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Posts Tagged ‘short story writing’

This week’s post brought surprise, rage, and embarrassment, all in a single envelope. Also enclosed: a copy of The Timberline Review #7, wherein my story, “The Book of Solomon,” is published.

So, exactly why did receiving a hardcopy of my published work engender such fire and furor?

Read on.

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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.

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Stack of BooksWhen I went to sleep, I was thinking about the story I’m working on.

When I woke up, I was thinking about the story I’m working on.

This is exactly what I hoped would happen, when I decided to put off working on my new novel and pick up a short story instead. The novel was too big a project, what with all the other drama in our lives. The short story was more manageable, more…realistic…given my current state of mind.

So, what have I done on this old story? (more…)

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Writing with Pen and PaperI want to write. I want to start writing my new novel. But I can’t. Not right now.

This is not procrastination. This is not the usual fear of failure that stymies me at the beginning of new projects.

This is fallout.

Life has gone all Tennessee Williams on our asses, and it steals a lot of energy–psychic, emotional, physical, spiritual. I’m just not up to starting a massive project like a new novel.

But I want to write.

So I’m going to take another tack. I’m going to sidestep this emotional turmoil. Like one of the fiddler crabs on the shore where I grew up, I’m going to crab-walk to the side, and hit my opponent’s flank. (more…)

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No one has said it yet; they don’t have to. There’s already a little schoolmarm voice in my head that says it loud and clear:

You shouldn’t be wasting time with a blog! You should be writing!

True, and yet…

Working on posts and pages for this blog takes time; I cannot deny it. But what I have found is that the time spent on the blog isn’t really wasted. On the contrary, I find that writing here invigorates my drive to write and exercises my technique. It also reinforces my love of the written word as I play with phrases and concentrate on the structure and focus of the much shorter form a blog post requires.

Just as a musician must work at scales and etudes, and just as a painter may create a small study for a larger work, so must a writer flex and build up literary “muscle.” When I had more time (and to be honest, more discipline), I would exercise my chops by writing a short story, but that in itself is a large expenditure of effort, especially when compared to the usually small and isolated payoff.

Thus, most importantly, I find that a blog post gives me an immediate payoff, as well as providing possible feedback via comments and re-blogs. These two things are very strong motivators, and are simply not part of the long marathon of writing a novel (especially for a Basher, like me).

So now, when that schoolmarm voice goes off in my head, I shall remember that time spent on this blog is not necessarily time wasted, and that every art and skill requires practice and study.

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