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Metamorphosis of a Story- Part Eight

ACCEPTANCE

Holy Shit! I did it!

My first published story, “Pool Sharks,” will be in the 2014 spring issue of Tales of the Talisman.

I just got the e-mail (literally—like minutes ago). When I read the first line, I was expecting the whole “thanks, but this isn’t quite for us. . . blogitty, blah, blah . . .”

Wow, I’m just beside myself. Stunned.

Thanks for all you fine folks out there who have believed in me and my stories. I need the support you all give me. Thanks so much . . . (wow, was that an acceptance speech???)

WIP Update: Though I have been on station break, I still work on my novel quite a bit. I’m working on back story for my love interest. It’s been a fun time doing all this research. I’ve learned a lot about Civil War era women.

Station Break

please_stand_byAck. I hate to do this, because its screws up some new year’s resolutions, but I need to curb my blogging and writing for a little bit as I continue my education in the hopes of getting a grown-up job. I’ll be back when my routine settles.

See y’all in a bit. . .

walking-cliche-2I was so excited last night. I finally had the opportunity to talk to someone about my story (it really is a rare occurrence). A friend of mine has some of the same attributes of my story’s love interest and I was milking her brain for a few insights. Then I talked to her a little about the story’s love plot. She listened patiently, nodded her head, and said, “Dan, that sounds cliché.”

Ouch.

Curious, I looked on the interwebs for what is considered trite in romance storylines and found I had a couple: husband is the antagonist, and the hero or heroine dies in the end.

Well drat.

I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what is trite and what is not. If something seems trite, I try to put a spin on it. But you know, it’s pretty darn tricky sometimes. It’s hard to create a unique story when there are literally millions of stories that have been told before. Inevitably, you’re going to hit on the same themes, characters, and plots.

And then there is the issue of reader expectations. I posted a few months ago about the Hero’s Journey which espouses there are certain elements that the human mind expects in a story. I believe there is a fine line between what is considered a cliché and what is an expectation or an archetype.

So, what do you guys think? You have any tricks for staying out of the cliché realm? I know reading widely certainly helps. You got any more suggestions?

WIP Update: I have still been working on backstory for my story’s love interest and have made some pretty good progress. This week is going to be tough because I have a complete change of routine. I have a week long certification class (I’m trying to get a grown-up job). We’ll see if I can get any work done. May be tricky.

Crawling into the Skin of the Opposite Sex

what-if-im-gay-but-also-a-woman-inside-a-mans-body

A friend once told me that if you find yourself writing in the voice of a person who is the opposite sex you are, then you are secretly that gender. I don’t know about that, but it certainly has gotten me thinking about writing from the POV of the opposite sex.

For some reason, I have never had much difficulty writing from the POV of a woman. I look back over the years, and I would say about a quarter of my POVs have been women. I don’t know why I have been able to make this transition so easily. I wonder if I should be concerned about my masculinity.

Maybe it’s because of my upbringing. I am the only boy between two sisters. I also had a mother who doted on me. I notice that I am typically more comfortable speaking with women than I am with men. I may just be more comfortable being in the skin of a woman. . . Did I just say that?

Whatever the reason, it helps me with my writing. I’m currently writing about my story’s love interest, Rose. So far, she has been the most intriguing character in the novel. I was curious as to how my writer friends out there handle writing from the POV of the opposite sex. Do you struggle with it? Is it easy? What tips do you have that helps when you write from these POVs? Do you take Melvin Udall’s advice from As Good As it Gets?

WIP Update—No Lie. This month has been the worst. Sickness. Work. More sickness. Kids on vacation. More work. Someone please just take this month and throw it in the trash can. Fortunately, I’m starting to get back in the groove of things. I’m currently reading a book about antebellum women in Charleston and have started a dialogue with a Civil War re-enactor to give me some insights into Civil War era women. Pretty fun stuff actually.

 

 

… And Away She Goes

Bull SharkToday, for the first time in twelve years, I submitted a short story to a magazine.

The story is called Pool Sharks. I wrote it about ten years ago. It was based upon a dream I had about a swimming pool full of sharks. I thought the story was pretty good, but admittedly, it wasn’t my normal genre (dark fantasy). I had some people look at it, they made their comments, and it just kind of sat around for a decade.

I’m not really sure why I didn’t do anything with it. Of course, I had about four or five other short stories that hadn’t gone anywhere either (a few had been rejected by some magazines).

Anyway . . . I picked this one back up about four or five months ago, still thought it was good, dusted it off a little, and sent it out for some feedback. Most everyone harped on the ending. I changed it up a bit, resent it out for another look over and bingo. People liked what they read.

Now its on its way to Tales of the Talisman. I think it would fit in well with this particular magazine, but we’ll see.

WIP Update: I hate to say it, but between life getting in the way and me being unfocused, I haven’t done ANY work on the Gideon Plan. I’m hoping to get my arse back in gear soon. I don’t really have much in the way of excuses. I’m just not doing it.

P.S. Oh yes, one more thing–A shout out to Bare Knuckle Writer who just wrote about how to acquire rejection letters, something I may have to reread when this story comes back with REJECT written on it. Knuckles writes with a hilarious in-your-face style. I really dig her posts.

Does Blogging Time Count as Writing Time?

I’ve seen this question kicked around a few times during the last year. I thought I’d get on my e-soap box and belt out some of my thoughts on the subject.

As some already know, I don’t keep a word tally. I judge my progress by milestones and if my goals are reached or not, so the question of “does my blogging posts count as part of my word count” does not really apply to my philosophy.

When I think of the writing process, I think of it as a whole. Its not just about the words we put down on the page, its a host of other things: finding inspiration, studying our craft, researching publishers and agents, thinking time, organizing our our files, etc., etc.

One thing I feel that goes into this list of essentials is networking. For me, this is where blogging fits nicely.

Blogging is my support group. Its where I can go out and share my doubts and triumphs and offer words of encouragement to others. Its also where I can learn from other’s mistakes and get good advice and insight. This is why I consider it part of “writing time.”

So, here’s to all my fellow bloggers out there.  You are an important part of my writing process. Thanks for what you do and keep blogging!

WIP Update: I have sent another short story out for folks to critique and am close to having another short story ready to be sent out to a magazine. The Gideon Plan is moving slower. I need to get my butt in gear on that front.

I, the undersigned, resolve to . . .

new-years-resolution-be-more-awesomeMy New Year’s Writing Goals. Attainable, me thinks. Sorry I’m a few days late . . .

Education & Networking
• Become member of the Florida Writer’s Association
• Attend Florida Writer’s Association Conference in October
• Attend 9 of the local writers club meetings.
• Read 10 novels and write a short synopsis of what I learned.
• Blog once a week

Writing
• Finish rough draft of The Gideon Plan.
• Write two new short stories or resurrect two old ones.

Publishing
• Publish one short story or receive 10 rejection letters trying.

How about you guys? What are your writing goals?

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