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Posts Tagged ‘short fiction’

Hope. Damnable hope.

For most of my life, this has been my Achilles Heel. I simply cannot stop hoping. For things to turn around. For things to get better. For luck to change.

Four years ago (!!) I wrote “The Book of Solomon,” a short story, and started sending it out to markets. After a year an a half of submit-reject-rewrite-resubmit, I called it a day and put the story in the trunk.

Except I didn’t. (more…)

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In the center of my front room is a table. On that table stands a single vase with a single stem on which is a single bloom.

A rose, the first rose of the summer that is yet to come.

From purple to cerise to pink, the outer petals open to reveal their brethren, rank upon rank, unfolding like Mandelbrot origami, endless, hypnotic to the eye.

A single rose, a flower that can fit in the palm of my hand, and yet it fills the room, side to side, top to bottom, three thousand cubic feet, with the scent of honeyed apricots, sweetened cream, dappled sunlight, and the longing of ancient empires.

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Evening shadows
gather beneath the cedars.
Beyond the garden fence
the dogs stir and pace
preparing for the nightly trespass.

Trooping into my garden
the raccoons are confident
unfazed by snapping teeth
beyond the fenceline.

Full-throated threats
voice present frustration.
Irregular
urgent
they disquiet my peace.

The interlopers
unperturbed
disappear into the gloaming.
The dogs
with disconsolate growls
return to their beds.

Night draws the shades.
Trees sigh in the easy breeze.
The moon rises
small and bright
limning dark conifers.

Far off
a distant siren
rouses the sentries.
One lifts her muzzle toward
dark clarity
issues a low, rising note.

Her partner joins
adding contrapuntal lines
to calm, focused song.
They take a breath.
A new verse begins.

The mournful howls
echo memories
of pack
of wild
of ancient blood.
Unhurried
restrained
they salve my soul.

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Le crayon rougeIt amazes me how, every time I read something I’ve written, I want to change it. When I finish it I think it’s great, then I put it down for a while, and when I pick it up again, I’m like…bleah…and I’ve got to make changes.

This has never been more true than with “The Book of Solomon,” my most recent short story, which I’ve recently ceased trying to sell to the “literary” markets.

Now, in my defense, this story is a major departure from my previous fiction, on many levels. It’s a genre I’ve not tried before (historical fiction), and it’s a style very unlike most of my other work. influenced heavily by authors like Gabriel Garcia Márquez and Alice Hoffman, I purposefully avoided dialogue, working toward a more internal narrative and fluid style. Also, I did not shy away from complex syntax; I wanted to let the narrative flow in the way my character might think rather than how a storyteller might speak. Lastly, there’s a flipping ton of chronological intrication, jumping around from present to past to deep past to near future to imagined future.

The result was a minefield. Every page carried dangers. (more…)

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Le crayon rougeDear me. How perspectives change.

A quick follow-up on my decision to pull from the market a story I’ve been shopping around.

When I started going over it, for no other reason than to reformat it for the web, I found that this story, one that I had edited and re-edited, sent to researchers for fact-checking, and passed to my Beta Readers for feedback, this story that, a year ago, I felt was suitable for publication, really needs another round of edits.

And it’s not just that I don’t like this phrase or I’d say that a little differently. There are errors of continuity, spotty problems with past perfect and past conditional verb tenses, and even (shudder!) a typo (only one, but still…yeesh!)

So, grasshopper, remember today’s lesson well:

It’s never as good as you think it is.

k

Pup Dog Speaks

 

 

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Le crayon rougeSixteen months ago, in September, 2014, I began shopping my latest story. It had been a long time since my last go-round marketing a short story, and while a lot had changed, a lot had stayed exactly the same. (more…)

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Kurt R.A. GiambastianiOkay, so I don’t always think things through.

Ages ago, when I was writing nothing but short fiction and sending out MSS to the far corners of the publishing world, I had an idea for a computer application for writers. It was a struggle to keep track of where my dozens of MSS were; where they out with a publisher? For how long? Too long?

So I thought: What if you could enter the names of all your MSS into an app, note when you sent it out, and keep track of where everything was and how long it had been there?

It seemed like a good idea, and so I cracked my knuckles and began to write the code for my MSTracker app.

(more…)

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