Last night at the meeting for one of the writing groups I’m in, one member had a list of how many times famous authors had been rejected. I do keep track of my submissions, but I had never counted up how many times I’ve had stories rejected. So I just did a quick count, and not counting stories entered for contests or stories I assume were lost, I came up with the following numbers. I have had 48 stories rejected 169 times. That’s interesting, but I guess I should get back to writing.
Archive for the Groups Category
I’m a member of the Inspirational Writers’ Fellowship, and we just put out a small collection of poetry, prose, photos, etc., titled Writer’s Stew.
I have a haiku and short story in it.
If you would like a copy for yourself, you can find one – while supplies last – at the Rebecca M. Arthurs Memorial Library for the price of a donation.
The one writing group I’m in has a prompt for every month. This month’s was “Why I write?” I came up with the following:
At first, I was going to say I write because it’s fun, but that’s not true. Yes, coming up with story ideas and exploring the plot possibilities is fun, but I’m taking writing to mean putting words on a page or a screen. Most times that is the opposite of fun, i.e., work. For the last few months I’ve been trying to write something every day, even if it’s just a sentence. But after a day of splitting firewood or suffering through a cold, writing a sentence can be on par with pulling teeth.
So why do I put up with it? Because I have so many ideas in my head it feels like it will explode if I don’t get some of them out. It’s a losing battle, but what else am I going to do?
Each month, the writing group I belong to sets out a prompt for the next meeting. We then have a month to write a poem or something from that prompt that we read at the next meeting. I also figured these would work nicely as blog posts. The prompt for our February meeting was: “Start with something you have written and rewrite it, cutting the number of words in half. Then start with the original piece and rewrite it to double the number of words. See which version you like best.”
I went with something short; six words short to be precise. I used two six word stories that will be included in my second story collection, The All-You-Can-Read Buffet, which should be out in April.
Original: (Previous published here.)
Hand shaped genitalia causes intergalactic “incident.”
In Half: (The Obi-Wan version?)
That’s no hand.
After shakegate, you’d think the aliens would stop landing in rural areas.
Ink records author’s descent into madness.
I am mad.
When they came, only a page of his scrawled delusions were found.
Each month, the writing group I belong to sets out a prompt for the next meeting. We then have a month to write a poem or something from that prompt that we read at the next meeting. I also figured these would work nicely as blog posts. The prompt for our November meeting was “If life were like ….” This is what I wrote.
What if life were like writing? We’d never have to settle for the first draft. If you – the main character – said something stupid when talking to the person you had a crush on, you could just go back and change it to something witty. Diets and cosmetic surgeries would be a thing of the past if all it took were some keystrokes to change your appearance. And if the plot of your life came to a fork and you took what turned out to be a boring, or otherwise wrong fork, you’d only have to go back a few chapters to take the other and see what comes from it. With enough tweaking, everyone could truly become the hero of their own narrative.
However, most people would probably say that some of the greatest moments of growth in their lives came from some of their greatest tragedies. Would people purposely write themselves into a tragedy so they could grow from it? And how would this work if everyone could write their life? Would creepy stalkers keep writing themselves into the lives of celebrities, only to have the celebrities constantly editing them out? And would titles like “Best Actor” or “President” still have meaning if all it took was someone to write, “And then John became Miss America?”
Perhaps it’s best that we can’t literally write our own lives. Life is crazy enough without the insanity that comes from writing.
In one of my writing groups a few months ago, we were going over some of my flash fiction stories. One woman said that she didn’t get them, she didn’t see things like plot or character development. I wasn’t offended – over the years in all of my writing groups I’ve read a lot of things I didn’t get – different people like different things, but something kept nagging at me.
A few years ago I was dating a woman who wanted to get into writing. One day at a bookstore I saw a magazine I thought might take her style of stories. I had never submitted anything to it because I write mostly science fiction and they only took literary fiction. So I bought it and gave it to her. A couple of days later she called to tell me that she had read every story in it and loved them all and couldn’t wait to submit a story. The next time I visited, I borrowed the magazine and read it. I hated every “story” in it. I say “story” because they were just words. I detected no plot, no character development, no meaning. I wanted to shake the “authors” and yell at them, “A lovely flow of words does not a story make.”
That’s what was nagging me. Were no plot stories wrong, except when I do it? It took some thought, but I finally managed to justify myself out of this dilemma.
Over the years I’ve read a lot of short science fiction stories in magazines and anthologies. A lot of them I haven’t liked. For example, while I was thinking about this situation, I read a novella that really bothered me. Basically, this not so nice guy manages to go on a journey. Something unexpected happens and he is put in a situation where he learns things about the world and himself. Oh, and he gets the girl too. Part of why I didn’t like this story was because some of the elements were just too far-fetched for my taste. To be fair, I’m sure some like those elements, but I’m not one of those people. But the main reason I didn’t like it was – as far as I could tell – there wasn’t a point to it. The only meanings I could gather from it were “Don’t lie” and “Live each day as if it’s your last.”
I’m not saying every story has to be life altering, but if you’re reading thousands upon thousands of words, there needs to be something. A fascinating character, an interesting twist, a life altering insight. I got none of those from the story. (I did however get a template for stories I don’t like.)
Now, what does that have to do with my flash fiction? I don’t waste your time. I guess my flash fiction is more an expanded thought than a traditional story. I come up with ideas I find very interesting, but instead of writing a tome exploring the minutiae, I prefer just putting that idea out there. It’s like I tell my readers, “This is something you’ve probably not thought of before, what do you think?” What rights should clones have? (“Our Brothers and Sisters”) What will our effect on the galaxy be? (“Humanity’s Future?”) Is space exploration worth it? (“Flight Into History”) Of course given my mischievous nature, a lot of my stories could be called extended punch lines. (“A Liter of Puppies,” “Awkward,” “Of Course,” etc.)
So that’s the point of my flash fiction. I’m not taking you on a journey of discovery and adventure, I’m just giving you a laugh and something to think about.
Wordwrights is the name of one of the writing groups I belong to. We’ve recently started a blog which will showcase member publications, helpful info, and whatever else we can think of. There isn’t much there – right now – but it’s something you might want to keep an eye on.