It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, and I really needed to for the last month and a half or so, so I’m finally getting around to it now. As of September 14, 2013, I’m a published author! A literary magazine called Meat for Tea published my short story Noriko’s Rock in volume 7 issue 3 of their magazine! Step one on my writing career has been successfully made, now I just need to take the next million or so steps… 🙂 In effect, I am no longer Raymond the unplublished want-to-be-writer, I am now Raymond the Writer. A Gandalf the Grey to Gandalf the White transformation was expected, and must be caught up in shipping somewhere, but I’m satisfied with the effects that have already taken hold… More soon!
Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category
I’m here for the obligatory end of year post that recaps the readily available posts I’ve made here and elsewhere. While 2012 was far from a bust for me, I only accomplished one of my goals for the year, though I confess it was a big one. (I finally graduated from college.) My other goal was to sell a story or screenplay, and I made efforts towards it, but even now I still don’t know the outcome.
As I mentioned before, I submitted some stories to some magazines on October 19th, but as of this last evening of the year, the submission status on each that I submitted through Submittable is still “in-progress.” At this point, I’m reasonably confident of my stories’ chances; this has been a long time in which a summary dismissal could have come down. Likewise, it seems to imply that these pieces are undergoing some serious scrutiny, which in its own way is a positive result.
Although I trust my friends and family to be honest with me, I frequently have doubts about the quality of my work. Just because those close to me like it doesn’t mean that it’s actually good. But that doesn’t mean I should dismiss their opinions either! I have problems with positive reinforcement; some say you can’t get enough, but I sometimes question that… I’ve been disappointed far too many times when I got my hopes up…
But that doesn’t mean I’m negative, I just prefer to approach things in a more pragmatic way. I still have my hopes and my dreams, I still want the best possible outcome of everything I do. I just refuse to be disappointed where I can avoid it. The surest way to disappointment is to not try. Yes, I may be disappointed if my stories don’t get published, but I will be disappointed if I don’t try! That seems to be the opposite of a pragmatic outlook but I don’t think, at its heart, that it is. It, like life, is complicated.
Nonetheless, this last week has had me putting in some more time working on stories. Even though I had hoped to continue doing a story a day, it hasn’t happened for various reasons, but I will be resuming the effort in the new year. As for the two stories I’ve worked on in the last week, one was written with the hopes of getting it published in a journal being published through my alma mater in March. The other is more an exploratory exposition to get to know some characters I want to use for something else. Both can and will probably lead to screenplays.
Wouldn’t it be great if next year at this time if I was sitting and waiting to hear whether my screenplays were going to be purchased?
Any way, be safe and sound this night, and I wish you all the best in the coming year!
Today’s story started out with the basic idea that it frequently takes someone crossing the proverbial line to get people to care about anything. I wanted an entire city to be outraged by something a small group of people did, but ultimately I wanted what was done to be a rallying cry, and draw attention to their issue.
Furthermore, I wanted to make the setting my hometown of Detroit. I was born and raised in Detroit and I currently live here. I’ve always loved the city, and, honestly, I’m very sad about its current state. I hate that I was woken up by gun shots very close to my home last week, and heard more late Wednesday night. I hate driving by abandoned houses and burned out buildings as frequently as I’m driving by occupied ones. So how do I honestly portray what I see around me without dumping gasoline on the proverbial fire and spotlighting it for the world to see?
Well, until now I simply avoided it. With the exception of one story that I wrote for a friend many years ago, I never set a story here before. I might have characters that were from here or mention it in passing but I never had anything that took place here. The reason is simple: despite all the problems, all the hell that this place has seen and sometimes represents, this city is my city. I’m as much a part of this city as it is a part of me. It’s shaped me into who I am, and though I am not a dangerous person, I represent a not insignificant part of its population. I represent who Detroiters are and can be even as I myself am discovering who I am. I am incredibly defensive when it comes to my city, as are all Detroiters, against all outsiders, including those that live on the city’s borders. Yet we, me and other Detroiters, will be frank and honest with everyone about those very problems within the city. If nothing else, we’re honest people, and most of us are hardworking even if the rest of the world doesn’t see it.
So why set a story here, now? Well, it’s complicated as most things are. There are certain things that are going on within the city government that really aren’t fair, and someone needs to bring attention to them. A certain city organization is getting shafted by the city, and no one seems to realize they can just walk away. So I wrote about that; the organization, in defense of its members, just walks away when the city crosses the line one too many times. And what makes it so poignant is that I was able to use actual events and statements, changed just a bit, to underscore the reality and absurdity of the situation.
This was very therapeutic. I submitted it to The New Yorker as soon as I finished it.
First an update: while I restarted yesterday’s story and I’m pleased with the work I’ve done on it, I didn’t complete it and I’m not sure if I will. I may, but then I may not; I don’t have any strong urge to finish it at this point. As for today, I haven’t done any creative writing, though I’ve done a little editing on Tuesday and Wednesday’s stories. I may still write a story today, but at this point I’m not committing to it; I may just resume my effort tomorrow instead.
On the constructive (rather than introduce a positive/negative inference) side of things, I have submitted Tuesday and Wednesday’s stories to several magazines for potential publication… Yes, I liked them that much. I’m not going to try terribly hard with these stories to get them published, because they were meant merely as personal writing exercises, but if they do make it to press I’ll be very pleased! And if not, well, I’ll simply do what I’ve thought about doing for a very long time: combine them into a book of short stories and publish that through Amazon KDP and/or Barnes & Noble’s PubIt! Naturally, I’d prefer that they get published in magazines as that’ll boost my career a lot more than self-publishing, but I’ll take what I can get!
Well that’s better… I got to the FMG meeting early and pulled out a spiral notebook and restarted the story. As opposed to my original attempt, I stuck with the protagonist, describing things from his perspective as opposed to setting up the scenario. Everything flowed much better this time. I’ve still got a lot to do on it but it’s a better start.
I had a great theme for today’s story… It was supposed to be about a more or less psychopathic guy that is put into the position of being a hero. At the climax of the story, he was supposed to say “So it’s all fun and games until I kill someone…” But the story that I’ve begun doesn’t really sit well with me the way I’ve been telling it so far.
Right now, I’m more wrapped up in the minutiae of setting up the story, and explaining how everything got to that point rather than just telling the story. I think the problem is that I was attempting to start with the line then drop into a flashback setup for everything, but there’s too many characters that need to be positioned, and too much action that needs to be described for me to be comfortable with what I’ve written and for me to take that approach…
So, after I get back from today’s Filmmaker’s Guild meeting at OU, I’m going to scrap what I’ve written, and restart today’s project.
I’ll let you know how it goes…
As I mentioned in my earlier post, Quit Slacking!, I’m now putting forth an effort to at least write a short story everyday. While this is only the second day of my effort, I managed to write another complete short story today, and this is really beginning to feel good! I don’t think I’ve felt this creative and good about my writing (in general) in more than 10 years! I’ve definitely written better stories in that time, mind you, but I don’t think I’ve felt this good in ages!
I can’t wait for tomorrow!