Litlets

September 24, 2009

What I’m working on, 9/24/2009

I’ve started a new novel in the fantasy genre. I’m excited about this one because it’s the first time I’ve ever begun a story with a clear picture of the protagonist. I’m prone to tepid main characters, saving all the spice and color for the supporting cast.

I’ve created names and descriptions for the major players and places, I have a sketchy idea of the overall story arc, and I have a good view of an important early scene. I suppose I could do some more diagramming and brainstorming and planning, but I think it’s time to dive in. I plan to write — not necessarily the opening scene, but a scene — this weekend.

Without giving too much away, I think I can describe it as Gulliver’s Travels meets Candide meets Gargantua and Pantagruel, except that it’s not much like any of them. (And I’m not talking only about the quality.)

Advertisements

July 10, 2009

Writing Exercise: 7 sketches

Filed under: Fiction,Litlets,Prose,Writing — crcb @ 9:49 pm
Tags: , , ,

Seven brief fictions, if they have enough narrative to be called that.

Stray Dog
I hadn’t trimmed my beard or hair for six months. A woman walked up to me on the street and barked in my face — r-r-rarf! arf! — then rejoined her laughing friends.

I had kissed her once in a rose garden.

Orphan
His father, who had buried both parents and a sister without a tear, cried for hours when his favorite cartoonist died.

Lap Dance
The stripper smells of cotton candy and sweat. She whispers something in your ear. You catch the word “death.”

Anniversaries
He went barefoot only in bed and the shower; she danced naked on the balcony. Their friends knew the marriage was doomed, and hung back from the impending carnage.

Finding themselves isolated, they clung to one another. He forced himself to wear sandals without socks. She learned to love the drag of fabric during sex.

Bent Twigs
Despite teaching geology, he still expects limestone to taste like limes.

Filters
She had learned to sleep through the gunshots, choppers and sirens of her new neighborhood, but would often lie awake until morning waiting for the next yip from the neighbor’s spaniel.

Losing It
Once, she could name the seven races of ETs, the ten pre-human civilizations, and the nineteen ranks of demons. Her faith wandered off when she forgot to feed it. Now that she was alone again, it came nosing at the door.

June 21, 2009

Call for Submissions: NPR Three-Minute Fiction Contest

NPR is running a flash fiction contest for the summer. The maximum length is 600 words — a story that can be read aloud in at most three minutes. You do sign over perpetual (non-exclusive) rights to your work, which I know will be a deal-killer for some. Must be 18 or over to enter.

The challenge: send in an original short story “that can be read in three minutes or less”

Entry fee: none

Prize: check the website for details, but the prize includes an autographed copy of James Wood’s How Fiction Works and major writing cred

Deadline: 7/18/2009

Details: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=105689057

December 29, 2008

My goals for 2009

I’m too self-skeptical to make New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I’ve set the following goals. (These could also be considered my list of Big, Fun, Scary Things for 2009.) This list is subject to additions, deletions and alterations at any time.

  • Find a permanent job. I’ve been doing the IT contracting thing for a while now, but that puts me in a volatile sector in a volatile career field. Choosing a place to settle down is a gamble. What if they have massive layoffs, or move the office to a distant state? (Both have happened to me, and I had been happy in those jobs.) What if the company looks good on paper, but turns out to be another Dickensian, Dilbertesque or Kafkaesque environment? (I’ve worked in all three. A sense of humor is mandatory.)
  • Start learning Polish. I’ve often threatened to learn a second language. In addition to high school Spanish, and German and Koiné Greek in college, at various times I’ve toyed with Italian, French, Latin, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Icelandic. I couldn’t ask for a cup of coffee in any of those languages. Polish, with its scarcity of vowels, is intimidating, but I admire Polish culture and have enjoyed many Polish writers in translation.
  • Start learning yoga. I have the For Dummies book. I don’t intend to become a human knot, but I would like to become more fit and less stressed.
  • Start meditating. I’ve meditated sporadically, by which I mean about five times a year, for a couple of decades. I need to start revving down my type-A personality. I might even begin sleeping eight hours a night. (Why is everyone laughing?)
  • Write a play. I’ve written plays before, but that was in my dadaist period; they made no sense and were completely unstageable. (As I recall, one ended with the destruction of the universe.) I’d like to script something that could actually be performed.
  • Write song lyrics. I’ve written the lyrics for two or three songs in my life, and I still don’t know what I’m doing. I hope to learn. Composing melody is beyond me.
  • Write at least one poem a day in April. I do this every year for National Poetry Month, but I think it still counts as an adventure. I usually end the month with at least one or two keepers.
  • ScriptFrenzy. This is the cousin to National Novel Writing Month; the goal is to write a full-length film screenplay in one month. Unfortunately, ScriptFrenzy coincides with National Poetry Month. (There goes my “eight hours of sleep” goal.) I’ll be collaborating with my wife, Anne, in this adventure.
  • Create my personal website. I’ve owned the domain for years. I keep tinkering with the site design. It’s time to just do it.
  • Publish a piece of fiction—for pay—in currency, not copies. Just to prove I can.
  • Make a good start on that philosophical-epic-dramatic poem I have notes for on a million scattered scraps of paper. (Working title: “Polyphanic Idiographies.”)
  • Recycle the abandoned items on this list for 2010.

December 5, 2007

Near Christmas

Filed under: Christmas,Fiction,Humor — crcb @ 10:49 pm
Tags: , ,

Mood: paginated

Now Ronald Butterworth was a deacon of the Second Salvation Church, and a police officer. And one night an angel spoke unto him and said, “Take off thy Kevlar, and put thy trust in the Lord.”

And Ronald answered him and said, “Thy?”

Then the angel sighed and said, “People believe better when they have a little trouble understanding the message.”

“Oh,” said Ronald. But he heeded the angel and went to the bust unarmored, and he was gunned down, and died in the street.

Now when Ronald came before the throne of the Lord’s glory, he said, “I thought you had my back. What happened?”

“Yeah,” said the Lord, “sorry about that. The dealer promised to give his soul to Jesus if I’d do this for him. My son’s a collector, and his birthday is coming up.”

And Ronald said, “All my adult life I’ve served you and guarded my neighbors, and you favored a criminal over me?”

Then the Lord’s wrath grew, and he said unto Ronald, “Three nights ago, did I not help you fill an inside straight? Fair’s fair. Do you want me to answer prayers, or not?”

“Oh, when you put it that way,” said Ronald. “But who will take care of my wife?”

“I’m on it,” said the Lord. “She’s been asking me that for years.”

Blog at WordPress.com.