New fiction up on Failbetter!

Given the generous support of editor Thom Didato and editorial staff at Failbetter, my very short micro-fiction work “Holocaust” is now live and available for your reading pleasure!

Please give the story some readerly love, by clicking the link:

It’s a funny thing about this work… I wrote it several years ago, and the piece was accepted over a year ago by Failbetter and is now getting some public sunlight.

It’s ironic to me because the entire story is about 200 words. But writers need to cultivate patience to get their works published, and I’m extremely pleased this piece is seeing the light of day.

A permanent link appears on my Published Stories page.


Stories Accepted for publication: Blink Ink!

I’m extremely pleased to announce that Doug Mathewson, Blink Ink editor has accepted a pair of micro-fiction pieces (Blink Ink publishes 50 word stories…) for the Spring 2012 issue.

Quick story on how my submission came about:

For the Right Hand Pointing “Cities” issue Dale Wisely (Right Hand Pointing editor) asked the writers to proof-read the issue prior to publication. It turns out Blink Ink editor Doug Mathewson and I both have pieces appearing in that issue coming any moment now in December. I hadn’t visited the Blink Ink site before, but Doug’s story in RHP made me curious.

I checked out the Blink Ink site and I was intrigued by the challenge of a 50 word story that was self-contained. I’ve learned that micro-fiction can be extremely challenging to write, but I enjoy it. My inspiration for the pair of pieces was familial in nature and highly personal, which resonated with Doug and for that I am grateful.

But you’ll have to wait until Spring 2012 to find out what I wrote! Of course I’ll publish a link to the stories here, along with a permanent link on the Published Stories page.

Story Accepted for Publication: Short, Fast and Deadly!

I’m very proud to announce Short, Fast and Deadly has accepted a piece titled White Meat for their January 2012 issue.  As usual, I will post a link on the blog once the story has been published.

Their January issue is themed, with all prose pieces taking their first four words from the first four words of a famous poem. (And all poems will take their first four words from a famous prose piece.)

I selected The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams as my inspiration. Here is the original poem by Williams, but you’ll have to wait until January to read my piece in S,F&D!


The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

We Don’t Need No Freaking Word Counts

I am riffing on Laney’s post from today which discusses writers who set word count goals to which my earnest reply was – no freakin’ way.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as obsessed with word counts as much as the next author, but I would just be signing up for masochistic self-torture if I assigned myself word counts each time I sat down to write.

My speculation is that word counts are more suited to novelists, newspaper columnists and freelancers than short story writers.  Novelists have a lot more words to write to “get to the end” than short story writers, and newspaper folk have deadlines to meet everyday.

I’d also include poets in with short story writers amongst the non-word-counting tribes.  A poet will only include the most absolutely necessary words and no more or less.  I would say that the very best short story writers should do the same thing.

Many of my short stories are flash fiction, which means they are less than 1000 words.  Some of my stories would even be considered micro-fiction, which are less than 500 words.  Flash fiction and micro-fiction are relative newcomers to the short story pantheon, but with today’s shorter-attention-span readers and the internet’s mouse-click hoverers, stories that can be quickly read in a sitting are easily consumed.

In terms of the process, I’d say that writing the 1000 words isn’t really so much the issue, or the speed at which I write that 1000 words.  It’s the amount of time I need to spend editing, re-writing, and obsessing over every word and phrase which takes most of my time when I am producing a story.

What’s your experience with Word Counts?