Posts Tagged #5MinuteFiction

#flashathon Early Details

If you’ve been paying attention to my Twitter account lately you may have seen me mention something called #flashathon, without any other real details.  Right now that’s because there aren’t a lot of details to give, but I’d like to start changing that.

Flashathon is a flash fiction marathon that I will be cohosting with Unleaded.  The goal was to create an event as a lead-in to Nanowrimo to get the creative juices flowing.  I had the idea a few weeks ago when I saw a blogger elsewhere do what she called a blogathon, a twenty-four hour sleep-deprived crazy blogging session that resulted in a new post every thirty minute.  Crazy things like that appeal to me, though our event will be half as long and half again as frequent.

So that’s all philosophical stuff, you want the actual meat and potatoes.  Flashathon will be a 12 hour flash fiction marathon running from noon until midnight eastern time (9am to 9pm pacific) on October 22nd, 2011.  That’s a Saturday.  The event will consist of 12 posts here in Writerly Words, each with a cue for that hour to give people a jumping off point for their creativity.  I’m going to be taking a lot of inspiration from #5MinuteFiction and the #HumpDayChallenge, so sometimes the cue will be one word, sometimes it will be an opening sentence, and sometimes it will be five words to include.

The idea is to create a drop-in-drop-out event.  We realize that we’ve picked a Saturday, and that some of our participants have lives, but we want to make it welcoming for someone who wasn’t able to do, say, 2pm and 3pm to come right back in at 4pm.  There will be badges, and we’re currently working out what the three success levels will be.

Also, in the spirit of Nanowrimo, the rules will be loose.  There will be cues every hour, but that doesn’t mean you have to use them.  There will be posts each hour so that stories can be left in the comments, you don’t have to post them.  As always, since this is a public medium, any story posted may be considered already published by a prospective editor, so if in any particular hour you want to just post that you did write a story and perhaps what it was generally about, or share any of the thought that went into it, you will still be considered a participant in that hour.

This will all be based on the honor system, because I tend to trust writers.  And really, all you’re winning in the end will be a PNG blog badge that we’ll be unveiling at a later date.

So those are the details thus far.  I’ll make more posts as we have major details, and I’ll be maintaining a Flashathon tab at the top of this page to keep details all in one place.  Come join us.  It’s going to be crazy, and we’re hoping to share the insanity!

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Still moving forward on Fornightcap collection

It’s still several months early, but I still also need to find little projects to squeeze into the gaps between two bigger affairs.  So my next step towards putting together a Fortnightcap collection has been to bring together all my entries for 5 Minute Fiction and Humpday Challenge into the same Scrivener file.  This isn’t to say I’m going to include all of them.  Oh no no no.  I may not even include most of them.  But I’m going to at least look at the finalists and winners I’ve had in each contest and determine whether they have a place in the collection, pending an okay from the organizers of the contests.

What’s more likely to happen is that I’ll use some of them as launching off points.  Especially in the case of 5 Minute, I’ve had a few stories that I really liked the concepts that I came up with on the fly but that feel like…well, stories that were conceived, plotted, and written all in a five minute window.  I’ve already given one such story, That was the Problem, a second life as a Fortnightcap, and there are a few others that I reread while assembling and felt could be stronger, and longer, stories.  This is all moving towards trying to provide some content other than content I’ve already made available for free online.

At the very least, it’s fun to revisit some stories that I really had just left behind.  Though in some cases that was well deserved.

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State of the Writer: June 2011

I got an email last night from Hydra Publications, the house putting out the Steam Works anthology that’ll mark my first actual publication, asking for an Author Bio.  There’s nothing I find more daunting to write, especially early in my career when I can’t easily pad it out with other publications.  That also means that the anthology is still moving forward, and they are still looking for a July publication.  As always, I will keep people in the loop with what I know right here.

So that was a positive note to end a rather positive month.  The month also saw me get rejected from Mammoth Book of Steampunk, but turning the story right around and sending it back out the door.  I got my story done and sent off for Bad-Ass Faeries 4.  Both stories were sent off for June 30th deadline competitions, so there won’t be any news on them until, hopefully, sometime in July.  Also with a June 30th deadline is Future Lovecraft, and I’m up to my elbows in that story.  It’s not turning out to be the smoothest write, but I’m hoping to clean it up a lot, and quickly, in editing.

Had another anthology come across my desk after getting followed by its Twitter account.  It’s called The Memory Eater, and I would pass along more details, but its website looks to be down this morning.  Deadline is July 15th, I remember that much.

Successfully completed two Fortnightcaps, and entered #5MinuteFiction every week this month.  Yay for keeping my brain rotating.

State of the Writer’s Beer: The first bottles of Mustache Cat went into the fridge, and the first has now come out again.  It was a little more bitter than I expected, and the yeast is still in solution, yielding a slight bready flavor, but that’s also Vitamin B.  Strawberry flavor is undeniable, and hopefully everything will mellow out some more with time.  Sat in on a home brew panel at Balticon, and it’s great to see the overlap between brewing and writing.  It’s all about creation, I guess.

Next batch is supposed to arrive at my door step today.  It’s a Lemongrass Ginger Ale that I’ve taken to calling “Space Ale” as whenever I say the name out loud I’ve been saying “Ginger Space Ale” to distinguish it from a non-alcoholic ginger ale (which, yes, also has a space in it, but the point gets across).

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Picking up a thrown gauntlet

What is it about me and writing challenges.  Nanowrimo.  #5MinuteFiction.  And now this:

For those who don’t want to hand-copy links, the link heads over here.  The idea of the challenge is to follow in the literary footsteps of Ray Bradbury, who would write and submit one short story a week.  If you’re looking for someone to emulate, Ray Bradbury is certainly a hell of a person to choose, if for no other reasons than offers like this Hugo nominated one.  But also because he’s one of the most prolific writers in the history of the genre.

Now, in part he’s been so published because he’s damn good, but also because he pushed and tried to get published, and because he just made himself write.

There’s a clear problem with the challenge, and that’s the problem that I’ve clearly failed on it before.  In 2009 I attempted a project based on Jonathan Coulton’s Thing a Week where I endeavored to write a new short story every week.  I failed.  It’s part of why for 2011 I chose to write a new short story every OTHER week.  Clearly, at least at this point in my output, I’m not ready for writing something new every week.

What’s that?  #5MinuteFiction?  Okay, yes, I’ve taken up doing that, but for some reason I don’t tend to count that.  Please don’t tell Leah Petersen.  Why don’t I count that?  To me that’s more of a writing exercise, some mental gymnastics, which is a lot of fun but triggers different parts of my brain than writing for publication.

Fortunately there’s a secondary challenge.  A monthly challenge.  So: challenge accepted.  With the following rules imposed on myself:

  1. 5MinuteFiction does not count.
  2. Fortnightcaps do not count.

Basically, write one story intended for publication rather than a story intended for free distribution each month.  And submit one story (or, ideally, two) each month.

Going to be tough starting mid-month as I am, but I’m not going to let that be an excuse.  And if I can get to a point where I feel more prolific, maybe I’ll up the challenge to 2 of each a month, or even take on the weekly challenge again in 2012.

Damn you, Day.

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Fortnightcaps administrative note

Due to me getting hooked on the 5 Minute Fiction contest every Tuesday, Fortnightcaps will shift to being posted on Thursdays, effective this week.  Anyone looking for a little fresh fiction from me today, check out over here around 1:40pm.  Or come by earlier and join in the fun!

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The Week That Is

Just some updates. First, got a rejection from Mammoth Book on Vampires of Mars. Cry cry, depressed, move on. The story is already back out the door and winging its way towards Writers of the Future. This is a story I really believe in, so I’m going to keep it in heavy circulation with its next several stops already well planned out. This is actually going to be a good week for me submission-wise as I send two stories out the door. Other one is for an anthology with a July 1 deadline, but the story is ready and I don’t want it hanging over my head. Especially since there’s another July 1 anthology I’m going out for that I’ve only got a few hundred words written towards. Eep.

Continuing to be told July on the publication of Steam Works, so I’m still hoping that anthology actually does happen.

The bigger news is about Rust. Several months ago I put Rust out for the Kindle and on Smashwords, largely to explore the process and see how it works for a series of posts over on Unleaded. I left it out there because, what the hell, why not? Well, I recently got my first review on Amazon. Two stars. Ouch. And that started the wheels in motion for eventually pulling it back offline. This isn’t a petulant “someone didn’t like my book so I’m taking my ball and going home” move, but rather one that I’ve always sort of planned. The review drove home that Rust isn’t necessarily the best public face for myself. It was a Nanowrimo project with a plot that’s disjointed at times, a bizarre conclusion, and probably less editing than I would have really liked to do. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t throw out a completely unedited Nano project, I gave it several passes. But in part that’s the problem: I gave it several passes. And I’m really not the world’s best editor.

So Rust will probably come down before the publication of Steam Works.  It won’t be today, but it’ll probably be in the next month or so, and likely without notice.  Anyone who still wants a copy is still free to grab one, just remember to keep your expectations low.  I know, that’s the hard sell right there, isn’t it?

I’m likely talking to some new readers.  At least I hope I am.  I’ve been participating in 5 Minute Fiction the last two weeks (if you’re reading this on the morning it was posted, it’s not too late to vote for my story to help me move from a distant last to merely a distant 4th place) and have seen the readership of my blog spike both Tuesdays and stay higher-than-usual in between.  It’s been a hell of a lot of fun doing these pieces the last two weeks, and plan to keep going and evangelize it to other writers as I can.  It’s all the fun of Nanowrimo with just 1/10800th the time commitment!

Finally, I’ve been talked into Balticon, though will likely only be attending one day of the event.  It’s going to be my first attempt at attending a con semi-professionally.  Yes, I’m going to actually meet people and not shyly wander around and not ask questions in panels.  Fortunately I’ll be guided by much more extroverted friends towards the right people to meet and talk to.

So there’s the week that is for me.  It’s Wednesday, which means I’ll also be posting over on Unleaded today, just as soon as I figure out what I’m going to talk about.  No.  Seriously.  I haven’t a clue right now.

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