Weaves of Web and Cloth

weaves of web and cloth

Another day, another dialogue. Well another week, another dialogue. This one is a little back and forth between two unnamed characters. It’s a more philosophic bit than some of the plottier pieces I’ve been doing. I’m not sure where I’ll send this little gem, but I’m sure it’ll find a home.

I do have news, but I’m thinking of putting that 411 into essay format. So I’ll leave you two things.

1. My dialogue Everything in Its Right Place is forthcoming in the Iowa’s Emerging Writers anthology. You can order it or buy a book of your own state’s emerging writers by clicking this link.

2. My story Conclave at the Tea Table, has been accepted for upcoming publication in Story Shares. What I find interesting about this one is that it’s a venue for Young Adult (and also younger) writing. I don’t think I really write for young adults, but the story has fantasy elements in it and a young protagonist, so it’s gotta be for kids, right? At least this is why I think most of the places I first sent it to rejected it, and the first YA publisher I sent it to accepted it.

It is one of the first fully flushed out short stories I ever wrote. So maybe Conclave simply has the marks of an immature writer. IDK, but I’m happy it’s found a home at long last.

UPDATE 10/27/18: I’m calling this one out as a false acceptance. It was accepted and also had a chance at winning a contest. Here’s the notice verbatim

“Conclave at the Tea Table – Status: Changed From Pending to Accepted. Your story will have the opportunity to be published in the Story Shares library and may be a contest finalist! Finalists will be announced on September 10th.”

I didn’t win the contest, but I’ve been awaiting further information and still haven’t heard anything about this “opportunity to be published.” So is it being published? It’s accepted, so does that mean it will or maybe will be considered?

I tried contacting people at Story Shares without success. I’m guess that they aren’t going to publish my story. Looking over their website, I figured out a little too late that just about anyone can write a story for them. So, yeah, I’ve pulled Conclave at the Tea Table from the forthcoming list and started marketing it again today. I’m just glad their confusing “acceptance” didn’t make me pull it from any pending potential publishers.

The Carnivore and the Vegan Sit Down to Dinner

The Carnivore and the Vegan Sit Down to Dinner

Despite the second job, I’m continuing to write. This week I wrote one dialogue: The Carnivore and the Vegan Sit Down to Dinner. My weekend goal is to type up from of the dialogues I’ve penned out recently. Type them up, look them over, and print out copies for Mike (my bestie) and my wife. Together these, my first editors, will get them in shape for sending out to potential publishers.

To learn more about the dialogues, visit this page.
Have a good weekend, bookworms.

silverware

Image remixed from Pixabay.

What’s the Point of What Hayden Saw?

What's the Point of What Hayden Saw?

This week’s story was written last Saturday while at work. There’s a wedding at the conference center attached to the hotel today, so it’s been too busy to write. But I’ve had time to read a couple of chapters of After the Banquet this morning, my first Yukio Mishima novel. So far, I like it.

What’s the Point of What Hayden Saw? is a short story in dialogue about Hayden who can see the future and heavenly visions, but when he dies tragically young, it leaves the bereaved asking, “What’s the point of what Hayden saw?”

Hopefully this new dialogue from my weekly challenge will be published soon. The truth is I’m pretty far behind in typing up my stories. It’s just so much more fun writing than typing. And, also, the second job takes its timely toll. If you haven’t checked it out, head on over to the The Green Light Literary Journal which had the balls to publish Viagra for a Pariah. I’m proud of the editors; those two have a great little gem of a publication.

Let me know your prescient visions and nihilistic reveries in the comments below.

The Green Light (new publication)

The Green Light

 

I am happy to announce that another story from my 2018 dialogue writing challenge has found a new home in The Green Light Literary Journal. The story is Viagra for a Pariah. You can read the whole short story at this link: https://thegreenlightliteraryjournal.wordpress.com/fiction-randaleldongreene/

 

The Ghost of Yesteryear

The Ghost of Yesteryear
I just received yet another acceptance letter for one of my dialogues. This time the story is Viagra for a Pariah, and it’s appearing in the upcoming issue of The Green Light. A Lover’s Dwelling is coming out in the Flash Fiction Addiction anthology in the near future. The third dialogue I wrote, Everything in It’s Right Place, is appearing in the Iowa’s Emerging Writers anthology, which you can pre-order on this website.

I think it’s just amazing that all these small presses are taking on my words, telling their readers that this thing I wrote is worth reading. That means a lot.

The piece I wrote this week is titled The Ghost of Yesteryear. It’s about a young man whose recently deceased father tells him to continue his love of nostalgia. You can find a list of all the dialogues (plus a list of all the published dialogues, and links if available, here).

Thanks for reading, bookworms!

Digesting Disillusionment

digesting disillusionment

I bought a cool backpack on my summer vacation at the end of last month. It really came in handy for hauling around water bottles and any little things my wife and I happened to purchase.

Hemp backpack

Today I brought it to work for the first time because my best friend wanted to borrow my copy of Against the Day since his is in one of a dozen tubs of books in a storage unit temporarily. Of course, I obliged.

Normally I bring a canvas messenger bag to work. In it I store my planner and usually a folder or two. It’s fairly thin, though I can easily squeeze in one, sometimes two novels. But if you’ve ever seen Against the Day, you’ll realize that it’s a thick book, at not quite half a million words (about a Descriptions of Heaven’s worth shy of the half million actually). So, I thought this was a great time to use my new backpack. And while it made carrying Against the Day much easier, I totally forgot to transfer the folder I keep my latest handwritten dialogue in over to it from my messenger bag.

The reason I’m telling you this? Well, I didn’t get a chance to type up the dialogue I wrote. In other words, I wrote it, stored it, and haven’t thought about it since early in the week. And now that I’m at work from 7am to 11pm on the last possible day to announce the completion of my next dialogue, I have to admit I’m only guessing at the title. I think it’s Digesting Disillusionment. Although I might be a little off. So, just to clarify, it’s the working title. So if it changes or is published by somewhere under a slightly altered name, you know why.

So, with that said, leave your comments, questions, and stories about your own writing mishaps below.

disillusioned bride

In this dialogue, a woman drunkenly snapchats her friends while wearing the wedding dress from the wedding that never happened. A friend goes to visit, but the ex-bride-to-be won’t open the door.

 Photo by Efes from Pixabay (free for commercial use).

Maskenfreiheit

maskenfreiheit

The last dialogue I wrote was short. This one is long. Like one of my longer pieces to date. The idea of a masked ball was floating around my head for quite a while. I knew I wanted my characters to be wearing animals masks and that I wanted to refer to them by their animal.

Well, finally a story coalesced around the idea. It’s dialogue 27. So I’m over the halfway mark now in my 2018 writing challenge.

Leave your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to know what your writing goals are (or were) this year and how they have (or haven’t) been progressing.

Animal Masks Photo by Angel Yulo

Photo by Angel Yulo

2018 Challenge Halfway Point

2019 Challenge Halfway Point

I gave myself a challenge for 2018, and I’m at the halfway point. I challenged myself to start a series on Medium and to post to that series once a week. What I primarily write is fiction, so I decided to have my series follow me as I wrote a dialogue-only short story collection.

Idea Flash

The idea germinated from two unpublished flash-length manuscripts I had in my computer’s story folder. Both were a single, long paragraph. The first was totally in dialogue, with the speakers differentiated through the use of dialect and italics. This story was “Expire,” and I always knew it’d be the first piece in some future collection; I just didn’t know what that collection would be. It’s the first of my dialogues for many reasons. Primarily though, it’s because the content and form of the story both explore the complications of communication through storytelling. Meaning is difficult to convey, especially when you’re working with literary fiction where there may be multiple meanings or the form can be odd, experimental, and artfully crafted.

The second story was a monologue originally designed as a page-length long sentence. I pulled it up, proofread, changed some things within the extant text, added a second speaker to comment on the focus of the long sentence, and — voila! — I had another dialogue.

And so with these two as my base, I challenged myself to write a collection of creative conversations — dialogues all. A challenge not only because of the tight weekly schedule, but also because of the constraints of the form. Dialogues are more or less constrained by an inability to indicate inner-thoughts, background information, motivation, or describe characters and setting (at least I can’t do any of these things without verbalizing them, which isn’t always possible or desirable in this form). While constraining, much like a choosing a poetic form to constrain one’s writing, restricting myself has also been freeing; I haven’t been able to choose from the infinite options normally available to a writer of fiction. Having infinite choices eliminated is in its own way liberating. While I can be experimental and push boundaries to a degree, I still know one thing: it’s all got to be dialogue.

writer silhouette

So, having stuck with the terms of the challenge I set (only dialogue and at least once a week), now that I’m halfway through, I want to reflect on what I’ve done thus far. Specifically, 1) How have I done? 2) What would I do differently? 3) How will I proceed? 4) Will I do it again?

 

How have I done?

I started the series by posting an introduction the first week of January. Every week after that I’ve dutifully put out a dialogue. So I’ve succeeded in that respect. But I haven’t succeeded in every respect.

One of the reasons I gave myself this challenge (outside of forcing myself to complete fiction writing projects quickly) was to build my fan base by putting writing life out there, letting people see the writing journey as it happens. While I’ve gotten a few more blog followers just from being more active on WordPress where I’ve also posted weekly about the latest dialogue, my Medium stats indicate that I haven’t really increased my readership for my fiction — and it’s my fiction reader fan base I am attempting to grow. I’ve done something not quite right. My readership remains dismally low. So low, in fact, that I count it as nonexistent.

Dialogue series stats

 

What would I do different?

The first thing I would have done differently is to have chosen a platform for my updates other than the Medium series platform. There are myriad issueswith the series platform, including accessibility problems and an issue with subscribers actually getting notifications when a series is updated. I also figured out that series have even worse read ratios and interactions from readers than your typical self-posted article. It’s really only publications who opt to use Medium as their parent platform that give most writers any real chance of visibility (two of my dialogues were sent and accepted into Medium publications, The Creative Cafe and Lit Up).

So even without accessibility issues and a broken notification system for series, I may not have found it any easier to build a fan base or increase readership had I simply been self-posting updates or even stories as regular Medium articles. As it is, my stats indicate that I am — though not intentionally — writing these series updates solely for myself. No one else views them. I’ve added to my oeuvre and kept to the strictures of my challenge, but the public journey hasn’t brought in new readers like I thought it would.

While there are no guarantees that another platform would have gotten me more readers, I think the series platform simply doesn’t work for writers trying to build their platform around it, though those with an existent platform could arguably succeed with it. Writing for publishers on Medium seems like the best approach if you’re going to do Medium. Could I choose again, I’m not sure what I would go with (Medium articles, Wattpad, solely my blog, etc.) but it certainly would not be the Medium series platform.

door choices.jpg

How will I proceed?

I am failing to gain readers even as I weekly come closer to completing a short story collection, so why continue to write updates at all if I don’t have anyone to read what I’ve written?

As Rosie Leizrowice, one of my favorite bloggers, wrote: “If you love the process, you react the same way to failure as you do to success.”

I am successfully writing; I am failing to reach readers. I don’t care. I love the process. So I will carry on doing exactly what I am doing. More or less.

Vision Planning Strategy Process GOAL puzzle

The one thing I’ll do differently does not change my process, but is itself another process. Since no one is really taking this writers journey with me, I am going to seriously start seeking publication in zines, magazines, journals, and literary reviews where allowed.

While the series itself is just acting as a kind of one-stop place for me to easily view my challenge updates, the process stays intact. The process has allowed me to create at an accelerated rate, far surpassing my normal leisurely speed of writing where I tend to setting aside what I’ve written, only to come back, edit more, and set aside again, practically ad infinitum. And since I’m not reaching readers with the challenge itself, maybe I can reach readers and publishers at the same time.

 

Will I do it again?

Not exactly. While I love the process, I also need to learn from the process, whether that process led to success or failure or (as in this case) a mix of both. What I’ve learned is that imposing deadlines on myself is a fantastic motivator to work more quickly and cleanly. I think knowing this will help me when I turn my attention to planned future collections of stories and essays. I might even be able to apply the most positive parts of this process to future novels.

What I won’t do again is give myself extra work without more assurance that it will pay off in some tangible way. While meeting obligations when under the scrutiny of the public eye is a powerful motivator, I’ve found that without the public eye or an expectant readership I’m still finding success in sticking to the deadlines of my challenge. Deadlines that — I came to realize a while ago — are really for myself.

I’ve also realized that the information-addicted internet culture doesn’t really need me to add my personal writing challenge to the digital cacophony. If I want my words read, I’d do better to stick to the traditional routes of finding readers through the types of publishers whose subscribers have the temperament and attention my words deserve.

So I will be cultivating a process — a process that includes setting deadlines to complete a story, a chapter, or to have a work ready to send to a potential publisher. And you can be sure that once this challenge is done, I won’t be writing another book of dialogues. But the stories and the words, oh yes, they will keep coming.

dialogues

All photos from Pixabay, free for commercial use & no attribution required. 

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE

LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE

I dashed off a quick dialogue this week and even decided to already submit it. I hope it comes off as ironic as the phrase “live, laugh, love” comes off kitschy (kitschy to the point of being meaningless).

While I am devoted to cultivating a fulfilling life, I find “live, laugh, love” to be the condensed expression of all that is opposite to what I mean by “fulfilling life.”

According to my medium series (where I’m actually keeping count during this writing challenge) this is my 26th dialogue. So this marks the halfway point in my challenge! Thanks for cheering me on, Bookworms!

Train Lit Mag

Train Lit mag

 

I’m excited to announce that my 15th dialogue, Jonathan Knudsen, has found a home in Train Lit Mag. The short story will be featured for a week on their website.


As you might have noticed, my weekly dialogue post did not show up last week. I was on vacation and didn’t manage to find time to post on Saturday. But rest assured, I did get a story done. Cut is the title of the dialogue I finished but failed to announce. I’ll be busy tomorrow morning writing the next weekly dialogue. I haven’t decided which idea of the many stories floating around my noggin I’ll work on. Possibly another one with a German title.

Let me know what you think of Jonathan Knudsen, and I’ll keep you all posted about any more dialogue publications that come along.

Skeleton with Headphones

 

Image Source: Pixabay.