Thursday, January 17, 2013

300th Post: The Next Big Thing

First of all, this is going to be my 300th published post on this blog. Wow! When I started blogging some of my thoughts about writing I had no idea where it was all going to take me and I can only say that it's been a great ride!

There's a blog hop going around called The Next Big Thing where writers talk about their current projects. It appears to have originated mostly with novelists, but there's nothing that says that other folks can't play, too. Sarah Hans, a member of my local writing workshop and the editor of Sidekicks! (in which I have a story) released her own The Next Big Thing blog post last week (focused on, wouldn't you know, Sidekicks!) and as part of it she tagged me to be one of the next people for the hop.

So, I present to you... The Next Big Thing

FYI: I have adjusted the original questions somewhat since my projects are all short fiction and, as usual, I have multiple ones in flight. I chose a story I feel particularly fond of which is still a work in progress for this post.

1: What is the working title of one of your current stories?

"Written on the Skin". I suspect it will end up being a 1,750-3,000 word long story after I take it through further drafts.

2: Where did the idea come from for the story?

There's a writers' site called Liberty Hall that runs a weekly contest where people are provided two prompts and then have ninety minutes to write a story based on one or both of the prompts. One week recently there was an image of a fingernail painted with music notes. I looked at that and thought for a bit and had the idea of a woman with music tattooed over much of her body. Then I had to figure out why.

3: What genre does "Written on the Skin" fall under?

Post-apocalyptic science fiction.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I've been fond of Jennifer Lawrence since I saw her in "Winter's Bone." I think she'd be a good fit for the main character in "Written on the Skin" though I doubt her agent would want her showing up in another post-apocalyptic thing on the heels of The Hunger Games.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your story?

A young woman whose parents and siblings have all died and is about to become a mother herself works to keep alive the memory of the family members she has lost.

6: Will your story be self-published or represented by an agency?

Short fiction is almost never represented by an agency. There are, to be sure, some exceptions but generally speaking authors are "on their own" to market their short fiction. Once I have a final draft of this in hand, I'll start it out to the periodicals and/or anthologies which seem like a good fit for it.

7: How long has the editing taken you?

I wrote the first draft in 90 minutes. The basic story arc is there but there are some aspects which probably require expansion and at least one element I think I need to change.

8: What other stories would you compare "Written on the Skin" to within your genre?

I'm struggling to think of a specific story that I would compare it to. What I will say is that I hope it will -- like many of the stories I have most enjoyed reading -- depict a person working to navigate the often-difficult paths of relationships with their fellow humans.

9: Who or What inspired you to write this story?

The person who provided the prompt described above.

10: What else about your story might pique the reader’s interest?

I hope that it ends up in a publication which readers know they can rely on for consistently high-quality fiction. That, to me, is the best way for a new SF/F short fiction writer to interest potential readers.

Thanks for reading! Now for the people I am tagging as part of the blog hop; many of them are primarily short fiction writers as well. I made an attempt to check that they hadn't participated in the hop yet, but if I missed their post, I'll update this to reflect their previous Next Big Thing posting.

Alex Shvartsman – Alex is the editor of Unidentified Funny Objects and he has had dozens of short stories published in recent years. He's also been a great mentor to me in the world of writing and I am happy to call him a friend.

Alexis A. Hunter  – Alexis and I have talked some online and met briefly during the Context convention here in Columbus last fall. She's young and, like Alex, has had dozens of short stories published in recent years.

Robert Lowell Russell – Robert is in the same writing group that Sarah Hans and I are in; in fact, he's the person who recommended I look into the group. He's written a number of stories that I've felt have a really solid emotional core and which I expect I'll see published in the not-too-distant future. He also has the ability to write humorous stories and was one of only a handful of recipients of a three-star rating (the highest rating awarded) for 2012 short stories by Tangent Online in their Recommended Reading List for his very funny story "The Flittiest Catch" in an issue of Intergalactic Medicine Show.

Beth Cato – Beth is the only one on this list I haven't met. She lives in Arizona and I live in Ohio. Amusingly, though, she lives in Buckeye, Arizona and Ohio is The Buckeye State. She's had numerous short stories published in recent years and also is an avid writer of poetry. Additionally, she enjoys baking and blogging her recipes; around Christmas I made a batch of her snickerdoodles which turned out wonderfully!

All four of these authors are ones I can imagine doing great things in the years and decades to come. I hope that all of them can be... The Next Big Thing!


  1. Sounds like a good story! Tattoos can be very interesting, if there is a meaning behind why the person has them. Congrats on 300 posts!

  2. I just hit 300 hundred too. Wish we were bowling!

  3. Ooh, very intriguing! Congrats on hitting the 300 milestone.

  4. Oh Wow! Michael, you are awesome. you have completed 300 posts successfully, great. Great work.