Posts Tagged ‘stories’

With the 2013 Short Story Challenge, I had two goals:

Write enough stories to participate in Khara House’s Submit-O-Rama in October

Learn to write really good short stories

As the count sits now, the first objective was met but the second is doubtful. Here’s the box score:

Finished – 16

Accepted – 2 (one to Spry and one to the Wordsmith Studio Literary Mash-Up)

Rejected Once – 7

Rejected Twice – 2

Pending – 6

The rejected twice (like this one) are the ones that hurt the most because I really, really like them the way they are. I thought I would revise them and resubmit but, really, I think they’re wonderful.

So I’m sitting on them for a while. Maybe the next time I look at them I’ll see what their flaws are.

When one meets one objective and not the other, the question is how to meet the other. Certainly revision is a good task but also more practice. I need to write more stories.

With that in mind, rather than abandon the Short Story Challenge 2013 as over, I’ve decided to continue into 2014 and have another 12 stories ready for October to meet Khara’s 3-per-week minimum submission requirement.

This year I have three collections I’m working on:

Snowed in Memphis

The Derecho

Bearskin

I sketched the Memphis outlines but haven’t filled them in yet. That project requires some research as it’s a literary project with some Canterbury Tales tie-ins. It’s been fifteen years since I studied The Canterbury Tales (and then I did it in Middle English ugh!) but this idea has been with me since 2001, so I’m going to pursue it this year.

Last year’s stories include three from The Derecho, but a collection needs at least 10 so that leaves seven more stories to be told. I have the beginnings of two.

Bearskin is the retelling of a Grimm fairy tale from several angles and including various elements of supernatural occurrences. The drafts come from the Reuts Publications November project (all three of mine were rejected, alas). They’re a YA publisher and I am not a YA writer, so I’ll revise these into my genre.

These projects are against the advice of a novelist I met in 2013 who said, “No one buys short story collections.”

I guess they must be simply for my own education and appreciation. I can be okay with that. I had an objective in 2013 that I failed to achieve: Learn to write really good short stories.

Renewing that objective for 2014 is, I think, the right thing to do if I am to become the writer I want to be. And who is that writer?

The one who writes really good short stories, of course.

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So I’ve done it. With a little help from my friend Jodie Smith over at The Queendom, I’ve gotten three more stories ready for submission and sent them off into the literary universe.

Here are the selections and the magazines to which they were sent:

Run or Bleed

When the evidence of failure shows up again, Amy does the thing she’s best at: she runs. Favorite passage:

She could see the light in the bathroom glowing as she passed home and knew Michael was in the shower. She was behind schedule so she thought about cutting the route short and heading inside. Instead, she picked up the pace for the last mile.

Submitted to Damselfly Press, a literary organization promoting women issues and women writers.

Have You Seen

A billboard asking for help finding a missing woman brings to mind questions about how the woman went missing in the first place. Three character profiles in the imagination of a fourth woman make up “Have You Seen.” Favorite passage:

That moment, that hard labor, that fear when the baby hadn’t cried right away, the three weeks of bed rest leading up to it, being such a pain-in-the-ass pregnancy that she’d sworn she wouldn’t do it again. The weight from the second one wasn’t even gone yet when she’d gotten pregnant with the third. All that and another damned boy.

Submitted to The Lascaux Review because some of their published works I read had the same tone as “Have You Seen.”

Schickabusch Waits

Originally scheduled for week three but the best fit for a magazine that asked for alternative views, Schickabusch is about an Elf on the Shelf who is trying to earn his freedom. Favorite passage:

This year will be different. This year the kid is four. She’ll find him, she’ll grab him. The spell will be broken. He won’t be able to return to the North Pole. He’ll stowaway with the shredded wrapping paper in the garage, ride the garbage to the curb. He’ll be free.

Submitted to Gone Lawn, a web journal that says they’re about “progressive” literature. I thought the pop culture tie-in of Schickabusch was appropriate.

So that’s it. One more week, three more stories. The ones for this week are under editing right now.

How’s your Submit-O-Rama challenge coming?

All right, short story writers. The first seven months of our Short Story Challenge 2013 have come and gone. The goal was 13 stories completed in 2013.

Here’s my count:

These stories are “New & Need Edits”:

First Time

Packing

Boston

God Called

Daylight

At the Fair

These are the “Old & Revised”:

Run or Bleed

Two Trunks — ACCEPTED to Spry Literary Magazine for its upcoming Issue #3

Hot Coffee Miracles

These are the “New & Not Finished”:

Sunday School

Wedding March

Come Home

Sadie Wallace

So I count 13 stories there and the goal was to have 13 ready for submission during the October-December submission window.  I also started a series, Snowed in Memphis, which I plan to have follow the Canterbury Tales organization. The prologue draft is here.

Next steps

I’m going to focus on the old and revised and try to polish those for submission. Then I’ll work on the new and need edits to get them ready for submits. They’re the closest contenders.

As for the New & Nots, I think I need to put together a workshop for those. Something along the lines of, “What does the character want?” and “What’s the story really about?” Snowed in Memphis needs a lot of construction work, so it’s probably going have to wait until the Challenge is over.

What about you? How far have you gotten in the 2013 Short Story Challenge?