Tag Archives: short stories

Facing the Other Way

Haven’t been writing anything new lately. I still have two pages of that crime story I started many weeks ago that I want to finish. I’m pretty sure I can finish it in Dec before I start the new novel in January. Pretty sure.

I have finished up editing that longer sci-fi short story Orange Flecks and sent it out to a market. Got two other sci-fis waiting to hear back from, plus a handful of other markets that are taking forever to respond. Pony express. So there’s that.

Been working more as a publisher lately than as a writer so it’s not like I haven’t been Peanut Shellsproductive. Did the holiday sale (all miki novels on sale thru holidays) and publishing a new short story every month. Been consistent the last three months. Just uploaded Decembers story early, Peanut Shells, so expect that in the next few days.

So yeah, I should be able to finish that crime short for the year.

Been also researching the new novel. Lots of reading on 1920 and 1960. Funny how I picked those years. Seems they both had similar social upheaval. Some cosmic force must have been tainting my subconscious. I don’t know. Or maybe not. Just hope I can make a good story out of it.

Speaking of reading, I finished this monster of a story called Facing the Other Way: the story of 4AD. You know the British record label with the amazing art design that started in 1980 by Ivo. Dead Can Dance, This Mortal Coyle, Cocteau Twins to Throwing Muses, Lush, Pixies, Breeders, and on.


Like I said, a monster of a book chock full of POV/quotes, but so worth it. The writer not only delves into Ivo and the staff’s head, but also into the designer, Vaughn, and the band’s stories, which I found interesting since a lot of my favorites were in there. I’m a big Pixie, Throwing Muses, and Lush head, and even through I read a lot of books and press about them, this one gave me even more.

 

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And When the Ashes Settle, Kirk Cameron Will Be Just

More editing on the shorts this morning (“Natural Born Killer” and “Height of His Stupidity”). Both getting stronger. Feel proud of them. Should be ready for publication and submission soon.

The new War on Christmas is in full swing this year. In Newport Mall they set up Santa’s picture palace a few days before Halloween. Pretty sure that was a record breaker. Christmas music was playing today. Decorations and sales are in full swings.

This is it, people. They are taking Christmas back. No more X-Mas. No more Happy Holidays. No more Cuanza or Chanukah or Pearl Harbor Day or Bill of Rights Day anything that falls in December.

It doesn’t matter if Christ’s birthday wasn’t even in December. We are celebrating it on December 25th and no one is going to stop it. So no matter who you are you have to say Merry Christmas or you will be punched in the face. By whom, I don’t know. But I am not going to take the risk of finding out.

I have even heard rumors going around. whispers. The Second Coming. Jesus will appear on Christmas. Trump will loan him Air Force One as a ride down from heaven. The Apostles will be armed with automatic rifles. There will be a speech. Everyone will be baptized that day. We will all be one nation under God. All women will be called Mary.

Some will fight. All will lose. And Kirk Cameron will be justified.

But like I said. So far it’s just rumor.

But the war is real.

A war created by government and spread by the media and the ignorant public.

Another silly fucking war.

The Republicans That Ran Away To Join The Circus

Edited two shorts this morning before the babes woke. Kids only have two days of school today so I’m not getting much done and little time. 10 pages for each one.

One I will publish for this month. That’s my new thing. To publish a short story a month. You know. Taking risks. Branching out. See what happens.

The other is brand new. I’ll see if there’s a market for it but since it’s crime I doubt there will be much outside Hitch and Ellery, and even those are time wasters.

It’s been a few days since the election and all is quiet. I live in a bubble so I don’t see much of a response. Plus I live in Jersey City and we don’t have much of a hate contingent here, multicultural.

I imagine many are happy about our governor. I have heard no love over Christy. But his replacement had a lot of votes. On the map I saw she won over Cape May, Monmouth, and Ocean Counties. Those are big conservative white trash parts of NJ. I should know, I grew up in Monmouth Country. You don’t want to be different there. Get out ASAP. Runaway and joint the circus.

Speaking of running away, I heard that republicans are going to move from New Jersey now that Murphy is the Gov. Like when Democrats were going to move from the US when Trump became pres.

C’mon. Be original.

But I don’t fall for that shit. People running. Stay and fight. The only time one should run is if planes are bombing your city. Syrians had a good excuse to run. I think these residents want to run for the fear of higher taxes.

American’s are soft. This is what I detest about the middle class. They live in fear of money.

What would they do without their money?

(take opioids?)

They would be lower class. Why do you think they voted for Trump? So they can get money.

There is no shame in being poor. You live minimalistic. Bare bones. You appreciate what you got. It’s hard. That’s live. Sometimes things go well and then BOOM you get cancer.

Fuck. We live in a successful communist country. Yes, the USA is a communist country. We take our taxes and we give it to those less fortunate in services for free. No, we don’t have one class. It’s not 100 percent communist. That’s because we are built on a democracy and have other systems involved. But communism is in there. Care for the community.

Anyway. Yeah. had this conversation yesterday with an Indian guy. Sikh. All he cares about is his money. He doesn’t care about racism or what’s going on with Trump’s Nationalism. It doesn’t affect him. His dad is a Republican. A rich guy who liked Trump at first because he thought he would make him some money but now he doesn’t like him because of how he is running the country. Trump is not making money for the USA, too much time on twitter.

With luck the Dad wont vote for him again. The guy I spoke to won’t vote for Trump or anyone because he’s not even registered. Too lazy.

So I guess the nonwhites (if you want to call them that) that voted for Trump or going to vote against him in the second election, Trump needs to fail on making money for the country.

Fucked up, huh? But if it works.

To see the truth, to see it well (dream operator)

sub: 6

rejects: 5

Wrote a new sci-fi story this week at 4,783 words so far. Should finish the draft tomorrow. Wandered around it. Had no idea where it was going. (I never outline, everything’s in my head, but just ideas, even with novels) Did it have a right or a left political slant? Seems I made fun of both. Cool. But it still could be considered too polemic like most of my other work. I’ll try not to worry about. The world is different now. Money options are different now.

Been watching these classes on Calling Bullshit put out by The University of Washington. It’s a one credit course that they offer and so far seems interesting. A lot of it I’m familiar with but I’m learning new theories on the construction of bullshit. Life has always been full of illusion and delusion. Especially with our government.

It didn’t start with Trump and his administration; he just brought the best game and players. He’s also inspired the worst in both parties. I’ve seen a lot of bullshit in the liberal left too. Many memes that are so absurd. I’m at the point were nothing surprises me about Trump but when I see these ridiculous memes on the web I would have to be a fucking idiot to believe he did or said that.

I never considered my self a Democrat or lefty. I’m mistaken for one all the time by angry conservatives and Republicons. No, if I had to label my political affiliation I would say anarchist or progressive. Anarchist don’t want to destroy the government, we just don’t need the government to control us into doing the right thing. I know what’s right and can do it on my own. I don’t need the law to tell me what is right. Most likely I can be arrested for doing what is right.

I vote Democrat since they share the same goals as me. No, Dems are not perfect. Don’t expect them to be. Never expect a politician to be perfect. But at least a Dem gives to the country. It’s part of their agenda. A Republicon’s agenda states that it must away. Lately there are more progressive Democrats popping up locally since Sanders came around. Good sign, no?

Anyway. No matter what political party, seeing the truth is always a good thing. To figure out the truth you need three things:

  1. What you learn from experience
  2. What you learn from a book (preferably non-fiction)
  3. What you learn from other people’s experience (people in your face to face life, not Facebook and Twitter)

Mixed those three things and at the core is the truth.

So for now, I give you this:

The Path to Show and Not Tell

I’ve been seeing some confusion about show and not tell amongst new writers. Again. I’m not a guru but here is how I learned it.

Tell = To summarize dramatic events. To gloss over  In affect, after you read it you may think, “Wow I wish I could have experienced that.”

Show = Imagine a play/script but with all the literary workings of the six senses. Or not, depending on your style. Most importantly you are leading the reader by the nose through an event, a key dramatic moment, emotional beats that will make them move forward through the story.

But what are beats?

Beats are verbs with to in front of them.

Example: To confuse, to comfort, to humiliate.

Beats make your story. Your character has one beat and they use many beats to fulfill the main one.

Of course your antagonists have beats. And when they conflict with your protagonists they will cause….CONFLICT.

The experienced writer will have said beats buried in their subconscious or know them off the top of their head. But when stuck will think about them in verbs. New writers should always be thinking about them. It’s their path to show and not tell.

Now you don’t have to show all the time. Nothing wrong with a little telling. It just depends where you do it. Maybe you want to speed the story up. Maybe you don’t want to repeat a show you just did before. Or tell a past moment that happened before the story. I don’t know. Use discretion. Use your style. Use your instinct. But if it’s a heavy moment, something you’re scared to write, something that reveals a part of yourself, then you should definitely show it.

I’m not a writing guru but…

subs: 2

reject: o

Damn, wish I had more rejections.

Revised The Creative down to 5,943 words. Feels solid. The core, the meaning, of the story finally screamed out to me. In a few weeks I’ll give it a final run through and see if I still feel the same. Tomorrow I’ll start a new story to distract myself.

I turned 43 this week. Although I feel tired and achy, I don’t feel old. I don’t know why. Probably because I’m not. My life is content at this point. The life my wife and I built has been holding steady and there are many lights ahead of us. And if those lights should keep going further back, that’s still okay. Like I said, I feel content.

I have been writing since I was 16, 15? Before then I had been obsessed with story. I wrote scripts, novels, short stories, and made movies. I’ve learned many things. I continue to do so. Especially in this self-publishing game. I won’t get into why I do it. My reasons are my own. Strictly political. I also sell short stories to magazines and zines, etc. So mull over that.

During my time self publishing (I think I put out my first book in 2011), I have learned a crap load of stuff. I waded through the gurus and the marketers and information. It can be depressing and overwhelming for a newbie. I am not a guru. This will not be a blog for such information. There are others out there who  do it better. But I will drop a tip here and there. Like now:

Self Pub Tip

Sometimes I see on Twitter or Facebook the SP writers tooting their own horn about how they are “fulltime writers” and “professionals” and how “they are living the dream” and they have these blogs reveling on what it’s like being a writer. So I check out their books and read their samples on Amazon and SMACK!

They can’t write. What do I mean?

  • They can’t form a sentence.
  • They misuse punctuation or create new punctuation.
  • They’re unaware of scene construction, how to pull a reader in, or how to create an original or interesting character.
  • Their work is redundant.

 

They can’t form a sentence

I’m  aware that something happens to our brains when we turn into an adult. We regress into apes and write as we speak instead of writing correctly. Writing and speaking are two different things, two languages. If you are picking up writing late in your adulthood and you forgot your basics, I suggest you study a writing manual. I preferred The Elements of Style. It’s tiny, clear, and concise.

 

They misuse punctuation or create new punctuation.

I spot this one a lot.

Example: “My dog is in the hospital.” He said.

Huh? Shouldn’t it be: “My dog is in the hospital,” he said.

If I find the son of a bitch whose been teaching writers this I’m going to pull his scrotum over his head. It is everywhere.

 
They’re unaware of scene construction, how to pull a reader in, or how to create an original or interesting character.

 

There are millions of books, videos, and classes out there that will teach you how to write a story. A majority will teach you how to write a bestseller. They will give you the secrets on how to pull a reader’s heart strings or expectations and thrill them to no end. That’s great. Pick ONE of those books up and keep it as a reference. Something to inspire or to look back on.

You ever read clickbait on the world’s greatest writers tips for writers? One of those tips are always READ. Wanna know why? Reading is how you learn to write structure, character, and setting. Reading all kinds of genres and stories. It’s the best kind of education and it’s free to cheap. How do you think the pulp writers learned to write back in the 30s-50s? Hell, how do you think Shakespear or the guys who wrote the Bobe learned? They didn’t have writing gurus. They READ the writers before them and learned.

Now this is the important part. YOU NEED TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO LEARN. You have to be aware of what you are reading. You have to see what the author is doing and how they are doing it. Once you achieve this then you can add these tricks to your tool box and use them for your own work. Then you can mix and match these tools with your voice to develop a style as you write more and more.

A writer needs the ability to learn or they will never be a good writer. The only one that can teach you to write is yourself. You have to do the work.

 

Their work is redundant.

There are many reasons why a publisher would not be interested in your book. Primarily because they don’t think it’s marketable. A publisher is a business. They are responsible to their shareholders and keeping their doors open. Agents need to make a living and do not want to take on books that are not marketable.

What is marketable? I don’t know.

But now with the digital revolution one can publish the unmarketable and give those books a chance. A chunk of those unmarketable books seem to be books that tell the same stories that are already marketable bestsellers. Another form of the popular military sci-fi or the young adult romance. Some of these with their expensive covers stand out and make the bestsellers for a moment until the writer can make another carbon copy to chase another fad or just fade away. But there are many that gather dust by authors tooting their horn and wade in the points I mentioned above.

Although I feel the urge to condemn writers for resisting originality in independent publishing, I will say this instead. If you feel being redundant is your calling please be professional. In my experience readers can be forgiving with minor typos but not with shoddy storytelling.

So for now, the last episode of Stainboy:

2 things that bite my balls (one for each)

This week I was only able to sub 5 stories and received 2 rejections.

Was hoping for more rejections this week so I could turn more stories around. Though, an acceptance would have been nicer.

Markets are still slim. Wish there were more crime markets that paid well.

The sci-fi/ya short I have been working on this week is now at 4,400 words, tentatively called The Creative. Bland I know, but I still have some more words. I should finish the draft tomorrow morning. I’ll think of something better. I already have some notes for a second draft. Also I want to keep it under 5k but if it goes over I’m not too worried considering the genre it’s in. Sci-fi markets seem to take higher word counts and also pay higher rates.

So yes, things that piss me off. I’ll keep this short.

One, markets that make you pay to submit your work.  Many lit based markets, think University, want to charge you a fee so they will consider you short story for acceptance of their journal. I do have some lit stories that I push around and often run into these markets.

Also there is another type that will not read your submission unless you are a subscriber to their magazine. (No, this is not the market that says read a FREE issue before you submit to get a feel of what we like. They want you to pay to subscribe before submitting.) For fear that you will not know what they want to publish. For these people don’t have time to write guidelines to explain themselves. Or have SO many submissions from SO many subscribers to read. I don’t know.

All I know that they are both capitalist scum fucks that want the writer’s money or lazy, greedy basterds and you should stay away from them

Two, I have social anxiety disorder and Asperger’s. On one hand I’m compelled to stay away from people because I have things going on in my head to take care of. On the other I just don’t want to deal with people. But I still want to socialize when I’m in the mood.

When I do no one ever meets up with me. Not talking about strangers. Talking about neighbors, people I live with for the last ten years. They give me scripted talk and move on. I know nothing personal about them. So freaky and weird. This sounds familiar. I mentioned something like this before. But you know what I mean. I want to reach out and I’m the one on drugs for depression. But no one else wants to take the time. They’re in their own little world. I guess they’re Aspies too?