July 15, 2016

Classing Update

A couple of days after I posted about having no ideas for the second story I had to submit for class, I found a seed that gradually grew into a viable premise. Much of the concept was vague when I started drafting, and the lack of a plan for the end made the writing process especially harrowing. I did figure out a conclusion before I had to write it, and after several frantic days of work, I completed a story I'm quite pleased with.

I might be getting the hang of this short story thing. I still have novel ideas churning in my head, and I want to focus on those soon, but it's certainly satisfying to create something that can be finished in a few days or weeks. I hope I can continue to generate ideas for stories without the pressure of a class deadline.

Even before this class, I've been inspired to return to short story writing by my friend Christopher Gronlund, who like me, has put most of his time into novels for many years but recently set himself a short fiction challenge. He produces a monthly podcast, Not About Lumberjacks, in which he presents one of his short stories. Some are older pieces, but the project has gotten him writing a lot of new stuff as well. I especially enjoyed listening to his latest release, "Standstill", a sad and beautiful story about a couple faced with the problem of time.

I'm not a podcaster, but I would like to get some of my stories out into the world. The class is wrapping up now with a final week about the publication process. I intend to use what I learned in class to revise my new stories, plus some others languishing on my computer, and then I'm going to try submitting to literary magazines.

I've only made one tiny attempt at story publication before, because it's another time-consuming avenue for rejection on top of the agent querying I'm already doing. But this week I received such a kind and encouraging rejection for my novel that I'm actually looking forward to collecting more.

Good Stuff Out There:

→ At Book Riot, Katie McLain reports that Librarians Don't Read All Day and tells us what they actually do: "When I'm at the reference desk, I can usually be found answering technology questions, helping high school students with research papers, showing someone how to create a resume, making book suggestions, notarizing documents, and restarting the public print station for the tenth time in an hour. And when I do have time away from the desk, you can find me planning the summer reading program, training coworkers, relabeling books, writing blog posts, or prepping for a high school book talk."


Christopher Gronlund said...

Thank you so much for the mention. I'm glad you liked "Standstill." Originally, it was going to be a 25-hour time stop and kind of funny, but a BIG release at work and thinking about what matters resulted in a story I didn't expect. So it means a lot to me that you liked it...because the stuff you like is always the kind of stuff I aspire to write.

I hope the short fiction you're writing, lately, is satisfying your writing urges. I love novels, but being able to knock something funny, quirky, or even serious out is always nice.

There are seriously days when I think, "I hope if I ever become even sorta-vaguely-kinda known, that it's known with Lisa and a few other friends who write."

I can think of few better accomplishments in life :)

Lisa Eckstein said...

It's fascinating to hear how your idea for the story changed and turned it into something so different! I'm glad you've been sharing your work, and I want to get moving on sharing some of mine soon!

Keep writing, friend!

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