Tag Archive: short stories

New Year, New Chances

There’s a sense of healing, a sense of redemption and a sense of reflection when we arrive at the beginning and the end of a year. It’s almost like reaching the end of a chapter of a book and pausing for a moment to reflect on what we’ve read up until this point before continuing on. What is it exactly that makes us wait until the end of the year to be the most reflective and to start to change and rearrange the way that we live our lives? Why not do it in the middle of the week, the middle of the month or in the middle of spring? Perhaps there’s something about 365 days of trying our best to stick to a new commitment. Perhaps when the ball drops in Times Square we drop our bad habits and hang-ups along with it. Whatever it is, I say journey onward toward the new year, toward the new you.

This year I plan on being a better me. I know that I’m capable of doing so much more in my life if I simply stop being afraid of what may happen and stop being lazy. If current events have taught us anything, it’s that we don’t know when or how we’ll be snatched away from the grip of life. I don’t want to die knowing that I could have made more of an effort to become published, more of an effort to write more, more of an effort to really explore the ideas buzzing in my head throughout the day. How many great stories and great authors have remained in the shadows of obscurity all because they were afraid to put themselves and their work out there or too lazy to truly apply themselves to their writing? I don’t want that to be said about me, and I don’t want to go to bed thinking that I wasted another day.

This year I want to work on having more of my stories published while continuing to blog and build up an audience. I also plan on continuing my search for an agent even though I’m still on the fence about becoming traditionally published. If my agent can’t get me a book deal, then maybe she or he can at least help me start my career through another medium. I would like to write comic book scripts, TV/movie scripts and video game scripts. Maybe the agent who can’t find me a book publisher will be able to find me a TV show to write for.

I’m almost finished with the final chapter of my novel and I’m ready to devote more time to my serial story Dark on the Rock over at JukePop Serials. I’m really excited about where the story is going. To think it originally started out as just an experiment. Hopefully it will help with my exposure and efforts to build a platform.

I think it’s best if I quantify my goals rather than simply state them. That way I’ll have a bullseye to aim for rather than a target. Hitting a target is easy, but hitting the bullseye requires work. (Feel free to use that quote as long as you credit me. 🙂 ) I’m going to have at least six short stories published and send out ten to 15 query letters to agents. The first draft of my novel will be finished by January 15th and I’m going to devote more time to Dark on the Rock. I also want to do more with my freelance writing. It’s always nice to have a job you like, and even better to have a job that you like and that you’re good at doing.

Alright, another 365-day long journey has begun…well less now that it’s the third, but you know what I mean.

What are your writing goals for 2013 and why do you think it is that most people wait until the new year to make major changes in their lives as opposed to starting the next day/week/month?


The Long & Short Of It

As with many writers, I dream of having more than a few bestselling novels under my belt while I’m still senile enough to recognize myself in the mirror. Writers may sit at their laptops, notebooks and in coffeeshops trying to develop a fantastic and wholly original idea for a novel or series of novels. We come up with a cast of characters, map out chapters and might even develop a series bible if we’re really feeling ambitious. We start foaming at the mouth at the idea of starting this epic and sprawling adventure.

And then it happens…

…you run…


…of steam.

Three or four chapters in you realize that that fully realized idea was only a premature birth and needs more time in a creative incubator before it’s developed enough to run rampant through the literary world. This has happened to me on more than one occasion. I’ve realized that forcing a novel hardly ever works. I’m starting to realize that some ideas are meant to be novels, and others are short stories and should only exist as such. This isn’t to say that a short story can’t eventually become a novel, but simply that you should first write it as it’s intended to be before going back to see if there’s more underneath that pile of 5,000 words. Think of it as a buffet: rather than getting excited and heaping as much as you can on your plate, sample a few of your top favorites and see if your stomach can handle more.

Short stories are a magnificent exercise, regardless of if you’ve written several novels or have just started dabbling in writing. They allow writers to release the short bursts of creativity that may be keeping them from sleeping or fully focusing on other projects. Short stories force you to cut down on excess word fat, tell a tight, contained story and shape up your writing style.  I really enjoy variety and switching from genre to genre every now and then. In the past I would bind myself to working on my novel and only my novel.

I now realize how foolish that was.

Rather than forcing my creativity to go in a certain direction, I should instead allow my creativity to force me in a certain direction. It’s not as if my novel will evaporate or die if I don’t give it constant attention, but I also shouldn’t spend more time than necessary away from it. Switching writing projects and working on projects of different lengths is like exercising every muscle in your body as opposed to only working your upper body. Ever seen a bodybuilder who obviously spent more time working out their arms and chest than they did their legs? Do yourself and your writing body a favor and give yourself a complete writer’s workout, exercising your short story quads, your poetic pecs and your flash fiction calves. Writing isn’t just a world, but an entire galaxy! Start exploring, even if the journey may be fraught with danger and failure.

Here’s a link to an extremely helpful blog entry about writing short fiction. There you’ll also finds some ways to make some money from your short stories. Now, I’ve got your attention!

You should also check out DuoTrope to find thousands of both paid and unpaid markets for your work. I use it to find places to send my other material when I’ve hit a wall or need to step out of the world of my novel for a while.

And that’s the long and short of it!

Take care out there.