Wednesday, September 28, 2011

DtSS Preview, Blog Award, September/October Goals

Every other Wednesday I announce the story which I'll be analyzing in the upcoming Friday "Dissecting the Short Story." This week's entry will be on P. N. Elrod's story "Beach Girl" from the November, 2011 issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. If you have a copy of that magazine and would like to "read along" with me, now would be the time!

If you're not familiar with the "Dissecting the Short Story" series, what it consists of is a detailed analysis of the story, focusing on a variety of issues such as characterization, plotting, and word choice. All of the stories for this series are selected from major digest magazines. The ultimate goal is to be able to take the knowledge gained from examining the story to help better understand what makes stories which receive publication in the major digest magazines work for editors and readers.

On a different note: Recently Cindy Thrasher let me know that she wanted to present me (and others) with the  Versatile Blogger award. Since it has been a couple of weeks since the last time I accepted similar awards, I wanted to present a new set of facts and pass along the award to some other fellow bloggers. (Due to the "viral" nature of this type of award, many of the blogs I like already have been presented this award. I tried to pick several which I thought were worth visiting and had not yet -- as best as I could tell -- received the award.)

First, the seven facts about me:

  1. I listen to a very wide variety of music and often like to have music on while I'm writing or trying to focus on other thinking-heavy work.
  2. I worked at a McDonald's the summer between my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college. As best as I can recall, I did not make a single hamburger or french fry. This was when McDonald's (at least in our area) was making pizzas and I was the pizza and fajita maker when I worked.
  3. My first computer was a VIC-20. I owned a total of four different models of Commodore computers. (VIC 20, C-64, C-128, 8088 IBM Compatible).
  4. I've been invited to in-person tryouts for Jeopardy! twice. The first time I was not called for the show. I'm (at least theoretically) in the contestant pool for another 4-6 months from my last in-person tryout.
  5. When I was a child I thought that I disliked curry and, by extension, Indian food. Naturally, Indian is now my favorite "ethnic" cuisine.
  6. My interest in film noir dates back to a night in high school when I was sick and couldn't sleep. I stumbled across Detour on late-late night cable.
  7. The first "real" concert I went to was to see Yes on their Union tour in Dayton in the spring of 1991.

Now, to pass the Versatile Blogger Award along... The lucky awardees are:

Cheryl Reif at Cheryl's Musings
Carrie Butler at So You're a Writer
Nadja Notariani at An Author's Adventures

Since it's pretty much the end of September, I'm going to review my status on September goals and document my October goals.

1) Write 15,000 words of fiction across at least four stories. - Achieved. I've worked on at least six different stories this month and have written somewhere in the neighborhood of 25,000 words.
2) Take all of my August stories which have not yet gone through Beta/critique through Beta/critique. - Partially achieved. There are a few stories which haven't gone through this process. In addition, there are a couple that I've gotten feedback on which I still need to revise. Though I don't get 100% for this goal, I do feel that having a focus on getting and using quality critique feedback has improved my writing.
3) Stick to my planned Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday blogging schedule. - Achieved.

Now for the October goals:

1) Add at least 15,000 words to my novel with the working title Learners.
2) Write at least two short stories of 1500 words or more.
3) Perform prep work for NaNoWriMo.
4) Arrange to write a guest post for another blog.
5) Stick to my planned Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday blogging schedule.

Looks like October's going to be a busy month! Anyone out there have goals they'd like to share?


  1. Jeopardy huh? Very cool fact.

    I'm glad you mentioned NaNoWriMo for your October goals. I think I'll do the same and get ready for it as well.

  2. A timely post, Michael, I'm just wondering what I should get up to next month. Hmm, I'm not sure. I usually go on Duotrope and look up some likely publications for inspiration. I am struggling at the longer length. Hmmm, yes. Maybe a good goal would be to write a novelette and sub it.

  3. @Angela, it will be even cooler if I ever get "The Call" :)

    @Deborah, if you're going to Duotrope you can check out their list of upcoming themed, etc. deadlines as well.

  4. Congrats Michael on reaching your novel and blogging goals!

    Still debating on NaNoWriMo...:)

  5. Thanks, Christy! If you decide to do NaNo and want to be writing buddies, just let me know!

  6. I forgot about McDonald's having pizza! :O That was in the nineties, wasn't it?

    Sorry, back to the main point of my comment... Ahem! Congratulations! :)

    Thank you for passing it on to me. I really appreciate it. :)

  7. Thanks, Michael, for the award! I'm a versatile kinda-girl? Wow! Ha ...

    Loved your facts. I never got to see Yes perform. I never had McDonald's pizza, either. And I love to play Jeopardy! (Well, at home, anyway) We used to always have game night when I lived nearby my sister - and her husband refused to ever play with her again! He claimed that while he was at work, she must have been memorizing all the answers so she could beat him! Ha! We still laugh over his little 'outburst'....
    Good luck with your October writing goals, too! I need to sit down and write out my goals for the upcoming ROW80 session. ~ Nadja

  8. @Carrie, yep, I worked there in the summer of 1991!

    @Nadja, oh my, that's too funny! Good luck with your ROW80 planning. I've thought I might look into that more once I get past the NaNo madness.