March 2014

In like a lamb, out like a lion. That’s how I’ll sum up the month of March where it concerns my writing efforts. I started slow, and finished strong with a couple of short stories finished and submitted.

Short stories have been especially confounding – I suppose it’s because they are so short and there is so much to accomplish in such a short amount of time – so that’s why I’ve been reading them quite heavily of late. I finished two short stories for a couple of contests, “Deadwood Soldier,” which I might rename “Daddy’s Little Trooper,” and “Godspeed.” The former didn’t place in its contest, but it felt good to write it and finish it. I may tweak it some and send it out elsewhere. The latter story, “Godspeed,” was one that I’d started years ago and never finished, so it also felt good to complete. Both stories came about over the last couple of weeks, which is why I feel like the month is part of a ramp-up to what’s next.

I also experimented with a Twitter fiction story (you can read it elsewhere on this site). I will try to finish it at some point, but it wasn’t getting any views so I put it aside temporarily. It was an interesting experience and, at the least, it got me writing and thinking creatively.

Finally, I’ve been working on outlining my mystery/thriller novel. I’m taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo in April and hope to pound out as much of my first draft as I can, if not all of it. The plotting and character building has to end some time. Now it’s time to just write and see where it takes me, even if I don’t have every plot angle ironed out just yet.

That covers the writing aspect of my month.

Looking back, I’m happy to see that I did a lot of reading. (Maybe too much, actually). In addition to my monthly allotment of magazines and daily web reading, I indulged in numerous short stories, more film scripts as a reader for the Nashville Film Festival screenwriting competition, and even a novel or two. I enjoy reading, first and foremost, always have, but I’m also using each story and each format as a learning experience.

Now, here’s my list of reading accomplishments:

  • ” Lisa With Child” by Alex Black (from L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Vol. XXVI)
  • “The Black Side of Memory” by Lael Salaets (from L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Vol. XXVI)
  • Clue (screenplay)
  • “Mischief in Mesopotamia” by Dana Cameron (from Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, November 2012)
  • “Miss Lora” by Junot Diaz (from Best American Short Stories 2013)
  • “Schools and Schools” by O. Henry; “Malaria” by Michael Byers (Best American Short Stories 2013)
  • “Bravery” by Charles Baxter (Best American Short Stories 2013)
  • “Tobin’s Palm” and “The Last Leaf,” both by O. Henry (41 Stories by O. Henry)
  • “The Provincials” by Daniel Alarcon (from The Best American Short Stories 2013)
  • “The Wives of the Dead” by Nathaniel Hawthorne (in The Oxford Book of American Short Stories-Second Edition)
  • “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” by Ernest Hemingway
  • “Dragon Drop” by George Tucker (from The 2002 Writer’s Digest Writing Competition)
  • “Cannabilism in the Cars” by Mark Twain
  • “The Story of the Bad Little Boy” by Mark Twain
  • “The Social Triangle” by O. Henry
  • “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” by Mark Twain)
  • “Changed” by Ann Averill and “Knuckleblood” by James O’Brien (both in the 11th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection)
  • : “And Little Lambs Eat Ivy” by Neil Schofield and “Ground Meat” by Regina Schleheck (both in EQMM May 2014)
  • “A Unicorn’s Horn Tastes Like Vanilla” by Brooke Hartman and “Making Good Neighbors” by Ann M. Sligar (both in the 81st Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition Collection)
  • “Freedom Gate” by Patricia Ljutic (from The 11th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection)
  • “Bare As Bones” by Molly Bond (EQMM May 2014)
  • Nebraska (screenplay)
  • “My Mom, The Movies, and Me” by Robert S. Levinson (EQMM May 2014)
  • “A Question of Fathers” by Michael Z. Lewin (EQMM May 2014)
  • “Uprising at Cap d’Antibes” by fellow Nashville author Robert Mangeot on Lowestock Chronicle’s website. Check it out at http://bit.ly/1i1o8vq
  • “Calculated Risk” by Ed Gorman (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, May 2014)

I reached 169 scripts read in the Nashville Film Festival screenwriting competition as a first and second round reader, plus read the five finalists in the drama category in their entirety.

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