Writer’s Fight Club

fight.jpgI’ve been worked over by a story all summer.  I feel like we’ve been beating each other up and down and neither of us is winning.

At this point, I hate this story. But, no, not true. I love it. I love the characters and want them to have a voice, a say in their life.

But, gosh darn it – speak!

Maybe I have not been giving the story it’s due, it’s time. The main character, Bella, came simply enough and her father did too. This is the primary relationship and the source of conflict in the story, but then there are a whole bunch of secrets. Aren’t there always?

I wrote the first draft and showed it to my writing partner who said the story had merit and I should keep at it. So, here I am, months later, keeping at it! Frustrated.

Writers understand this. Sometimes stories do this to us. The story wants/needs to be told, but it’s so hard in coming.

I need to do it. I need to force it. I need – I don’t know. Maybe it’s the story’s needs I should think about. It needs some time maybe, more thought; it needs to be brought to life for whatever reason it was given to me to write.

 

Monday Motivation

Sometimes, when I need some quick new ideas (my overstuffed file of ideas aside) I ask for a challenge. I ask people to give me two things, and they can be random. A pet bunny and a fear of heights. A bridge and a broken leg. They don’t even have to have anything to do with each other.

This is a challenge and a creative inspiration exercise – can I write short stories from these ideas?

Last time I asked for such a thing – I used all but one of the ideas and wrote five short stories in a month.

One of my writer friends said I can’t do that, I shouldn’t do that. She said that was false tantrumwriting or forced writing.

Okay, but…  Sometimes we need to force things out in order to get back into good habits, and, gosh, don’t tell me can’t. It just makes that two year old inside me want to do it even more.

I do understand what she’s saying – writing should be organic and natural to us. BUT – as I say, sometimes you gotta push it a little.

By the way – all those short stories were accepted and/or published within a few months.

So – anyway – I’m asking now. I need a little forcing. Give me two things. Random or not. Can be anything. Mayonnaise in a taco random or bunny on a beach cute. 

Go.

Thanks.

3 Things Writers Hate About You (jk)

You don’t have to be a psychic to know there are things writers have in common. Some love them, some hate them. But, if you’re a writer and they haven’t happened to you yet, they will!

  1. Every writer runs into multiple people who, upon find out they’re a writer, says, “I have this story I want to write…” the conversation then progresses in a few ways. The person will tell them they’re story, will ask them to write it for them (for free), or will suddenly be afraid their story will be stolen.
  2. Every writer has someone ask them for free copies. Writers get a limited number of copies, unless, of course, they are Stephen King or someone like that. And sometimes the copies aren’t exactly free.
  3. Almost every writer who has a social media account has had some amateur plug their own book on the writer’s page by dropping a link, comparing it, or other. This is rude, distasteful, and will not win the person friends. I’ve deleted and blocked people who’ve done that.

Now, given this is my page – I’ll plug my own book – released this week. Get it here!

psych cover for kdp

 

Publishing in Literary Journals

A number of literary journals have given up, so to speak; in other words, gone out of business. They are either publishing online only or not publishing at all. I’ve received a number of emails or notifications from literary journals and, in some cases, well known or otherwise recognized and considered successful literary journals like Tin House that they will no longer publish.

The main reason is the cost or publication vs sales. Many literary journals operate in the red, a few may break even. I don’t think any of them are rolling in the dough.

Even the writers they publish accept their free copies and don’t purchase other copies. I understand; how many subscriptions can one writer – being paid in free copies – have?

This leaves us writers with fewer places to submit.

There are a number of online journals looking for work, and more forming every day. Although some of them are quality, I personally want more information than just a description of a new and upcoming online journal accepting submissions.

Duotrope and Poets and Writers offer more information on many of them – that’s a good resource.

I, however, think I’ll donate my time to finishing novels and fewer short stories. The shorter fiction may or may not be submitted, may or may not find a home.

 

Successful Writing

Okay, so not bragging, but….. I’ve been hard at work….

voices of eve

The Healer’s Daughter in The Ear

The Healer’s Daughter is a departure for me. It marks a turns in my writing that came about just this year. It’s more mystical. Risky, maybe. A woman’s daughter describes her mother’s gift and discovers she has her very own gift, but will she actually use it?

The Healer’s Daughter will be featured in my summer release of How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party. It’s a book of short stories, all of which have a special or surprising twist.

 

voices of eve.png

Friends, Lovers, and Liars in Home Renovation

Originally titled Deception, it didn’t find a home. In fact, the topic of lies and cheating offended one editor. I think it may have hit too close to home.  It, too, will be released in the summer release of How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party.

 

 

 

voices of eve

How to Throw a Psychic Surprise Party in The Electric Press Magazine

The title story for the book of short stories. Inspired by a show in which I saw a television host throw a “surprise” party for a psychic. It struck me – How do you throw a psychic a surprise party?

This story may answer that question. Maybe not. How much empathy can you muster?

 

 

voices of eve

Hunger and other poems as well as some photography in Voices of Eve

 

Not in the book of short stories. But well worth the read. Hunger is one of my favorite poems.

 

 

psychic cover front

 

Also in the book of short stories –

The Crier: In a time when emotions are unheard of, people need a release.

The Mirror People: Ever wondered what’s inside the mirror? You know there’s something, right? Here’s a woman who collects them – she knows.

Bowie and the Basket Case: Anna’s things keep disappearing and reappearing. At first she thinks she’s misplaced them, but then she’s sure she hasn’t!

How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party is available for Pre-order!

 

 

When I’m Not Writing

the-incredible-hulk-tv-best-episodesConjure images of the old David Banner/Incredible Hulk, “You won’t like me angry.” That’s the way I feel when I’m not writing. Not that I’m angry – I just feel, “you won’t like me when I’m not writing.”

When I’m not writing, I’m fidgety, distracted, and I don’t sleep well. There’s too much going on my head for me to relax.

Do other writers feel the same?

 

 

When they believe it’s about you….

cover of west endI’ve written so many stories from first person point of view. At first, I was nervous because people did ask – is that real? is that you? and even contacted me and said – I know that’s about you.

So, it does make a person nervous about what they write and publish.

But at some point, you’ve got to let people think what they want to think. None of it will affect you in the long run.

I had an editor refuse a fictional story because, he said, it’s memoir and ultimately we didn’t ask for your personal story.

I thought – it must be good if he thought it was me! But I didn’t bother to correct him. It was a fiction call and I’d submitted fiction. If the editor didn’t realize the “I” didn’t necessarily represent the author, but the character, he is probably not the editor I need to work with nor the journal I want to be published in.

I worried about this with West End – my first big publication. One of the big criticisms girl on train tracks.jpgfrom someone who believed they knew me thought it wasn’t a realistic portrayal of me. I had to tell him because the character was not me! While the same story convinced another person that I’d led a secret life prior to moving to California.

Possibly, one of the convincing elements of the story is the setting. The place, the west side of Cleveland, where I grew up, is real. You can trace the steps of my characters who walked the path passed the baseball field and lost themselves on the train tracks, or those who played in the abandoned buildings. The streets are still there, the houses still stand, except the one which burned to the ground – a vacant lot interrupts the landscape of the neighborhood.

West End was a passion project. It was for the kids who I’d known and those I didn’t who never made it out. But it wasn’t me. Maybe parts of me live there in the pages and parts of me live on those streets.

Ultimately, you can’t allow another person’s possible opinion of you affect your writing.