Short story

This tag is associated with 5 posts

Flash Fiction – Harder than it Looks

I finally completed my first attempt at flash fiction and submitted it to Flash Fiction Online.  What an experience!

Initially the story, currently titled Uncommon Magic, was somewhere around 1065 words, which would have been acceptable as long as I would be willing to cut it down to 1000 or less if it was actually accepted.  However, in the true spirit of flash fiction I wanted to trim it down for a couple of reasons.

One is that I’ve read so many books, blogs, etc. which all agreed writing short fiction is extremely difficult because every word has to count.  Since this was the first story I’ve written in years, and since it was purely for myself, for a sense of fulfillment, I decided to give it everything I had.

And secondly, why would anyone submit something that wasn’t finished to the point that it could realistically stay in its current form if the long-shot, one-in-a-million chance, happened and it was picked to be published?  I’m now at the point that I can’t imagine having to change anything else in it.

I now fully understand what I’ve read – that it truly is all about revision.  It several hours total revising a three and a half page story.  I can’t imagine the struggle involved in revising a 300 page novel.  I found I was able to mold Uncommon Magic so that the main character had more personality and I could see the scene around him when I closed my eyes.

If it’s rejected, which I’ll be sure to pass along, I’ll try submitting it to a few other markets just to test the waters and if nothing else, I’ll be posting it here.

Uncommon Magic

Total Words = 997         Total Time Invested = 8+ hours

Websites and Articles about Authors and Writing – Tips, Earnings, Etc.

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.  ~ Henry David Thoreau

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been compiling a few websites related to writing that I found interesting.   Normally, I found them through a typical Google search looking for author earnings info on short stories and ebooks.  Basically I was procrastinating in my favorite way – Googling random things.

Without further ado, so I can get back to more aimless searching, here are the websites:

  1. Lindsay Buroker’s blog is a great resource and surely gives inspiration to those hoping to make writing their day job.  Granted, she took her time and worked hard for her success.  She doesn’t shy away from posting actual lessons learned and earnings reports.
  2. The Writer’s Cafe can be found on the Kindleboards.com website.  This site has a wealth of information if you’re willing to spend some time digging.  There are updates on various indie authors’ sales or numbers of times their book was borrowed through Amazon.  It has a great community feel to it as well.
  3. Robin Sullivan’s article, The New Midlist, from June 27, 2011 is an interesting read, giving stats on her husband’s success.
  4. The Good E Reader blog is another one with a never-ending amount of information.  There are sections focused on Indie Author News, Digital Publishing News, and so on.  This is one I’ve tabbed and plan to return to regularly.
  5. Rebecca Brandewyne’s website had some good informational posts like The Pros and Cons of Being a Writer and Advances & Royalties – How Authors are Paid, although I have to admit that I did have to mute my laptop and make an effort to look past the sparkling letters (seriously, if you click through, brace yourself).  She obviously writes in a genre that I’m not actually interested in, and it appears that most of the information is a few years old, but some concerns are consistent across genres and throughout time.

Flash Fiction Resources Needed

This weekend was a productive weekend for me.  I finished the book I was reading, which I’ll leave a review on shortly, and am really looking forward to starting Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams.

More importantly I took my first swing at writing Flash Fiction.  After completing a first draft on Friday, and four combined revisions over Saturday and today, I think it’s in its final state.  It’s of the fantasy genre and comes in just above one thousand words at 1065, which I know may need to be trimmed down depending on where I decide to submit it.

That’s where I need help.  If anyone has any good resources or online mags that they’d suggest I take a look at, I’d really appreciate the advice.  I’d like to compile everything onto a single page here.

I found one of interest to begin – Flash Fiction Online.  It’s an online quarterly recognized as a professional publication by the Science Fictions Writers of America.

Thanks everyone

Short Stories on Kindle

I bought my wife a Kindle Fire for Christmas and as a result ended up with her old Kindle.  While the majority of my reading will still be of physical books, I’ve been impressed with the Kindle’s convenience.  As such, I’ve been looking into uses for it beyond reading a normal novel, specifically the availability of short stories on it.

Unfortunately, it is a good news and bad news scenario.  The good news is that there seems to be a growing amount of short fiction on the Kindle, a ton of it actually.  For those serious writers out there, the bad news is that there also seems to be a large amount of free fiction as well, both short fiction and novel length.

With the increasingly prevalent impact that technology is having on the publishing industry, I’ve often wondered what impact it would eventually have on those writers who earn their living through their craft.  I have to believe that the increasing amount of material made available by hobby writers, many times for free or as good as free, is hurting that side of the industry.  If nothing else, the pure saturation of material will likely become overwhelming.

From what I’ve seen on various blogs and magazines, it’s a very hotly debated question – should someone offer their material for free so that they get exposure and readership?  I’m a strong supporter of the writing community, from the closet writer without a finished story to his name to those admired few who have the talent and fortitude to make a living at it, be it modest or extraordinary.  However, it scares me to see the results when I do a search for ‘short stories’ in the Kindle Store and then narrow it down to Fantasy Kindle ebooks.  Eleven of the twelve items displayed on the first screen are all free.

That question may never have a final answer just because each person’s scenario is different.  Some people do need to use the opportunity and impact of a free short story as a lead-in for their additional work.

However, the question I haven’t seen posed anywhere though is – How much is the hobby writer adversely impacting those writers who use the Amazon fees to pay their bills?

I’d love to hear thoughts and comments on this.

Mad Hatter Miscellany – A New Start and a New Look for 2012

Readers,

I spent the majority of this past week thinking of what I hope to accomplish in 2012, both with my writing and life in general.  Some people make one resolution and try to stick with it throughout the year, but I’m more of a list person so I’ve made a list.  Yes, I included everything from my list.

  1. Worry about what I can affect, accept what I can’t.
  2. Get published at least once – whether it be a short story, poem, or any other creative work.
  3. Bench press my weight at least once (I used to be able to do 1.3 times my weight, years ago).
  4. Keep my blog updated with at least one post a week.
  5. Be a better brother and son.  Call my Mom and Sister at least once a week.
  6. Make 2 new, good friends.
  7. Travel to at least one new place, out of State, this year.
  8. Go to Church at least 3 times a month.

So far, I’ve already made changes to Mad Hatter Miscellany which should help me be a more consistent blogger.  It had gotten to the point where I was putting in a ton of time researching what I wanted to write about.  I wanted it to have a definite focus and eventually found myself with tunnel vision.  Going forward, it will continue to have a creative-writing focus, but I will also allow myself to go off on tangents.  You may see a post about a great short story followed by comments on investing.

I am about halfway through a new short story that I’ll be submitting to publishers as soon as all my revisions are done.  Wish me luck!

Lastly, thank you to anyone and everyone out there who take the time to support the writing community.  Most writers hold day jobs and hone their craft in their spare time, so taking the time to comment on a post or leave feedback in Amazon on one of their short stories or novels goes a long way.

Happy New Year and here’s to a great 2012!

Nick

The Rabbit Hole

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