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Posts Tagged ‘writing techniques’

Dragons AheadRejection: a small message written in fog and tea leaves from which a writer tries to extract any clue as to where the hell he went wrong.

I’ve got ’em–a big thick stack of ’em–and now that I’ve re-entered the fray of short story marketing, I’m getting more. Unfortunately, as cryptic as were the rejections I amassed a decade ago, the ones hitting my desk these days are totally inscrutable.

But last week’s Submit post got me thinking about those old rejections…Was there more to learn from them than I thought? So I went up into the attic, pulled down the dusty, crack-edged binder, and started to paw through them.

Here’s what I found.

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Dragons AheadI’ve never liked the word “submit.” To Submit, to place under, to capitulate, to yield.

Nope. Never liked it.

When I started writing, I learned a new meaning for the word “submit”: to send for consideration a manuscript, born of sweat and tears, wrapped in prayers and orisons, in hopes that, against overwhelming odds and counter to all probability, an editor will find it pleasing and bestow upon it the gift of acceptance.

And submit I did. Often and regularly. For years. I have the rejections to prove it (more on them, next week). For now, though, some thoughts on the mechanics of submitting your work to markets.

First: Do it.

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Coffee and NewspaperWhen I visited my school guidance counselor to discuss my future careers, the term “creativity scientist” never came up. Then again, neither did “musician” or “novelist” or even “computer programmer,” all of which I have used to describe various aspects of my “career.”

But “creativity scientist?” Wow, that sounds like a good gig. Of course, “zookeeper” sounds great, too, until you realize that it’s mostly shoveling poop. Come to think of it, “shoveling poop” describes every single job I’ve ever had, to one degree or another. Sometimes it’s my poop. Most times it’s someone else’s. No matter what, it’s poop. Everyone shovels poop.

Anyway…Jefferson Smith, who runs the Creativity Hacker website and blog, obviously attended a different school district than I did. He is a creativity scientist and novelist, and he’s got some interesting ideas and thoughts on all things creative, and especially about creative writing.

One of his ideas is his “Immerse or Die” program: Take a book, get on the treadmill, and see how long the author keeps the reader immersed in the world of the novel. (more…)

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Stack of Books

After successfully avoiding pen and paper during my recent vacation (Thank you, World Cup!) on Sunday I finally grabbed myself by the collar, sat myself down at the deck table, put a pen in my hand and paper before me, and started the short story that has been nipping at my heels like a poorly trained corgi for nearly a month.

I started writing at about 7AM Sunday and finished it at around 11PM. It clocked in at about 3000 words.

For me, that is fast writing. But that wasn’t the interesting bit.

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Writing with Pen and PaperWelcome one, welcome all, to the fourth stop on the Writing Process Blog Tour, one of those writerly process-ish bloggy tour-like things that we use as an excuse to talk about our passion: writing.

My name is Kurt, and I’ll be your host for as long as you keep reading.

Thanks to my predecessor, J.Z. Murdock, author of darkness, for the invitation to join the tour.

The premise is simple. At each stop along the tour, the author talks about his/her writing processes, and then hands you off to the next writer in line. (Todd…you ready?)

It’s just four simple questions:

  • What am I working on?
  • How does my work differ from others in its genre?
  • Why do I write what I do?
  • How does my writing process work?

Still here? Good.

Here we go…

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The 53 StepsChange is not “good.” We just say that to put on a brave face. The fact is that change is neither inherently good or bad. Change, like the universe, is neutral.

Change just is.

There have been a lot of changes around my house in the last 24 months. In that time, my wife and I have lost three of our four parents. Big change. Also during this period my wife discovered Facebook and, as a result, our social circles have widened and multiplied. Change, also pretty big from my POV. And, for the past several months we’ve had a houseguest, a young person whose life blew up while visiting us, and whom we’re helping get reestablished. Epic change.

In other words, my home life, my level of social interaction, and my private world have all undergone dramatic and fundamental transformations. And it’s made me a bit stroppy.

Yes. Stroppy. Look it up. (more…)

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Iris in RainI kneel in the dripping ivy. A trowel in one hand, my other is deep in the soil, searching for the dandelion’s root. The root twists and writhes beneath my fingers, wet and tough, unwilling.

The rain taps across my hat’s felted brim, caresses my steaming back with its cool touch. The spring day is cold, but my work keeps me warm.

The bite of woodsmoke reaches me. I lift my nose and scent the air. My breath comes out a mist.

I grimace as digits plunge farther down into the black loam. The earth envelopes my hand, its serenity infuses me, my worries leach away.

I am the root, now. I am the plant. I am the garden.

k

Pine Pollen

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