Day 14

I took my writing elsewhere today. In a region near me, according to the NaNoWriMo website, is a wonderful little coffee shop that serves amazing scones, among other things. The owner (and barista) is a published author, and participates in NaNoWriMo. There are a couple of events scheduled there this month, (not sure if I’ll be attending or not), so I thought I’d check out the place.

Just after a short 45-50 minute drive from my house, I arrived at said coffee shop and discovered that the reputation of the scones was definitely deserved. So, with snack and coffee in hand, I got to work. I probably wrote for about an hour and a half, totaling about 1,700 words during that short time. Looks like the “butt in chair” writing method works!

After I got home, I browsed through my email and found a writing newsletter sent out today. There is a short story competition that ends tomorrow, the submission deadline being at midnight. The only requirement is that the story is limited to 1,500 words. And suddenly, as I was reading this email, a story came to me out of nowhere. All I had to do was write it down. It clocked in at 1,496 words. I haven’t decided if I want to submit it or not. I need to edit and polish it, and as I have to work tomorrow, I won’t have too much time. Besides the $20 entry fee, I really have nothing to lose, though.

Words added: 1,914

Total Word Count: 23,827

These totals don’t include the short story I wrote. I wish I could have moved further ahead in my novel, but I’m pleased with what I was able to complete today.

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Short Story

A few weeks ago, I found out about a local writer’s group in my town. They meet once a month for a couple of hours, on the third Saturday of the month. I didn’t have anything to lose, so I decided to go to the September meeting. The current assignment, or challenge, was to write a short story around 4,000 to 6,000 words. So I began tossing a few ideas around, and over the past couple of weeks I wrote my first short story, weighing in right at the upper limit of 6,000 words.

And so I took it with me to the meeting today. Like last month, it was a small group, but after reading it, one person did compliment me, saying that I wrote really well. The assignment for the November meeting is to research possible publishers and bring information about 3-6 publishing companies or magazines that are possibilities. Again, I don’t have anything to lose, and there’s the (small) chance that my story might actually be accepted and published! Then I could truly call myself a published author!!

The title of my short story is “Elmsgate.”

In the town of Elmsgate, all sixteen-year-olds must undergo testing, and possibly treatment, in order to be considered an adult and join society. There is no place for creativity or diversity. Any differences are deemed abnormal and are considered illnesses that must be cured. Sam dreams of being an artist, creating his pieces with smuggled paints. His girlfriend, Lily, writes music, both melodies and lyrics. Sam tries to convince Lily to escape, but she can’t bear to leave her little sister, and Sam can’t bear to leave without her. The only option is to get through the testing and probable treatment so they can be together. But treatment can change people, or even be fatal.

There’s still a bit of polishing left to do on my story, but it’s got a great start. And it really didn’t take me that long to write it–just a couple of weeks. The hardest part was coming up with an idea that I deemed “good enough.” That seems to be the problem I’m having right now preparing for NaNoWriMo, but that’s another topic for another day.

The Poison Eaters

I gave Holly Black another chance. This time, I didn’t read one of her novels, but a compilation of some short stories. The Poison Eaters and Other Stories┬áincludes twelve short stories, with subject matter that runs the gamut. Vampires, werewolves, faery, devils, elves, and other magical beings are just a few of the characters contained in these pages.

I believe my favorite story is Paper Cuts Scissors.┬áIt is about Justin, a young man who is trying desperately to get his girlfriend back after she has folded herself up and put herself in a Russian novel. He begins studying for a library science degree and finally gets a job organizing books in a man’s private library. After midnight each evening, characters come out of the book and have a party, hosted by the librarian. Justin returns one night with his girlfriend’s book, and watches as she comes out of the pages, meeting other characters and jumping into other books. But maybe she doesn’t really want out of the books after all.

Most of the stories here were very raw, dark tales. Many included sex, drugs, and alcohol. I can’t deny that that the author’s writing was excellent, but I can definitely prefer other types of characters and stories. It seemed like many stories were about very trashy people. That’s fine, it’s definitely real life, but that is not the only way to go, either.

So, basically, while I overall enjoyed this short story collection, I still haven’t made up my mind about this author. She’s a very talented writer, that can’t be denied. I have read about some of her newer books, and the story lines look very interesting, so it’s still possible that I will read more of her work in the future.