cant find a thread

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diane bartels
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cant find a thread

Postby diane bartels » Tue May 10, 2011 12:41 pm

working on a new short story that I am fairly excited about. Have to research ms. also the char. viewpoint keeps shifting and I am not sure if this is good or bad. It think it is making the story stronger but not sure. Just sharing, plus now I have to keep working on it, cause u all will say, How story Diane?

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Lori Koonce
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Re: cant find a thread

Postby Lori Koonce » Wed May 11, 2011 2:04 pm

diane bartels wrote:working on a new short story that I am fairly excited about. Have to research ms. also the char. viewpoint keeps shifting and I am not sure if this is good or bad. It think it is making the story stronger but not sure. Just sharing, plus now I have to keep working on it, cause u all will say, How story Diane?


*grabbing the nearest box of wooden matches, putting one between each of Diane's toes, waiting for a good reason to light one*

Keep us posted hon.

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Re: cant find a thread

Postby David Silver » Wed May 11, 2011 8:33 pm

No talkin' about it! Wasted energy! Talk to us about your story when it's finished or at least through a complete first draft, not while you're stuck trying to get it going. Remember these absolute rules of writing:

Rule one: write (early and often!).

Rule two: finish what you write (and the sooner, the better!).

Rule three: submit what you've written, and keep submitting until you have exhausted all possibilities.

Rule four: immediately return to rule one, whether or not you have successfully completed Rule 3.

Now you go, girl!
We don't stop playing because we grow old.
We grow old because we stop playing.

-- George Bernard Shaw

diane bartels
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Re: cant find a thread

Postby diane bartels » Thu May 12, 2011 10:53 pm

Thank u Lori and David. Work continues.

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Re: cant find a thread

Postby diane bartels » Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:21 pm

yes writing hurts. Damn straight it hurts. Because why would laying your heart and guts splayed out in the open for all to rip and spit on, why the hell would that not hurt. And I don't know if I'm good enuff or strong enuff to do it the way it needs to be done. But that's not the real fear. The real fear is I am good enuff and strong enuff but for some God only knows why clustered fucked reason I dont. Id trade a lot for one tenth of one percent of Harlans guts and determination.

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Re: cant find a thread

Postby FinderDoug » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:51 am

Diane - Writing is heart, and guts, and insight, and it's full of emotions - to tell a hard story from experience or by incorporating something from the outside, to put yourself out there as part of the work, and to stand with it as others read, rip, reject, ignore.

But it's also like any other skill you learn: it takes large amounts of work and effort, it produces things with no intent to ever share, it teaches as much by what you do wrong as what you do right.

Ray Bradbury is quoted as having said "Write a thousand words a day and in three years you'll become a writer." That's over a million words, before you're actually a writer. But then, no carpenter ever fell out of bed his first day with a hammer and built a 6,000 square foot home from the foundation to the rafters, either. It's as much about building your skill set and a feel for your tools as it is opening the vein, and you only develop that feel with time and use. Harlan can roll into a room and write a story in 90 minutes on a manual typewriter from an idea of photo because he's put in his millions of words to get to the point that THAT is in his skill-set.*

All you can do - ALL you can do - is write. And write. And write some more. Some hints I've picked up, learned or used along the way that I offer by way of encouragement:

Develop your toolkit. The words, the depth and breadth and sound and shades of them. The ways to use them. What they say. What they evoke. What they imply. You don't have to be fancy. Hemingway had a skill set that was bone dry and effective, the same way Faulkner had a skill set that functioned despite, at times, an apparent phobia of the period (the opening sentence of Absolom, Absolom! is about 120 words in length.) Play with structure, with how to tell a story, and what style works best for what you want to say. Try them on for size.

As important to writing in this regard is reading. Read, read, read. See how others use language and perspective and tense and mood and how they weave it all together.

Find the method of work that lets you finish. No magic bullet for this, and nothing to it but to do it. Everyone works differently. Sometimes, if I know it, I write the last paragraph so I know where I'm going; sometimes, I stop in mid-thought so I have a great on ramp when I start again.

Be ready to rewrite, but don't flip that switch until the first draft is done. It's too easy to get caught in a revision loop, constantly tweaking and rethinking in the middle when you still haven't gotten to the end. Tell a whole story, THEN figure out how you can tell it better.

Grow a thick skin, including against yourself. Rewriting is hard. Divorcing yourself from the material long enough to be objective about it is hard. Jettisoning something from a story that you think is great but which doesn't really work is hard. Cutting a character who is brilliantly realized but adds nothing is hard. You're the first editor that's going to see your story, and you should be the hardest to please, and it takes time to develop the tool that lets you go back into the story without the emotional investment in order to tune it and make it sing.

And when you start submitting, go in with the fore-knowledge that the editor doesn't know you - the editor knows a magazine and all the pieces he or she has to choose from to make one work; and while yes, there are judgements to be made, they also aren't personal, or even a reflection of the quality of work. Editors have their tastes and their wants - their own tools - and they're guided by them. Will an editor give preference to a name they know? Perhaps. But bear in mind, as recently witnessed, even Harlan still gets rejected sometimes.

Does rejection hurt? Stings every time. But try to not take it personally - and don't let it keep you from continuing to write. Publishing is a wide, dark maze of business decisions that you can't control - you can only navigate it more precisely by continuing to improve.

Just keep telling stories, and continue developing the craft to tell them well. And that's what it is, in the end: a craft.


*that said, I'm curious to see the differences between "Weariness" at Foolscap and "Weariness" when finally published.

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Re: cant find a thread

Postby Moderator » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:45 am

Spot on advice, Doug. I'll also reference Bradbury's quote that a story is never finished, it's just put away.

Diane, I haven't considered myself a writer in many, many years. A decade or two ago, yes. I submitted to some major publications and even got a few takes. I was good enough that I usually received personalized rejection slips from magazines such as ATLANTIC MONTHLY, STORY, PLAYBOY and FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION. (Not letters, mind you --except for STORY--...I got little scribbles on rejection slips. But it felt good and rewarding.)

However, I didn't have the passion for it I think you have to have. No fire in my gut. It was a means to communicate...and I have many, many ideas for stories even now....but I'd rather pick up the Nikon and head to the desert.

As Doug notes, you have to have this drive. "Not writing" is too painful to contemplate, even if the process of doing so itself hurts like hell.

But the only way to become good is to do it repeatedly and learn as you go. It's the same with any art form. You can't pick up paint and produce a Renoir. You can't walk on stage and genuinely perform Shakespeare. I look at back at some of my early photographic work and pictures I considered terrific are just barely adequate.

It takes practice. Hide the cringe-worthy stuff but also try to understand why it didn't work the way you wanted it to. Find yourself a mentor you can trust. Mine was a particularly good pair of creative writing instructors at the nearby Junior College...one of whom is a trusted friend to this day.

Bradbury and Doug are, IMHO, solid trustworthy advisors. Arise, go forth and write. Find your voice, find yur style, and produce what you can until that one day you finish something and it's your Arvies. Your I Have No Mouth. Your Moby Dick.

my two cents.
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Re: cant find a thread

Postby diane bartels » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:54 pm

Thank you both. I'm gonna try.

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Re: cant find a thread

Postby diane bartels » Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:47 pm

Still trying guys. Got a little farther on the MS story, started another one that came to me. I even know the ending to this one, but haven't written it yet. I have a real problem finishing things I write. Fiction that is. I have at least 3/4 of a novel that I have been working for I will not tell you guys how long. And now even though it is not done, Im thinking I have to trash large parts of it. Dated they did; that is how long I have been writing this. And I think I know why I can't finish stuff. Cause if I finished it, I'd have to submit it. Which opens the door to rejection, a door I have trouble wanting to walk through. It helps to say this stuff out loud. I started going to a workshop, but then got involved in the play performance and let that sidetrack me. I didn't finish the story I read there and let that be my excuse but I can always take the bits and pieces and get feedback. Plus my friend from college, who got me to sign up both for the workshop and to do the play, has similar problems with his writing. He is a friend of long duration. We have to talk more to each other about our stuff.

I do have a specific question Steve. Do those magazines a. Still exist in the case of story; and b. accept stories. I will do some research on this for my own, but just wondered if you guys knew.

Doug based on your FB updates, your stories sound like they are going good?
TY DB

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Re: cant find a thread

Postby Moderator » Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:06 pm

Diane -

I don't know if STORY is still published. I'll see what I can find. Obviously the other two are still around.

G;ad you're sticking with it...that is one of the keys.

Interesting synchronicity you should post this today. Tonight I'm going to a party with some writer friends of mine. A month ago Cris and I were cleaning the garage and I ran across a pile of old manuscripts from the group (including mine) which measures some four inches thick. I'm taking it to the party and we're spending the night reviewing old memories.

Timing.

I'll let you know what I find out about STORY.
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Re: cant find a thread

Postby Lori Koonce » Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:46 pm

Diane,

You may want to find out if your local library has a current edition of Writer's Marketplace that you can check out. It has the most current information on what publications accept and anything else you need to know to get your articles and stories into print.

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Re: cant find a thread

Postby Moderator » Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:51 pm

Diane -

Unfortunately, it looks like Story died more than a decade ago.

From Wikipedia: "In 1989, Story was revived as a quarterly by the husband and wife team of publisher Richard Rosenthal and editor Lois Rosenthal, fulfilling their promise to Burnett that they would relaunch Story some day. Their Story, published by F&W Publications in Cincinnati, continued until 1999 with Winter 2000 being the final issue."
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Re: cant find a thread

Postby diane bartels » Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:09 pm

thanks guys. That helps.


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