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Off to the Races

Lots of things have happened so far in this project and none of them are me physically writing down any part of my story. But the groundwork has been laid for a) this story, b) this year, c) the social networking aspect of this project, and d) Aaron’s fleas. He doesn’t have mange anymore, so I gotta talk about what’s what.

We’ll go in reverse. The social networking stuff Aaron touched on a bit in his email. We’re going to have a Twitter account, which is pretty monumental as I have never actually sent a tweet before (despite this being my third Twitter account – it’s a long story). We have our email (shortstoryproject2012@gmail.com). And now we have a Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/633656743446717/) The Facebook group will be something of a hub. We’ll post links to new blogs we’ve written, we’ll try to figure out a way to get our Tweets over there. It might be the way we send out our stories, I’m not sure. Either way, most people have Facebook, so if you’re interested, go there and get into the group. It’ll probably be quite light at first until more people get interested, so at least you don’t have to worry about reading the updates taking up too much of your time.

Speaking of which, people are interested. I’ve had a couple of people so far express some interest in possibly being a part of the group in various capacities, from reading stories to possibly writing stories and whatnot. That’s an intriguing prospect and one we’d have to hammer out logistics on. For now, we’re keeping the official project just between Aaron and I, with the possibility open down the line of having “guest writers”. That being said, we are definitely encouraging all writers to join the Short Story Facebook group as a community of writers who are sharing info about their projects, tips, ideas… everything. If it ever gets bigger (which we’d love), we’ll cross that bridge later and figure out ways to get more people directly involved if it comes to that. Or we’ll just write these four stories and then take another 2 year vacation.

As for my story, I am using one of Aaron’s suggestions. Many didn’t leap out at me but one did: “a teenager fears they have lost the ability to hear”. I’ve been interested in deaf culture for years and can sign to some degree and communicate with deaf people. I’ve actually befriended a surprising number of deaf disc golfers over the years, so at least I’m not writing totally from imagination here. As per our guidelines, I’m not sticking to the suggestion by the letter, but I am using it as my springboard.

I envision a world where only one person, (my main protagonist, a 13 year old girl) can hear. Everyone else is deaf. Not sure if it’s a world, an island, or what. Also not sure if they’re human or not, but I think that is largely irrelevant right now. So for part of the story she has to figure out why that is, and also how to explain hearing in a UNIVERSE where it doesn’t exist, essentially. I like that idea. I already have a rough outline of the story in my head with some fun turns along the way, and in doing so I will actually end up using one of the ideas I supplied for Aaron. Well, it wasn’t one of my ideas, it was an idea given to my by another Facebook group I’m a part of. I won’t tell you what that one is, as it might give away the ending (should I decide to go the route in my head right now).

I was going to put a Google Image here, but deafness is pretty hard to encapsulate in a photo. I did like the cartoon of the Asian girl signing “You go restaurant?” but it seemed more racist than helpful. (Yes, I am aware that’s how ASL would sign it…)

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thankfully 2012 has been the longest year on record

running into its 37th month, just so we don’t have to change the name of this blog.

first, let me welcome everyone back. it’s been a long time coming and we’ve finally decided to push ourselves again this year. we did have plans last year but they sort of fell through, i forget why. anyway, that’s besides the point. the point is, we’re here to write some more stories that end in awful deaths and/or sadness.

second, we have a new way to follow the process. a new twitter account. you can follow us @shrtstryprjct because we have no vowels. that, or any decent name was taken or too long for twitter. most everything on there will probably just a a note updating about a new post here, but perhaps we’ll slip in some different information as well. or just randomly spew hashtags, as i am come to believe is all twitter is good for.

and now on to the fun stuff

so as derek mentioned, we’re only going to be writing four stories this year. possibly a 5th one thrown in for good measure with one of our ‘crazy’ themes from last year (where we each wrote the into for the other one to finish, had to work the same sentences or characters into a story, had to write a prequel/sequel to one of the other’s stories), but the year is long and we have plenty of time to decide on that in the future. for this month, we sent each other a list of around 15-20 characters/themes/locations to choose from. i’ve had a few ideas for things floating around in my head since we were probably working on this project the last time and i’ve never done anything with them. some of the things on my list reminded me of ideas i’ve had, and after some modifications i think i can finally write one of them.

now, keep in mind our subjects don’t have to be verbatim this year. it really started to become a chore trying to shoehorn some things into my stories because they had to be there, and i know there were times when it was forced. very forced. i had zero way to include my final sentence into that story, so i literally just threw it in anywhere. did it work? maybe. did it work well? oh god no. i got a note about that. did i change it? are you crazy? i had a newborn sleeping on me as i wrote most of that one, so i was running on fumes and didn’t care at that point.

anyway, the topics i am forming my story from (i’m not giving the entire list, just what i’m using in some way or another) –

  • a strong central female character (maybe lead, maybe not) that has a crippling fear or addiction
  • a code needs to be cracked in time
  • create a reality in which laws of physics are different but accepted
  • a sound that could kill someone

like i said, i’m using bits and pieces from each of these ideas to form my story. i guess i can talk about it, since we aren’t writing the same topics and are trying to keep things hidden from each other until our first round of edits. so this is it, my first reveal of this year.

i’m writing a superhero story.

now, before you are all shocked and thinking ‘what does he know about superheroes?!?’ i’ve done some research (i watched two episodes of the tick) and i think i’ve got this. actually, i’ve been reading comic books since i was little. i’ve always wanted to give writing one a chance, and while i’m not actually writing a comic, this is basically the next best thing. it’s only a little tougher because i can’t just write a description of some action for 6 pages and let the artist do their thing. i don’t think it’ll be that bad, and i’m up for the challenge.

the actual story is based on a girl with powers that is trying to defend her neighborhood from the triad’s influence and hostile intrusions. the strong female character is her, she basically has to stop something before it happens, the new reality is that super powers exist and people know about them, and her powers will be auditory in nature.

at least i don’t need to do insane amounts of research for this one. not like when i wrote elihu root and charles fairbanks into modern day times.

why do i do these things to myself?

 

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The Short Story Project is BACK

It is with a dash of pride that I announce that the Short Story Project is BACK for 2015, although it will have numerous changes this year. So yes, for BOTH of you who are reading this now because it’s on your RSS feed, there will be stuff to do this year. Aaron and I were pretty concerned with what happened the last few months of the 2012 project – that it seemed more like a chore than a joy. So this year, we’re not doing it monthly. But that’s only the first of many changes.

– We are doing 4 stories total, once every three months. This will hopefully prevent burnout. The extra time MAY allow us to write longer stories. We had generally aimed for 4000-6000 words, but I know I’m mentally considering 5000-7500 my target for this year.

– The point of this year is less about turning out quantity, and more about quality. That’s not to say we didn’t have some good stories in 2012. Actually, I’m currently in the process (hello belated!) of submitting two or three of my stories to various short story publishers because I think they’re that good. One is requiring I’d say minor tweaks and the other is receiving almost nothing at all in terms of revision – that’s how well they stood the test of time. But part of the goal for the first year was seeing if I could do 12 stories in one year. I can, though some were duds. This year, we want to produce 4 excellent stories each.

– As we are giving more time, the project will focus less on the END RESULT and more on the PROCESS. We’ll be exchanging what we have written (even if not complete) after the first 4-5 weeks for the other person to review. This way, if the story is in major need of a total overhaul, it can still be accomplished. If, however, we’re already on the right track, then we can use the time for more subtle criticism. Then we’ll probably do more work and hopefully hand over the first completed draft sometime around the 8 to 9 week mark. One more set of critiques will allow us time to still do a somewhat substantial revision if need be. Then we can have a final get-together to touch up the little things. We think this will produce better results.

– We are abandoning the idea of each using the same topic. In fact, topics now will be more guidelines rather than rigid structures. We’ve each supplied the other with a list of topics (ranging from full plotlines to a character we’d like to see to simple ideas). The other can use one of these, three, part of one, or none at all. Again, we’re focusing more on the storywriting process itself rather than simply seeing how varied we can make a topic.

– Because of there being no need for secrecy, we’ll be posting more details about our stories on the blog itself. I think there are other ways to get the word out, but I’ll leave that up to Aaron’s first post.

– We will each give the other person $1billion if they write the best story of the year. I can pretty much guarantee it will end in a tie.

 

These are the major differences. As it was in 2014, we’ll also be using each other as sounding boards (and always we listen to readers too. Actually it was a comment of one of my readers that gave me GREAT direction for what would ultimately become my favorite story). Also, we’ll offer the stories up at the end of the writing period to anyone who wants to read them. Hey, if all goes well, you can be one of the lucky ones to say “I read this BEFORE it was published.” All you need to do is leave a comment her contact us at shortstoryproject2012@gmail.com.

Now, I wonder if either of us knows the password for that email address…

 

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Testing…

Testing… testing… is this thing on?

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Progress?

23 days in and I’ve written *almost* one full page. Something tells me that – my son’s surgery and complicated aftermath – this was NOT the month to start anything. I have been doing some brainstorming at least. That’s something, right?

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2014 in derek's writing

 

Plans for 2014?

What’s this, you say? At least you might if you’re one of the four people who have RSS-feeded this blog to your readers or whatnot. I’m a little behind on this techno-babble. I still find it shocking that I have not one but two Twitter accounts (for which I’ve personally composed a grand total of 2 tweets.) This entry is only two or three sentences long and I’ve already drifted. Let me get back to the matter at hand.

Does this mean that the 2012 Short Story Project blog is back? Will Aaron and I be writing new short stories for 2014? No. No, we won’t. I’ve crushed all your dreams now. So go back to picking potatoes, as I’m sure that’s what the majority of our readers do for a living.

However, that doesn’t mean that this blog won’t see some action this year. For many years (more for Aaron than me), we’ve had some grand plans in our brains for novels. Personally, I’ve had an idea kicking around for a novel since I wrote a theme-mail to Will several years ago. I fell in love with one of the characters and thought he had legs to sustain a whole novel. Well, many years  and dozens of brainstorming sessions later, I think I have the skeleton of a novel in the works. The only thing that’s been stopping me is momentum.

So I figured if I set monthly deadlines for myself (just that I HAVE to write, not a specific amount that I NEED to write), I’ll be able to make a dent in this idea of mine. Aaron has agreed to review my stuff despite the fact that the general genre of my novel (noir) is not one of his favorites. Additionally, he has told me that he is interested in putting some of his long-standing ideas down on paper, so it would be a swap much like the Short Story Project of 2012 (lo those many years ago).

There are obvious obstacles to overcome, like how some months will have little or no contributions and others will have many. We’re not stressing. We both want to be writing again (lord knows I need something to keep me away from Angry Birds – seriously, why are those birds so angry? What did the piggies do to them, really?) We hope that having someone else expecting material from us will prompt us to actually provide some of that material.

So there is life in these creative bones after all. Will some (or any) of the stuff we write be available for reading by the general populace every month? I don’t know. Will we take criticisms from “the masses” and sculpt our writing accordingly? Got no idea. But we want to at least chronicle (to some degree) what we’re going through, so when we’re famous trillionaires (our debut novels each breaking record sales), we can print this blog out and sell it for even more money, because we’re greedy bastards at heart.

Enjoy the ride.

 

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i’ll be honest

i completely spaced on writing this story.

i’m currently in week two of three of running my office while my boss is away, and if you’ve ever been involved in working for the government, you can imagine all of the ridiculous stuff that goes along with it.

with that in mind, i managed to write entire stories in a few hours for the project last year.  i’m pretty sure i can figure out a topic and write this one in a weekend filled with not only work (yes, saturdays are work days too), but also celebrating my birthday and mother’s day.

awesome times.

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2013 in aaron's writing

 

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