Details We Don’t Notice.
In January I submitted a “short” story to a writing contest at my school and got… nothing. This wouldn’t normally bother me terribly much except that I never got any feedback about it. It was just, “You failed. Too bad.”
So this past month, I submitted it to be critiqued on Critters and it was very interesting to find what kind of comments I got back.
I got some rather negative comments. Someone decided to point out that I could make the story, which is about 13,000 words, into perhaps a 7,000 word story. That’s fine. I admitted that my story I thought was too long and I wanted to cut some out. But he then went on to say that one way I could cut it down was by changing a sentence, gave me an example, and the example contained was. I avoid was. Like the plague.
He did, however, also give me the idea of making up my own form of intoxication, because then no one can complaining about me not being accurate.
Another complaint I got was the sweepers. Sweepers are a very difficult group of people to fully understand, since they are generally criminals who flee from society to avoid prison. In this world, prison is a very negative place to live, with many stigmas, so these are people, not completely dangerous people, who wish to maintain their liberties.
But sweeper code basically says that if someone comes, you take them now, ask questions later. Only the really dangerous criminals are turned over to the government when a sweeper ship is involved.
So a few complaints that I had consisted of mainly why did they take him on when he is obviously so green and rebellious? And also, a little bit more fleshing of the political situation with the sweepers. (Which now I’m wondering if I need that with Shad. With the whole story being from the sweepers POV, that might be very confusing for the readers.)
A few good ideas I got from it included things like making Kontyo stupidly smart. The idea is to make the reader not think that Kontyo is such a fool, keep him ahead of everyone else, and then have him fall flat on his face when he really isn’t ahead of everyone else. I like this idea. It sounds like fun. (It is totally not me, but hey, that’s the point of writing.)
So basically, I just need to get to the point of editing this story, which I haven’t. I got these reviews almost two weeks ago and nothing. I’m wondering I should write something small first.
So I posted a few weeks ago my goals for my writing. And I have managed to successfully fail at them. Well, at least one.
See, one of my goals was to send Time of the Dragon Slayers into a writing contest. I decided against that. Partly because I’m so tired, partly because it costs lots of money (okay $5 but…), and partly because I gave it to someone to edit.
Now, I don’t know if she is really going to edit it or not. Or how much she will is more correct. But, I’m hoping to get her evaluation of it back tomorrow at work. And, in a way, it makes sense to wait. I’ll send it in next time. (When is that? June 30th I think.)
Now, maybe I should have send When Darkness Swallows in instead but like I said, I’ve been tired and it takes a lot of work to prep a manuscript. Also, I have no clue how that stands besides that it lost the writing contest at school. If it lost that one, surely it will lose the other one.
On another note, I mentioned, I think about two months ago, my plot for arranged marriages. Well, good news and bad news. Good news is that I finished the first draft and it’s bout twenty-six pages. BAd news is that it is really bad.
Not terribly bad. I understand the characters at least. But I’ve been so tired while writing it and such that the writing isn’t good.
So if anyone as any tips on how to write tension or on how to write action scenes, that would be of great help when I go to edit it.
AS a note, working title for that story is now “Miles’ Love.”
I”m honestly trying to be upbeat about this. But it’s so hard. It really is honestly hard.
See, if you remember I entered the Agnes Hyde writing contest last January with the story “When Darkness Swallows“. I also entered an autobiographical essay. IN all honesty, I was really, really excited and curious. I was also hoping that this might be a way that I can get money for a clinical I have in May.
Well, the results of the contest are in, and not only did I not even win first place, I didn’t win anything. Nada. Just, poof! No Abigail entries.
I know that it wasn’t that great. When Darkness Swallows was rather long and not that great. But I had hopes for Flashes of Inspiration. I mean–my English teacher thought it was good!
But apparently not good enough.
Alas, I’m sad. I was hoping that I’d be able to post that I won and all instead of posting that I lost.
Well, at least I finally lost a writing contest that I tried for. I just wish he’d give me comments on my story.
DWU writing contest
It’s official. I am entered into the writing contest at my school. I actually entered in two stories, but in two different categories. I entered in one of them because my English teacher from last semester told me to enter it in essay and then I entered my story for the fiction section.
As it turned out, I was spelling the writing contest all wrong. It’s actually spelled Agnes Hyde. I will fix that soon.
Of course, things couldn’t go completely right for me. I was trying to print it last night and my printer was giving me a little gray line down the side of it. I’m not sure why. My dad, the ex-computer tech repair person doesn’t know why. He told me to shake the cartridge and so I did but that didn’t help, so I had to print it at school. Luckily, that was no big deal. (I also mailed a copy of my story to my grandma, because I figured she’d like it to get a nice big package from us.)
Problem now is, I don’t know when it’ll be over. I honestly don’t. They didn’t us a good idea. But maybe it won’t be too far down the road.
At least now I done with When Darkness Swallows and I can devote myself more to Dragon Slayers (which is probably going to be named Time of the Dragon Slayers but I’m too lazy to write that all out.) and hopefully tomorrow night after shabbat I’ll be able to edit another story called Samuel Brakborn and post it here too. I already did the paper edit.
Anyway, until tomorrow or Sunday. Enjoy your weekend.
I might as well mention this, since I did post that other thing earlier.
I work in the TRIO writing center at school, which is basically a place where students, with certain qualifications, can get assistance with their writing. If a student comes in, I help them; if no student comes in, I don’t have to do anything.
As it would happen, I didn’t have anyone come in today. So the whole entire time I worked on my story for the writing contest. And, I finished. *little party* Oh, and I did post the updated version here. There are a few fixes that were really important, but nothing that wonderful.
Now, in all honesty, I’m not as excited as I think I should be. I wish I knew why. I think part of that I think it is way too long still. Another complication I’ve had is I don’t know if I have a real climax and if I do, if it is technically in the right place.
Or perhaps I’m just completely insecure about my writing and don’t like not knowing what to expect. Before, I had a clue. Now… I’m not sure.
I also don’t like the title. I don’t have enough of an elusion to the idea that he got swallowed up by space. But I also don’t have any better ideas. It’s not like something else I wrote where a guy’s name made sense. (Samuel Brakborn, you’ll see that soon hopefully.)
So I’ll admit it; I’m scared. I’m scared I missed something while editing it or that I messed up or anything. But as I said, it’s basically due tomorrow and so I don’t have a choice but to let it be. So I’m done, I’ll go home tonight, print two copies, send one to my grandma and bring the other one to school tomorrow and deliver it at lunch time. It’s probably best for me to do it like that.
So, I started a story called Dragon Slayers that I’ve mentioned earlier. If’s just a short little book. Technically, I could do a lot with it later on. There are so many spinoffs that one could do with it, but I doubt I will at this time.
Anyway, today, I finished the rough draft. I am so happy.
NOw, I’m not as excited about it as I was when I finished Darkness Swallows. But, I do think that it has potential. I’m not quite sure how to end it exactly, or where, because it ends up being a huge tear jerker with no hope if I end it where it should be ended. I’d like for there to be some hope in the ending. But I don’t want to have too much.
Anyway, it’s pretty cool. I need to do a lot more with characters and such and how the characters think and act. There isn’t a lot of emotion in the characters and I don’t like that. But it might not be as bad as I think.
Final count for now is 1,000 words and 19 pages. I’m rather pleased. But now i must go to bed before it gets too late here. I do have school (and a test) in the morning.
(Oh, side note: I finished the second paper edit of DArkness Swallows, just in time too. That is due this Friday.)
what is a short story?
This last semester I had a horrid time coming up with any type of plot. In all honesty, I was worried that the plot bunnies that infected and attacked me so long finally decided to move away now that I was older, which meant that writing, at best, would be a challenge and at worse, impossible.
Between that and the fact that I didn’t have much time to write stories, I figured that with the Anges Hyde writing contest at school, I would just wait until Christmas break, write a story then, and I would be fine. I did just that. I wrote Darkness Swallows in about a week, edited it and put it aside to wait.
This is the story that I referenced earlier in that it grew in length instead of shrunk. Originally, I wasn’t concerned that much, because this one contest that is for short stories say to have a story shorter than 17,000 words. So I figured as long as I was less than 17,000 words I’d be fine. (I have, however, been hit on the writing contest in Minnesota for mine being too long.) I’m about 12,000, so I should be fine.
Then, I started thinking about it. It is about 25 pages in length. When I print it. it will be close to 50 pages (I’m submitting it in MLA format because I don’t know how else to submit it. They don’t say.) I fear that I would scare away anyone who looks at a fifty page “short story.”
I started to look up what defines a short story, to get an idea, and I found this on wikipedia:
Other definitions place the maximum word length at anywhere from 7,000 to 9,000 words. As a point of reference for the science fiction genre writer, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America defines short story length in its Nebula Awards for science fiction submission guidelines as having a word count of less than 7,500. In contemporary usage, the term short story most often refers to a work of fiction no longer than 20,000 words and no shorter than 1,000.
This poses some problems to me in a way. if we even go with less than 9000 words, I am way over. I could possibly go with the contemporary usage, then I’m okay.
However. the problem is that I can’t change it now. The deadline is for it is January 31st. Even if I wrote something today, I would like to have it sit for a while and rest before I edit it. Moreover, I don’t have the time to write that kind of story.
So, instead of looking into this more, I think I’m just going to leave it. There is nothing I can do, beyond submitting one of my older (and poorer) stories. I think that this story is rather good. Hopefully, I’ll have two more years to enter into the contest and by then I’ll have a better clue at what to expect. I am also submitting into the essay contest per my teacher’s recommendation, so maybe I’ll win something. If not, like I said, I have two more years.
I recently updated a bunch of pages on the side bar to your right, but never mentioned anything about them. Giant’s Wife is all stored there, along with many of my other more recent short stories. I suppose most of this will just be a directory but it’ll also have summaries of the stories if you would care to read them.
We’ll start with the top. Obviously, about the writer is a little bit of background information about me, Abigail. Has a picture too if you’re curious. :)
Darkness Swallows was originally called Kontyo for those who have read back entries. As the eldest son of the minister of interplanetary affairs, Kontyo never saw much of a need to behave. He knew that he would inherit his father’s title and continue living in luxury all of his life. That changes when an accident happens and he decides to leave for the sweeper ships instead of facing at least a year in prison, only to discover that some mistakes can’t just be undone.
Flashes of Imagination: At fourteen years old, with only writing for six months, my brother brings me a poster for a writing contest at the library. Everyone urges me to enter, only, why would I want to show the part of myself to someone? This is a true story based off of, obviously, the first time I entered a writing contest in 2003 or so.
Pay the Writer: Not a story. I’m just asking for you to sign up to a place to help me earn amazon giftcards if you really like my writing.
The Giant’s Wife: I will just refer you to the front page. I have the summery posted there. That story is significantly longer than many of the other ones, which is why there is five parts to it. I’ve been posting one a day since December 17th and I’ll be done by Sunday I think. After that, I’ll be adding the index differently so the story will collapse.
Turning Crow Calls into Beauty: Lowri hates being the daughter of a rich merchant, she hates growing up and she hates having to learn to be a lady. But more than anything, she hates that stupid, ugly harp that her mother is convinced she can play and would rather do anything except practice.
What to Write: How does one find that magical inspiration that makes someone want to write? Who knows. Sometimes, it just happens.
That’s everything for now. Make sure you look in the side bar ever so often for more stories, because I will be adding them. I don’t think I’ll be adding Shad right now, if at all, although I like it a lot. (It’s also 85,000 words.)