailto:email@example.com
3) Read Robert Swartwood's guidelines. As with all submissions in the writing world, failure to follow the guidelines will lead you down the hopelessly dark road to not being read and appreciated. Guidelines are here: HINT FICTION GUIDELINES
4) Send your best work: It's August 2, only the second day after the editor began accepting submissions, and Rob has received over 150+.
5) Attention: South Dakota residents. Gleaned from Robert Swartwood's TWITTERAGE:
What does hurt my feelings is that STILL nobody from South Dakota has visited my
site. I'm going to start a campaign to fix the situation.