Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Links & The Week in #storyeachnight: March 18, 2012 Edition

I'm still intending to get back to Dissecting the Short Story, though with the continued health issues in both my and my wife's family, I'm not going to rush to meet the original timelines from my recent post about the future of the feature). I'll still follow the approach I outlined, but I'll post new dates once I'm more ready.

The most interesting writing news for me this week was getting a letter from Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine indicating that my submission for one of their monthly "Mysterious Photograph" contests was an Honorable Mention. This makes me 3-for-3 on Honorable Mentions, which is neat. I'm hoping that I break through with a winning story sometime soon. I feel rather good about the story I wrote for this month's contest.

This week, with my wife out of town all week, even nightly story reading for #storyeachnight was hit-and-miss, though I did manage to meet my daily obligation to myself around my writing. I was especially pleased to finish the first draft of a longer short story last night. (This is the one I'd mentioned in each of my last two weekly roundups. The first draft is done. Yay!)

Here are the stories I read for #storyeachnight this week:

3/11 - None
3/12 - "The Take" by Alex Shvartsman from DAILY SCIENCE FICTION. An interesting story about memory recording tech and the impact it had on one person's life.
3/13 - None
3/14 - None
3/15 -Ed McBain's "Downpour" from LEARNING TO KILL. An okay crime story but a bit long for what it was. On the whole, these early McBain stories have been decent but nothing outstanding.
3/16 - None
3/17 - The title story from W. P. Kinsella's collection BORN INDIAN. Kinsella's an old favorite of mine. This particular story has an interesting character dynamic but the dialect style of the writing felt a bit cumbersome.

And now, here are this week's links:

"Momentum and the War of Art" (Daniel Swensen at Surly Muse) - Daniel's post here perfectly captures how I feel about writing and perhaps more importantly, about not writing. I've made some form of tangible writing progress every day for going on 200 days now. (In fact, it may be 200 days today...) With everything going on in my life, I've gotten some suggestions that it's OK to take it easy on my writing. And, in a lot of ways, I have been taking it "easy" on my writing this month due to the other responsibilities taking up time and mental energy. But I'd rather get 500 words written each of three days than 0 words written two days and 1500 written the third day.

"Quantity Vs. Quality" (Kaitlin at The Athele Series) - I thought that this was an interesting discussion of the respective virtues of quantity and quality when writing. Obviously, quality is ultimately important but there appears to be a lot of evidence that the path to quality goes through quantity and conscious work to improve your work over time. Yes, your early work may end up being only fair, but you're getting things finished and, hopefully, learning along the way.

"Skip the Boring Bits" (Tim Kane at San Diego Professional Writer's Group) - Tim points out that if you're feeling bored by what you're writing then your readers will almost certainly be bored as well. He gives some suggestions on how to handle this. One in particular which I like is the one he titled "Bread Crumbs" where he talks about sprinkling information throughout a scene around dialogue. This is a technique which I think can work really well and one which I try to use in my own work.

Finally, here's a recap of the posts from this week on my blog:

"Monday #writemotivation Goal Status" - Monday, I wrote about my progress towards this month's goals.

"How Does Writing Feel?" - Thursday, I wrote about a familiar writing-related quote and discussed my own feelings about writing. I asked my readers how writing made them feel and got some interesting responses in the comments.

I hope that this is a good week as we head into the latter part of March. Best of luck to everyone!

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