Short Story: “Perspective.”

Thank you to everyone who read my short story last week, “Invention.”  I’ve been meaning to post original fiction on the site for a while, and needless to say, my first attempt was a success.  I had more viewers with that story than I had in a long time with other types of posts.  I’m going to keep it going this week as I introduce my next short story, “Perspective.”

Last week, I gave a brief description of the themes of the story I posted, but this week I think I’m going to remain quiet and let the readers see it without any expectations beforehand.  Click below to read the story:

“Perspective.”

As always, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy the story!

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Short Story: “Invention.”

One of the great ironies in writing and other forms of expression is that the person creating often works in a room alone, yet their work is meant to explore an idea about the world beyond those walls.  Click below to read the first short story I have posted on the site, “Invention,” in which the detachment between an artist and his subject is the main concern:

“Invention”

Afterwards, please share your thoughts in the comments below.  What do you think of the short story?  Have any of you creative types experienced this disconnect?  Have you read books where an author’s writing doesn’t seem natural or realistic?

New Year, New Challenges

2013 Reading Challenge

We’re almost halfway through January already, so I thought I would take some time to talk about the New Year.  I don’t really make resolutions, but the beginning of a new year always seems to signal changes in our lives.  With that in mind, I wanted to share some of my goals for 2013.

The first challenge I have set for myself is to read all of the books on my to-be-read pile before I buy or acquire any new ones.  I actually made this decision in the last couple months of 2012, but I had a slight hiccup when I was given books for Christmas.  Since then, I’ve become more adamant in my goal.  There are about twenty-five books on my list, which is nowhere near as high as some other bloggers, but the idea that I might not read every book I own is a little frustrating to me.  Hopefully, I can enjoy books more without the guilt of two dozen other novels looming over me.

In a similar vein, I’m participating in the 2013 Reading Challenge at Goodreads.  Goodreads runs this challenge every year, with each reader choosing the amount of novels he or she wants to read in the new year.  It’s more of a personal quest than a competition, but I haven’t done it before so I wanted to give it a chance.  My goal is 30 books, which is pretty low compared to others, but I can be a slow reader sometimes.  Luckily, I’ve finished two books already, so I’m ahead of schedule at the moment.  I have added a new section to the right, just above my Twitter feed, where you can track my progress.

My other goals for the year involve writing.  Last summer, I finished the manuscript of my first novel and I’m still working on revisions for that story.  I have been developing ideas for other novels I want to write, but right now my main focus needs to be completing that book.  Aside from creative writing, I also want to maintain this blog, even if it’s just for one post a week.  I haven’t been consistent enough, but I would like that to change.  I want writing to be my career in some capacity, so I need to continue to develop my skills.

How has everyone’s year been so far?  Are you looking forward to any books in 2013?  Have you set any challenges for yourself?

The Write Way

Last summer, I began writing a manuscript for a fantasy novel.  I won’t divulge too many details about the plot right now, but the story takes place in a world separate from our own (which makes it more like The Hobbit than Harry Potter).  I was really excited about working on it because I believed the story had enough twists and quirks to make it a refreshing entry into the genre.  The mere act of writing was also interesting to me, because it was the first time that I really made a strong attempt to write an entire novel.  For better or worse, I was adamant that I would finish the book.

Unfortunately, summer ended and classes returned before I was completed; I was only 50,000 words into the manuscript and I would not have time to finish it for months.  Frustrated, I tucked the story away and hoped for the best.  I didn’t want to lose interest in the project, having come so far, and if I did complete it, I didn’t want there to be a big stylistic difference between the first 50,000 words and the remaining 30,000.  The anxiety of finishing the story was enough that I didn’t even start immediately when school ended this April.  I not only had a lot of writing to do, but I wanted to revise about half of the chapters that I did write before.  I was worried that if I started again, I would fail again to finish the manuscript by the end of summer.

Then, about a week ago, I dusted off my manuscript file and went to work.  I revised first to immerse myself in the story once again, and because I wouldn’t be confident in writing new chapters until my previous ones were in order.  Of course, because I had to reorganize some story sections, there was a lot of writing to be done in the midst of revision anyway.  I had a productive first day, having revised about 40 or 50 pages of text, and realized several things:

I don’t hate my writing.  This is a phrase that all writers should repeat to themselves about a hundred times a day.  If you’re writing a story, you’re not going to know if it’s good or not the first time through.  More importantly: it’s probably not good.  Every great book you’ve ever read was once a badly written first draft, and its current greatness only exists because the writer kept editing (“Shitty First Drafts” by Anne Lamott is a good essay about how you can’t expect the first draft to be good).  Anyway, upon re-reading the beginning of my book, I found out that there was something good there that’s worth writing (and reading) behind the mistakes.  Plus, I made it better by fixing the problems.

I missed my characters.  When I put my manuscript away at the end of last summer, I didn’t just set my story aside.  I let the fates of all my characters just hang there, waiting for resolution.  As I read, the story made me care about the characters again and now I want them to succeed just as much as I want myself to succeed.  That’s another reason I’m more confident in my skills: at some point, interesting characters formed from the assortment of words I chose.  I owe it to them and myself to continue.

I can do this.  When you’re a writer, having belief in your own abilities can make the work easier, and reading the beginning of my book again definitely restored my faith in my writing.  I not only mean that I have the ability to finish the manuscript, but I also believe that I can complete it before the summer ends.  It’s hard to say how long the finished novel will be, but if I write a thousand words a day or so, it shouldn’t take long for me to finish the book.

I think I finally reached a point where I feel like a writer and I’m still riding the positivity that I received when I started working again.  I believe everyone can feel good about their own writing if they push themselves and try hard enough.  Of course, I haven’t been published yet, so perhaps my excitement is a bit premature.

Do you write, or have you ever had a dream about being a writer?  If you do write, how do you push yourself to keep going when the work is difficult?  Are you overly critical about your first drafts?  Do you find the act of revising annoying?  Let me know what you think below.