Monday, January 30, 2012

Writing Sample: "Thank You For Your Years of Service, But..."

It has been a long time since I've offered up a writing sample, so I thought I'd give you something I did today in response to the writing prompt at the Creative Copy Challenge.  This is a fun site that posts a writing prompt of ten words every Monday and Thursday, and you can post your response to a very accepting community of fellow posters.

But today's words were pretty tough:

  1. Lethargy - A state of sluggishness, inactivity, and apathy
  2. Carbuncle – A painful localized bacterial infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissue that usually has several openings through which pus is discharged; A deep-red garnet, unfaceted and convex.
  3. Meritocracy – A system in which advancement is based on individual ability or achievement.
  4. Husbandry – The act or practice of cultivating crops and breeding and raising livestock; agriculture.
  5. Ornithopter – a heavier-than-air craft designed to be propelled through the air by flapping wings.
  6. Enclave – any small, distinct area or group enclosed or isolated within a larger one
  7. Barrister – lawyer
  8. Syncopated – A shift of accent in a passage or composition that occurs when a normally weak beat is stressed
  9. Detritus – Disintegrated or eroded matter; popular word with CCC word pickers
  10. Sumpter – A pack animal, such as a horse or mule.

These words made it even more of a challenge to do something I'd been thinking about -- taking the idea of Angel Zapata's 5x5 Fiction and applying it to the CCC prompts:  Ten sentences of ten words each, with each one incorporating one of the prompt words.  To make it even more interesting, use the prompt words in order, with the first prompt word used as the first word in the first sentence, the second prompt word used as the second word in the second sentence, etc.

As I said, today's words were a little tough, but I managed to fit them in to this self-imposed structure (Click on the title to go to my original post at the CCC)  Feel free to let me know what you think:

"Thank You for Your Years of Service, But..."

Lethargy was never his problem; he knew he wouldn't grow

a carbuncle on his ass from too much idle sitting.

He expected meritocracy to prevail; knew he'd eventually be rewarded

for his dedicated husbandry of countless creative and profitable projects.

He wasn't merely an ornithopter, passed over by the supersonic

jets -- he was in the enclave of stratospheric corporate performers.

So he was stunned when the barrister delivered the letter.

Reading the notification, his heart beat in syncopated, galloping shock.

He was being swept aside like useless, forgotten detritus:  Downsized!

Sent out to pasture like an aged and broken sumpter.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Writing Journal: 1/26/2012 Update

Since I've returned to blogging about my writing, I should probably give an update as to what I've been up to writing-wise for the last months, and what I'm working on now.

First off, as I said in my previous post -- I didn't do that much writing since last July.  I took a bit of a sabbatical to refocus and recharge my batteries.  Instead of trying to churn out as much writing as possible, I stepped back, relaxed, and reconnected with why I wanted to write in the first place.

Because I enjoy it.

Last July/August, I'd become over-extended, over-committed, and overly focused on output, activity, and web-presence.  Frankly, it had reached the point where I just wasn't enjoying it.

But I didn't really quit -- I just removed myself from the web and took a long, deep breath.  I read.  A lot.  And I spent a lot of time thinking, brainstorming, day-dreaming, and imagining stories, characters, and situations.

So the 'Input' process of writing was churning away as strong as ever -- probably even more so, since I wasn't forcing myself to spew it back out as fast as possible.  I could let ideas sit, stew, and germinate.

But I intentionally turned the 'output' side of it way, way down.  To a trickle.

I'm not recommending this to every writer, and to tell the truth, I don't think I'll ever again completely drop off the map.  After all, I never stopped wanting to be a writer, and to be a 'writer' you have to write.  However -- as a new, still-developing writer, it was feeling like I was forcing myself to do things in a way that only emphasized my clumsy, newbie traits -- I didn't like what I was creating.  My works simply didn't feel good enough.

So off the radar of the web, I took the time to really delve into the details of what I was writing.  I'd write, but slowwwwwwwly -- I'd work on a sentence, a paragraph, or a section for as long as it took, for as many revisions as it took, to get it to where I really liked it.  Sometimes it never happened, and I'd eventually give up and move on.  But I never forced it, and over time, I came back to writing on a semi-regular basis, liking what I was creating, and enjoying the process again.

So that's where I am now -- I'm writing, enjoying it, and back to doing it steady enough that I decided to poke my head out of my hidey-hole and resuscitate this blog.  To sum up what's happening with my writing projects right now:

  • My WIP novel has been revisited and revised, and I am in the process of a another (major) rewrite.
  • I have several short stories in the can, and a few out on submissions (at Every Day Fiction and other places), and also a couple of 50-word stories I've sent to Tim Sevenhuysen at Fifty Word Stories.
  • I've reappeared at the Creative Copy Challenge and will continue to post there from time to time (those 10-word prompts are just too much fun).
  • I've put the paddles to this blog and jolted it back to life.
  • My 'Published Works' has grown to a total of three, and I've created a new tab to start listing them in one consolidated place. Hopefully I'll get more pieces I can put there... ;^)
So there ya go...  Consider yourself updated.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Renewal of a Writer

So...   Happy New Year 2012!

Or, more appropriately, since we're well past the First of January, 2012, but are on the first day of the Chinese New Year of The Dragon: "Sin Ngen Kai Lok!" and "Kung Hii Fatt Choi!"

Let me begin by saying that I have returned to blow the dust off this blog, and to resume my posting here.

Surprised?   Yeah, me too...

So some history is in order, I think:

Not that long ago, I started this blog to highlight some of my writing and to track my journey from unpublished, wanna-be writer to... well, wherever the act of writing took me.

Then, by writing, and pushing, and biting off more and more chunks of ways to try and write, and submit, and visiting more and more places to submit my writing and websites to post on, and adding more and more commitments about how much, and how often, I was going to write (a novel, short-stories, writing prompts, blogification),  I just -- hit the wall.

I started to realize that I was going for quantity instead of quality, pushing myself to keep up with all the ways I wanted to write and be a presence on the web, and truthfully enjoying it less and less.  Then, somehow, things hit a crescendo -- Real life intruded, not much; just enough to add that last, critical-mass straw, and it all collapsed

I stopped..

Then it was a week without writing.  And then two.  And all the ways I was trying to write and maintain a web presence were behind schedule and piling up.  And my 'behind schedule-ness' kept accumulating, and snowballing, and soon it seemed insurmountable for a part-time writer to catch up.

So I threw up my hands, and threw in the towel, and decided I was just through with it all..

But, yet...

Not really.  Because I still wrote.  A little.  Here and there.  Because I enjoyed it.  I toyed with a few short stories.  I polished some of the things I'd churned out earlier.  I'd write, and undo, and redo, and then -- without the pressure I'd earlier put on myself -- I'd move on.

And now, after many months, I am renewed, and restored, and returned.

I'll tell you more in future posts, but for now, let me just say -- I'm writing, and I'm back.

And for now, that's enough...