Flash Dogs In Print

Just got my hands on a print copy of the Flash Dogs Anthology, and it’s prettier than I could have imagined. If you still haven’t picked up this collection of flash fiction, head over to theflashdogs.com and follow the appropriate link.  Remember, all proceeds go to charity, so in addition to getting some great stories, you’re also contributing to a good cause. 🙂

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Short Story Mechanics with Richard Thomas: Day 2

Narrative hooks—those first few words that sink into your reader’s flesh and drag them through the depths of your story only to leave them gasping onshore when they reach its end. You do want your readers to follow the story all the way to the end, don’t you? Of course you do! So make sure those hooks are good and sharp; and if you’re writing horror (like me) throw in a couple of rusty barbs for good measure.

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This was the lesson for Day 2. Our assignment was to come up with five hooks, four of which could be only one sentence long. I don’t know about you, but I tend to write short sentences, so trying to include all the information necessary to craft a good hook in just one was a challenge for me. I think I succeeded to some degree, but it was Richard’s opinion that they all lacked a little something. I’ll probably visit and revisit these hooks a number of times over the next however long it takes me to get each of the stories written, and hopefully by the time you see them in print, they will be sharper and rustier than ever leaving you with a bloody hole in your lip and a smile on your face.

Here’s what I came up with:

1:  Audrey first noticed the spider when it was still only 105* inside the sauna; the spider was tiny, only the size of a pencil eraser, but the dread it inspired was large enough to crush a Greyhound.

2:  As frigid rain cut and shaped frozen heaps of road-stained snow into twin rows of sculptures that lined both sides of the two-lane highway like an army of malformed sentinels, Lyska—wearing nothing but a skimpy, black and white French maid costume and a pair of stripy pink knee-socks—gripped a World War II era gas mask in one hand while using the other to lift her skirt’s hem just a bit higher.

3:  It was date night again; Lester caressed cracked leather and inhaled the ghosts of a million dead cigarettes as he counted hash marks on the dash—one for every romantic evening that had culminated in sweet satisfaction.

4:  To a casual observer, the jagged split in the floor of the abandoned mortuary’s basement was nothing more than a sign of entropy slowly reducing the loathsome edifice—and, perhaps more importantly, the shadows of past deeds still clinging to memory within its halls—to dust; to Sean, that crooked concrete smile was his own personal ATM.

5:  The waiting room smells like a department store perfume counter. Heavy particles of floral vapor orbit each of the eight or ten women—some still with hair, others wearing designer hats or kerchiefs—as they sit reading magazines, sipping ginger ale plucked from my snack cart, and pretend they aren’t dying. Each woman waits patiently, wrapped in a cocoon of aerosolized denial designed to mask the scent of her own decay. It is as if by dousing themselves in expensive, migraine-inducing fragrances these women think they might confuse Death, throwing him off track, as if by buying PETA-friendly cosmetics and perfumes they are actually buying themselves extra time.

Short Story Mechanics with Richard Thomas: Day 1

I’m taking a class over at LitReactor from dark fiction writer Richard Thomas. This isn’t my first online writing class, but I’m hoping that, in conjunction with all of the other tools I’ve acquired along the way, this class will be a major turning point with regards to my ability to translate ideas into coherent narratives. I told Richard that over the next week, I intend to absorb his powers, but he warned me that magic comes always comes with  a price…

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As long as that price doesn’t match what I paid for my MD, I think it’s worth the risk.

Our first assignment was to write a six-sentence story. Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year working with flash fiction (Go #FlashDogs!), but that didn’t make the assignment any easier. Fortunately, I didn’t fall flat on my face as I’d feared I would. Richard had some lovely comments for me and suggestions to make my story stronger, as well as a few things to consider in general when writing short fiction.

All in all, I’d call today a success. Can’t wait to see what Richard has in store for me tomorrow.

2015: It Begins

After dinking around with writing off and on for over two decades, last year there was a turning point in which I went from dinking around to taking my writing seriously and pursuing publication. I had some success in 2014, placing a handful of pieces (all flash) with a number of publishers, both online and in print. My goal this year is to continue that trend, expanding my publishing credits to include short stories as well as flash, and (if I’m lucky) find a home for my novella.

But you can’t get published if you don’t submit.

With that in mind, I’ve been working on a piece entitled ‘Ecdysis’ for several months now, and I think it’s finally ready to send out into the world. I’ve assembled a list of horror magazines currently open for submissions (many of which do not accept simultaneous subs, so if they see fit to reject me, let’s hope they do it quickly), and have sent it off to the first publication on my list.

Now, as they say, we wait. In the meantime, I’ve got a healthy project list with over a dozen short story and novella ideas (and maybe even a novel or two, though those might have to simmer until I’ve taken boards) just waiting to be tackled.

Here’s hoping 2015 far surpasses 2014 for writerly awesomeness.

Is murder legal in Utah? Because I KILLED with my talk at the SLC Comic Con

I recently tossed Sean Hoade a story I’ve been working on, and he gave me some great pointers to pursue in revision. Among them was strengthening some of the scenes using the below described technique. I found the video very helpful (and am a little sad I wasn’t able to actually BE at the talk, since it was right down the street from me—*deep sigh*), and thought I’d share it in hopes that it might help you too.

Happy writing!

Sean Hoade Brings You The World's Greatest Blog In The World

I was invited as a special guest to the Salt Lake City Comic Con last weekend, and I sat on one panel — a George Romero retrospective, very fun — and gave a one-hour talk on “Creating the Perfect Scene,” using the ideas of several well-known writing gurus and presenting them with my own twist and style.

It was a hit. Huge. Like cheering at the end. It was, to say the least, a heady moment in my life. But even more than that, I talked to some attendees afterwards and they told me that this was just what they needed to get themselves actually writing that book they had always dreamed about. I was very proud to have helped them, and very flattered that Dan Farr (the founder of SLCCC) gave me such an outlet to help fledgling writers.

The video is on YouTube, and right here as well:

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