Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Yay for Editing!

No, it's not that I'm ecstatic about editing all of a sudden. After spending all of October editing a short story, "Worlds Apart," I had grown so sick of it that I never wanted to see it again. With the help of my trusted beta readers (@dreamrock and @spacecrazed on twitter) I had scoured every line, second guessed every word, and in such a flurry that I had also killed any confidence and joy I'd had in the piece. If it had been on paper instead of in the computer, I might have crumpled it up and thrown it away.

So, you know, at that point I figured it was done. And just in time, too, since the point of doing all that editing was to submit it to the Dead Robots' Society podcast's 3rd annual short story contest. The story had come out of a sort of prompt they had in one of their episodes, so when they announced the contest, it seemed appropriate to submit it there. For one thing, it was motivation to, er, edit it. ;)

And then... I won! This has got to be the first contest of any sort that I've won :O It's also the first short story that's gotten recognition anywhere. They are going to record the story and release it in their podcast feed. WOOT^3!

One last note on editing -- I completed NaNoWriMo (51k in 17 days) and kept a file for planned changes, but there's no way I'm launching into that right now, because of a bunch of holiday plans coming up. It felt surprisingly natural to write a 51k story even though I'm usually writing short stories and flash fiction. That was encouraging! I didn't even write from an outline, which I usually do. Go me!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Not a Real Update

I know it's been awhile since I posted in my blog, but that's because there's not much to say. Lame!

- I've written, edited, and recorded some flash fiction for a future project
- I've connected my blog to facebook, so that all my facebook friends are currently seeing this note and wondering "what the heck"?
- I've done some editing on a story, but it's slow going and I'm STILL not finished. Arg!
- Trying to keep Dear Editor up-to-date. Jonathan helped with that!
- Got stuff to Beta Read, which I will no doubt enjoy!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Beta Reading

I've been having a lot of fun beta reading. It's always satisfying when the other writer is, you know, good-- excellent is even better-- because then you feel like you're privy to something, and that you're helping with something important. And of course, getting your stuff read in return is awesome. I suppose it's a little nerve wracking when you know the other writer is a good writer, and you hope they think the same of you. But the important thing is to improve, and getting your stuff read and commented on is essential, as long as you find beta readers with some sense.

It's also a great way to connect with other writers, because they need and want it as badly as you. I had been a little afraid that other writers, especially strangers, might react poorly to my critiques, but so far that hasn't happened.

Also? Bonus if the other writer(s) are old friends from High School.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

20% is a big Number

20% may not get you a passing grade in school, but it's gloating material when we're talking publishing rate. 20% of the work I've submitted - short stories, novellas, and flash fiction - have been accepted for publishing to wherever I submitted them. That's counting each submission as a separate entity, not each story. This may be a temporary percent, but I'll gloat while it lasts. It's worth noting that most of my work that has been accepted has been twitter fiction. Check out my sidebar to see what has been or will be published.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Little Bit Here, Little Bit There

A personal note: My son Corwin was born July 9th!
So then how am I posting to say any thing about writing? Well, sometimes he just wants to be held, and sometimes that is when I can write. Flash fiction, of course. If you want to ask me more about how I'm accomplishing this, email me at mr.mulington.the.3rd (at) gmail (dot) com

New acceptance: Nanoism will publish a twitter fiction of mine November 2nd.

I wrote a few nonfiction articles to try my hand at it, but ultimately I still love fiction the best.
eHow articles:

I've been catching up on podcast fiction (EscapePod, Podcastle, and Murder at Avedon Hill) and ran across yet another story by Ian Creasey that I love at EscapePod. I emailed him and he responded. Pretty cool, that.

One thing that has had to wait though is podcasting. Oh well!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Outlines are Fun

Before I get to babbling about outlines, let me direct you to some light-hearted flash fiction I've been writing on ficly. These pieces are prayers from Caveman Bob (or his family + associates) to God, and you can find related prayers written by me and by other people by clicking around on either the "prequels" or the "sequels" at the bottom of the piece. They are fun to write, so I command you to have fun reading them!

It's been that, and it's been outlines and notes for story ideas. In some ways, writing outlines makes me itch to actually begin the stories, but I'm a bit leery about that because of the upcoming interruption (having the baby). I'd rather write a good outline now and start a story fresh later than start the story and have 2,000 words that I never pick up again.

Besides, I've had periods like this before, where my brain just decides to switch gears for me from writing to conceptualizing. It tends to happen after I've finished (or abandoned) a large project. This is partly because, for me, outlining and writing are separate things. I'm not saying I won't start writing a story just because I don't have an outline (which, by the way, doesn't have to be written down to count). But for the majority of my stories I like to have enough planned that I feel like I know where the story is going. I like to feel as if I'm approaching an end that I will be able to come up with, or further define, or just plain fix, later. I know a lot of writers do the exact opposite, but for me, the initial conceptualizing of the work is exactly when I "go with the flow" and it's almost like actually trying to write it down at that point would be an interruption to the creative process.

Another reason is simply because I've been sick. There's something about being sick that makes me appreciate being better and makes me want to do stuff, and this time, that's creating and outlining. Whatever, I'll take it!

The two stories, are, briefly:
Clear Omens - A fantasy story where the characters are concerned with the mysterious birth of non-mages in a world where every one is a mage. The context of this story is heavily religious and even some of the events are patterned after Judeo-Christian beliefs. So, my beliefs, but I still wonder if some people will be needlessly offended. Probably. I mean, people are offended by Narnia somehow.
Shards - Also fantasy, but this one doesn't come with a plot yet. World building has been fun, though! The setup is also partly religious but, since I made the Narnia comparison, in more of a LOTR style where it simply explains how some things came to be. It involves a gift from God shattering and its pieces falling all over the world, where they create magic that humans can use. Yay, magic!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Good News Comes with Bad

In the week since I last blogged, I've gotten news about many things, both personal and professional (writing). We'll stick to the writing news, but suffice it to say that the personal news has also been a mixed bag. Life is just like that. Except that with personal news, it happens to you whether you put yourself out there or not. Your actions may greatly influence what kind of news you get in your personal life, but if you sit around and do nothing, stuff still happens to you.

Writing is quite different. Ain't nothing gonna happen if you don't put your work out there in some way. The first step to somebody liking it is somebody reading it. (As a side note on that, since I've gotten less sick, I started writing on a collaborative short fiction site @earl7399 showed me. Check out my work on ficly here. I was also delighted to beta read @dreamrock's story here.)

What that means for me is that even though I've been sick this past week and unable to write, it's been a week of news because I have been keeping up with submissions and that sort of thing. Before I brag just a bit, let me tell you that I've gotten many, many rejections. But along with upping the number of rejections listed in the sidebar, I've also received two and a half acceptances:

"Queen" - PicFic - Coming June 22, 2009
"Jimmy's Leg" - Amphetamine Press - Unknown 2009

The other half acceptance is that my fantasy short story submission "Invisible Trees" made the Adromeda Spaceways short list. I was intrigued by the fact that they inform me of the selection process before I even got the first email saying that I had passed such-and-such round. The short list means that they like it, and now they leave it in a pile for their editors to pick from. They were also kind enough to inform me that about 1/3 of stories from the short list get chosen for publication, and that it can take up to three months.

What this comes down to for me is the best news I've ever had yet on any short story I've ever submitted. All of my accepted works have been flash fiction of some type. I have been musing lately about how, when it comes down to it, flash fiction is faster to write, read, and accept or reject. This story I submitted the 15th of April, and I'm set to wait an additional three months. In contrast, the "Queen" twitter serial, which is flash fiction, got accepted literally the day I sent it. I'm sure that was partly good timing on my part, sending it a day that the editor was reading submissions, but still. Most of the flash fiction I've submitted gets responded to in a week, maybe two weeks. Short story submissions take months.

But hey, if I actually get a short story accepted somewhere this year, it will certainly be worth the wait. And even if this particular submission doesn't pass the final bar, I'm happy to know that people liked it enough for it to get this far. There are so many form rejection letters out there that it can be hard to tell if a story is even worth submitting again, or if it needs editing first, or if should be scrapped altogether. That's part of what fuels the debate on how many times you should bother submitting a particular piece. I've got another short story that's had 8 total rejections despite how much my various beta readers liked it. So for this story, I like knowing how many rounds it passed. Maybe I'll submit my 8-rejection-letters story to them so I can see if it even gets passed the first round. Haha!

I'd better sign off. Writing and submitting my work means actually getting some sleep some time. Wish me luck!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Recording Bluuuues

I was looking forward to recording this weekend with my co-host for Dear Editor, but today I learned that she's come down with a sore throat. Aw. Here's hoping she curls up with some chicken soup and gets better soon! Usually it's me that's too sick to want to record. There was a long period earlier this year where my voice just sounded too awful because of allergies. In fact, if you listen to the episodes, I bet you can pick out which was the last we recorded before we decided that my voice was too distorted.

One of the reasons I wanted to record was because next Monday's release, "The Reset Button," is currently the last regular episode we have up and ready. We have several reviews, though! Including, on the 15th, a guest review of Cold Duty.

Speaking of reviews, I've been reading Crime and Punishment. Remember the last time I did a review of a classical piece? I was very disappointed in “The Man Who Was Almost a Man” by Richard Wright, because I'd read novels by him that I'd liked. And that brings me to a story.

My husband and I were talking to friends a week or so ago and somehow he started talking about an essay he hated doing back in High School. One thing he hated about it was that his teacher picked the subject-- the author and the story-- that he was to write about, and the essay had to be longer than the actual story! Then he starts describing the story to us and lo and behold! If it ain't friggen "The Man Who Was Almost a Man!" His hatred for the story burns as deep as mine, so much so that he remembered it many years later. Truly we were meant for each other.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Short Attention Span

After writing my last post, I realized that with a shorter attention span I should be focusing more on shorter works. I've been toying with flash fiction for the past month or so now, but over the weekend I was more productive and focused. Two of the pieces I completed (first draft, at least) were "Passing the Test" which is under 500 words, and "Throwing Stones" which is just under 1000. Both of these are scifi and one involves a robot. Both imply the death of children. Hmn.

I've also been interested in twitter serials, which just seem like an odd concept to me. The few that I've seen I have not liked. I do, however, get the idea that it's not supposed to be a longer story arbitrarily broken up. It has to be written for the form. So I tried that -- yet more robots! -- "Robot Wife" which centers around a robot revolution in 12 tweetable morsels. Confining myself to that form was interesting and reminded me of when I used to write poetry. I doubt that it will be something that I try my hand at on a regular basis, though. Even for my currently broken attention span, the very idea of a twitter serial is a bit... disconnected.

I wonder if other writers go through periods where they are stuck on/experiment with one form versus another. Had a brief but interest conversation with another writer, "Saudu" on twitter, because his works are typically very long, and even before this little burst of flash fiction, mine are typically much shorter. It also reminds me of one of my favorite authors, Stephen R. Donaldson. His Thomas Covenant series books are quite long. One time I picked up a collection of "short" stories by him. I think every one else would call them novellas-- and then to top it off, one of the stories was actually a huge chunk cut out of one of his books by his editor! I feel like I am on the other spectrum. I've never completed any thing long enough to be considered a novel. One incomplete at 120k is the longest I've ever written. At least, so far. I will most likely try my hand at longer works again some day, and who knows? Not totally fail next time. :)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Recent Podcasts

Vicki and I are very happy with our new ability to schedule podcasts in At first it was a little nerve wracking to hit "publish" when you don't want the post to go out that day, but we figured it out. We were so excited about it, we had a few minor slip-ups where we forgot to add in the audio file before the post was published. Now we've got numerous reviews lined up, and regular episodes slated until the 22nd of June. We are really hoping not to have to change the schedule of the podcast just because I'm having a baby, so we'll be trying to record even more episodes ahead of time.

We also have a guest review coming up by @dreamrock! It is tentatively scheduled for the 15th of June. Ominous music!

Lastly, one of our recent episodes, "Star Strek Special," was a delight to record. It's more relaxed than a regular episode, and it's not really a review of the movie, either, though of course the movie spurred the special. Warning: Spoilers!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What Happens When You Have No Main WIP

I was excited to finish "Adopted" (which still needs a new name) that between that and day-to-day distractions, I haven't gotten much writing done since. I have been trying to chose a "main project" which is historically important for me when it comes to actually getting writing done. A main project, for me, is the thing that you have your mind on as a writer. The thing that you take breaks from when you need to, and so you might get a few words in here and there on other projects, but still the main thing that you make progress in. The thing that you can point to and say "I wrote this day/week/month." Often, side projects are truly distractions in that they never get finished, so the work you put into it ended up being just to keep your skills sharp. That is, they never get finished unless and until they become the main project.

Logically I should chose one of my former "side" projects for my new main project, and develop that. There is one scifi story in particular, "Fishing Line," that I have been hovering about, but my focus remains scattered. Maybe it makes me nervous because it tackles subject matter I don't normally bother with, though it's the kind of thing I'd be just fine reading. Or maybe it's because I have a baby cooking in my belly!

In any case, I have been getting some writing done-- flash fiction, that sort of thing-- but precious little. Whenever I have trouble getting the word count out, I try to make sure I'm up on keeping the stories I've already finished out there, submitted to some place or another for consideration. I also try to make sure that if I do have any ideas for stories, even if I don't feel like writing them at that moment, that I write out the idea for possible use later. At least I can say I've been doing both of those things.

Still, here's hoping I can have a main WIP sometime soon to really develop and hammer out.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Adopted - Finished!

So I was right that it would be only a few more sessions before Adopted was finished. What I didn't expect was that I'd be sitting down for those sessions so soon. Hey, sometimes when you're near the end of a story, you can't help but actually finish it.

I rearranged some of the text according to my plans for the first edit. That way, when I'm ready to actually sit down and edit, I don't have to do any prep work. I just have to sit down and read through the darn thing. Editing is not my strong point, as I tend to get distracted by other projects. Then, even after editing through a couple of times, I feel it is best to have some sort of beta reader, which inevitably leads to more editing. ;)

Before I edit this one, I'd really like to come up with some other name. "Adopted" was always meant as a WIP title, and I don't want to stick with it just because it's the name I've been using. It doesn't give you any clue as to what the story is about. At least the blurb I wrote up in March still works:

(First Draft Complete - 19k)
Sherry is a teen living in a world where the human population has suffered a serious decline. She lives at the former location of SETI, where an alien probe is being kept. After generations of studying the probe, most of the townspeople don't expect anything new to come of it. Boy are they wrong.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Adopted, 17k

It has only been a couple of days since my last post, yet these few days were far more productive than the last few months, especially for Adopted. I am feeling much better after my brush with 9.0 hemoglobin count a week and a half ago. I'm also really excited about the convention I'm going to this weekend, and seeing my friends there. One of my friends will be selling geek dice jewelry there. Somehow all of this has culminated in an increased ability to focus on a more long-term project like Adopted.

Yesterday I did some brainstorming on the plot. I'd had the plot all hashed out, but it was in need of streamlining. I didn't even realize this until I got to a part just before the climax and I was trying to work out some of the nitty gritty details. It then occurred to me that I was expecting the characters to act unreasonably, and that more reasonable actions would actually speed up the build-up to the climax. The climax involves an axe, and I am practically there. A few more sessions and I should have the first draft done. Because of the streamlining, I expect it to top out around 20k, perhaps 25k at the most.

After that, I have some plans for reworking the first draft. Some of what I wrote when I was first starting this project meanders a bit much, but I didn't want to get rid of too much of the back story. I may have found a way to incorporate the back stories better so as not to sacrifice either characterization or pacing. I wrote down my plans to that effect in case I don't get to work on the rewrite for a while. I do at least plan/reasonably hope to finish the first draft before, say, the baby comes.

And now to get ready for the convention!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Adopted -- 14k

So maybe 14k isn't that impressive, considering that I posted way back in March that I was up to 12k. Of course, Adopted isn't the only thing I've been working on, it's just still what I consider my main project, since I have a full outline for it.

I've also been writing a lot of flash fiction. One reason being precisely because it's so short, by definition, and I like the feeling of saying that I have written that day.

I also started a nonfiction project. I've been working as an after school instructor for a handful of years, and this past year I actually had a job that required me to write out my plans for that day in some sort of reasonable format. As part of the nonprofit I helped start, Hope 4 Life Ministries, I plan to compile these lessons and some related advice into an instructors manual of sorts. So, I've been writing for that, too, in the form of lesson plans but also in short essays for the chapter heading and appendix(es).

Dear Editor, the podcast I run with my sister, is still going strong. Episodes are more or less released "on time". Artist Alley podcast, which I run with a friend of mine, is also still running, but on a more random/drawn out "schedule."

I've been badly anemic because of the pregnancy, but thankfully that is getting better. As long as I watch that, I should be able to continuing working-- and writing-- a little longer. Baby is due July 13. :D So on the one hand I am very pregnant and happy to get any writing of any sort done at all. See you around!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

More Published Flash Fiction

I know I'm a late bloomer in this sense, but I have discovered twitter, and discovering twitter meant re-discovering my favorite type of flash fiction -- that under 100 words-- or whatever fits into a twitter post. One of my "twitter flash" stories will be published by
Nov 21, 2009

Flash stories this short don't usually have names, but for convenience sake I'm calling this one "Cherub Flash". Subscribe to to see it Nov 21!

Also, my flash fiction horror piece, "The Beginning is Nigh" is still set to come out Oct 25, 2009 at 52 Stitches. 52 Stitches has just released a short youtube video advertising their webzine here:

So please post or tweet about these two publications!

PS. Not enough flash fiction for you? Subscribe to these tweets:

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Progress is Progress

Adopted is up to 12k words. I'm estimating that it might be up to 30k when all is said and done.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fifty-Two Stitches Publication

My horror flash fiction, "The Beginning is Nigh" will be published by Fifty-Two Stitches on October 25th. Later this publication will be collected into a paperback anthology.

Check it out here:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Long Time, No Type

I haven't written much since November, thus the lack of updates. The holidays and a new job have made things kinda crazy. What I have been doing regularly is recording and releasing the Dear Editor podcast which I cohost with my sister Vicki. Please check out the podcast!

Now, what I have been writing:
(partial first draft, full outline)
Sherry is a teen living in a world where the human population has suffered a serious decline. She lives at the former location of SETI, where an alien probe is being kept. After generations of studying the probe, most of the townspeople don't expect anything new to come of it. Boy are they wrong.
Fishing Line
(partial outline)
Patrick regrets taking a job at the high-tech company The Experience, Inc., but all the secrecy and those pesky contracts keep him from simply quitting. He finds a transport spaceship willing to help him escape, but the deal might turn out to be more trouble than it's worth.