The LitReactor Short Shorts Contest

And just when I thought I’d be pathetically unproductive today due to a dearth of (publishable) ideas, I ran across a LitReactor Short Shorts contest that basically challenges people to:

  • Write a 10-word fiction or non-fiction story
  • In TWO SENTENCES
  • With a plot that has a protagonist, conflict, obstacles, and a resolution.

There’s no way I’m going to win this thing, but I thought I might as well give it a shot because apart from sounding fun, this also pushes me out of my comfort zone (which is NOT participating in this kind of thing).

So this is the fictional story I came up with and submitted:  Alone, she flicked up a thumb.  Hours later, she’s feeding.

Too trite?  Too obvious?  Is it okay?  Drop me a line to tell me how much it sucks/how much it doesn’t suck.

In case you’re interested in joining, the contest is open until Wednesday, March 29, 2012.  Even if you don’t I’d love to see what you guys can come up with.

The Horror of Reading My Pathetic Attempts at Literature

Lemme tell you a (clearly not-so-well-kept) secret:  I’m considering getting back into writing more literary fare.  That is to say, I’m thinking of getting back into writing fiction.  Or poetry.  Or whatever it is I thought I was writing when I was about 18.

Okay, technically most of that was fanfiction.  But I stand by my assertion that some of them can be considered high literature.

*cough* Anyway, as I was saying:  I’m thinking of getting back into writing more creative stuff.  It’s not that my job as a web copywriter doesn’t allow me to be creative; it’s just that I feel that none of the creativity I’ve been using has ever been truly mine.  Thus, this sudden return to a hobby that I’m really not sure I can accommodate given all the stuff I’ve already put on my plate.

That is why, to start things off, I read some of my on-and-off attempts at writing my own stories for the last five years.  Needless to say…

Palm to my face, I try to block out my own horrible writing.
I would have killed myself at the horror, but I realized the cats need money for their fancy food.

I wish I were kidding, but I think all my attempts at writing fiction are stilted and uncomfortable (like two drunken virgins with a copy of the Kama Sutra).  My poetry is slightly better, but I’m so straightforward and get too wrapped up in the sound of the words to ever be truly called a poet (according to that one poetry forum I visit).  I’d share them with you right now, but I don’t want to inflict the horror of my work on you.

Clearly, I needed to do something.

So I got back on WordPress

I admit that what I’m writing on this blog isn’t even vaguely novel-ish, and I hardly even talk about poetry (except for that one Maya Angelou post – god, I took myself way too seriously back then, didn’t I?).  But at least I’m making a conscious effort to write something that has very little to do with my day job.  It’s also given me the chance to look around and find some interesting stuff that might be helpful to me.

For example:

  1. I recently ran across a writing challenge that the blogger MechanisticMoth set for himself (among my favorite items so far are “Zodiac Sign” and “My Pets“).  I think simple challenges like this can help me get my creative juices flowing.  Right now, I’m only putting most of my responses to this challenge in a tiny notepad I carry around with me.  But if anyone else is doing a writing challenge on their blogs, I’d like to see them.
  2. I found this interesting blog post about plotting fiction stories.  Given how disorganized I tend to be when trying to write stories, I’m really excited about this.  The blog itself is new, and I don’t know when it’s gonna be updated.

I also started looking for resources that can help me with my writing

I started browsing sites for (free) writing tips that might be able to help me get started on novel writing (I’ve decided that poetry as a whole can be way too scary for someone who’s just starting out again).  I already have a decent idea for a novel (or so my sister says); all I need is some guidance for constructing a plot.

So far, I have found:

  1. Jim Butcher’s LiveJournal.  So far, it looks like he has some of the most useful essays on the essential components of a genre novel I have ever seen before.  It also doesn’t hurt that he’s the author of The Dresden Files, which I am more than a little bit in love with at the moment.  For the last few days, I’ve been making notes for my novel using his tips.  So far, it has been painless.  I’m sure that’ll change as soon as I actually start writing this thing.
  2. An ebook copy of Linda Lavid’s On Creative Writing.  I’ve been reading it on-and-off, and I’m starting to realize that it can be helpful to my writing too, though I suspect that this is better for stories that don’t fall under the usual “popular” genres.  I could be wrong.  Nevertheless, I want to try this out too.

Now for the big questions:

Would anyone out there like to read my new, potentially horrible, attempts at Literature?  Because if there are people out there who want to risk their sanity, I’m perfectly willing to post some of the stuff I produce.  Probably in another blog I’m thinking of setting up.  I also want to know, do you know any other free resource I can use for my writing attempts?

Seriously, guys.  I wanna know if the horror of my work deserves to be out here.

Reading for the Holidays

Merry Christmas, everyone!  Happy New Year, too!

It’s the season for reading – at least, it is for me.  This year I get to have the week between Christmas and New Year off, which means more time to read.  Of course, I’m not saying that I barely have time to read for the rest of the year – big reader that I am, I tend to find ways to sneak in at least a page or chapter of a book before something else comes to occupy my mind.  But rarely do I get considerably long stretches of time that allows me to finish a book in the span of a day.

Yes, I’m quite a champion reader.  And I’m very excited to read these seven books for the next seven days:

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