Time for a new weekly writer’s roundup of my works-in-progress and those ready to read!
This will be a much more productive writing update than my prior one. :-) Starting Wednesday of last week, I began crafting a new short story during breaks at work. Writing in flurries and chunks, the tale was two-thirds done by Friday. The weekend found me finishing it after a late-night Saturday session and touch-ups Sunday morning at about 2,250 words.
I’m calling the piece Ounta and it’s passing through the hands of my beta-reading friends now, getting feedback and edits. This story accomplishes the two external goals of what I wanted to do with The Boy in the Jar: Pull double-duty as an entrant into a Fantasy Writers Challenge and thereafter be presented it to Ben Van Dongen as the kick-off story for his “Fifth Monday” chain-serial on the Adventure Worlds blog he asked me to write.
The December Fantasy Writers Challenge prompt is “Stone-Age Fantasy”. It’s actually one I came up with a year ago, as I co-moderate the forum with three other active individuals:
…Your Challenge this month is to write a story containing fantasy elements set in a world or culture technologically no more advanced than the Neolithic.
When I’m in charge of a Writers Challenge, I try to put something forth to draw our subreddit members out of their familiar tropes and comfort zones. We have many new and/or young adult writers, and workhorse concepts arising from Tolkien, Martin, D&D and others are frequently taken by new authors as definitions of what fantasy “is”. With my prompts, I try to show them that these works are just one expression of imaginative fiction… That they need not limit their works of fantasy to dragons and broadswords.
The subject of the challenge was made available months ago. I hadn’t intended to write anything for it, and didn’t start (or have an idea for) the story until after its grand announcement last week. Ounta owes it creation to my musings trying to think up a story for Ben with a decently open ending while also answering many eager questions on the forum about the challenge.
These actions cross-pollinated in my mind, and a short primeval tale of fantasy in a primitive stone-age setting was the result.
It ended up being a story with a lot of action and emotion that finishes with a satisfying ending as a standalone. However, I also ended it on an open plain where the next writer in the “Fifth Monday” chain could take it where they pleased. There isn’t much preordained for a next chapter by my story, except perhaps some characters and a setting.
So, when you read this Ben, expect me to send it over to you in a week or two. ;-)
Beyond getting a new short story completed, I also got some work done on Vivian’s Last Cigarette!
This Saturday was a lot like my last weekend in miniature: Lots of running around and house chores alongside my wife. We’re hosting a Yuletide gathering on the 17th, so there’s much to get ready to ensure a fun party. Our efforts were a success, and I even had some time to write in the late afternoon and again after dinner. I spent it working on Ounta.
Sunday, I was able to get down to business on the novel after the final tweaks to the short story in the morning. Having been two weeks since I’d touched chapter sixteen, my eyes were refreshed reviewing it. I found quite a few problems with flow, and there was stuff I had wanted to go back and add or fix anyways. So the day turned into a big round of editing. No complaints about that from me though! I think it put the chapter on a better track.
Monday rolled around and instead getting to go to work… I got snow…
Woah… Thanks Maine.
So with the roads legitimately in no shape for a thirty mile commute, I had a surprise semi-free day handed to me. I used it to get more work done on Vivian’s Last, layered around digging out from under the snow after the storm had stopped.
I added around a thousand words to the chapter. However, that was mixed with a lot of editing, cuts, reworking and rearranging. So it might have been more. Either way, it was a satisfying day of writing. I didn’t get to finish the chapter, but I’m hopeful about next week!
I’ll end this update sharing something that I’ve been experimenting with: Microfiction. Specifically, I’ve been participating in really short (140 characters at most) microfiction on Twitter.
There are a number of these floating around with attached hashtags like #2bitTues or #SlapDashSat. Most let you share a line from your WIP and/or have a weekly theme word or words. I’ve tried sharing actual lines from my WIPs with them, but it usually feels like I’m shoe-horning them to fit.
So instead I just started writing to the weekly themes, trying to craft something interesting and evoke mental imagery. It’s a challenge working with so few words, but also fun! I’ve actually been composing them on my rides into work while my wife drives some days. It’s a cool way to use Twitter to introduce yourself as a writer. Not by tweeting about what you’re up to with your writing or your process, but instead sharing what you do and love… Writing… in tiny, bite-sized samples.
All of the little quotes I’ve shared are from my efforts last week with microfiction. Any catch your eye? If nothing else, it starts my day with some enjoyment and sharpening of my writing skills. It may even lead to crafting recurring charters and threaded stories… I mean, Asil has already had a second appearance. ;-)
There is a link to my Twitter feed on the sidebar, but you can also find and follow me here if you like.
Alright, time for me to stop blogging and get back to writing some more fiction! Micro or not! Take care!