Posts Tagged ‘short story’

A few months ago, I submitted a short story to Glimmer Train for their “Family Issues” contest.  For this contest, I took an actual family event from my own life and I created fictional characters, changed a couple of things, and wrote a short story.  I never heard from Glimmer Train and I apparently did not win.  I was disappointed, of course, but rejection is part of the writing process.

I had my memoir writing group look at the story, but not before I had a chance to submit it to the contest.  They gave me great feedback.  They loved the dialogue, enjoyed the interaction between the two kids in the story, but they thought the emotion at the end of the story needed to have a bigger punch.  There were a couple of other comments, but pretty good feedback overall.

I then submitted it to the Arlington Writer’s Group.  I have been with AWG for a couple of  years now.  AWG is a very large writers group.  Almost 200 members, and we can get 30 people plus at any given meeting.  Receiving feedback can sometimes be overwhelming and the conversations can very easily veer off course.

We have worked very hard over the years too keep the feedback process focused and make sure people give a useful critique.  That can be a daunting task for whomever is leading the group when you have 30 or so people giving their opinions. 

I have to say, I’m very lucky with both of my writers groups.  Wonderfully thoughtful people in both groups.

So, last night I had my story critiqued by AWG.  I don’t want to describe it too much as I want to try to get te story published.  Basically, it is a story about one girl’s broken dreams.

Just like my other writers group, AWGers liked the dialogue, the interaction, between the sisters, and the story overall.  But they did pick out some major holes in my plot and made great suggestions.  I have a lot of work to do, but I think the story will be a lot better once I’m done. Then I can enter it into a couple more contests.

On another note, this is what my day has been like.  Everything I do seems to run into some kind of complication.  It’s really too bad too because I would have enjoyed discovering alternate uses for lederhosen while I wait for train schedules to appear on my screen.


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I have been doing a lot of writing recently, which is part of the reason I have not blogged quite as much.  I submitted a short story to the Washington Post Humor contest and I have written another short story.  I have also been working on my children’s novel.

One of my goals was to finish the first draft of my children’s novel before my surgery.  Well, the date for my surgery has now been set for September 26, 2012.  That is a tentative date pending final approval from the insurance company and pending the other stuff I need to get done before surgery (surgery related stuff…not writing goals).

I am mostly done with the first draft, which is good because I only have a month to get that done.  After surgery, I am going to do a complete read through and take notes.  Then the editing process will begin.  Once I’m recovered from surgery, I will be heading up to New Castle, PA to get pictures of the park I use in the novel.

I am excited about finishing the first draft.  It will be good to have that done.  It has been a bit more difficult to write than I thought it would.  Also, there were some changes from the original vision I had for the novel, but I think those ideas only made it better. 

Right now it’s crap and kind of all over the place.  But after I do the editing and more editing and even more editing, I’m sure it will be a little better.   🙂

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Late last week I made a promise to enter a short story contest on Glimmer Train.  I boasted that I planned on submitting three short stories.  I had planned to, but I only ended up submitting one.  

Two of the stories were perfect for this contest.  The topic was Family Matters, and all three stories had family members in it.  Truly, though, only two of the three stories were actually about families.  The third was something else entirely.  It is a good story, I think.  I just think that the third story can be more useful in other categories.  I do plan to use it though.

The other story I thought would be great for this contest needs a lot of work.  It is an older story that I have wanted to use for this contest for a long time. I started editing it a few months ago and then stopped.  I do not know why.  I went back to it to try to finish the edit last week and just could not pick up where I left off.  I will try to address the problems with this story before the next Family Matters contest in October, but maybe I will move on to other topics and never will.

One story did get submitted.  Glimmer Train will announce the results on June 30.  I will keep you posted.

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Just an update on a few things.  I had a great review from my writer’s group the other night.  Very useful feedback. Here is my favorite comment which falls in the category of anything-that-is-said-before-the-word-‘but’-doesn’t-count:

“Best ending to a short story ever. That said, however…”

It was all good.  I am going to make some changes to the story and try to get it published.  Maybe enter it into a contest.

I finally dowloaded season 2 of Downton Abby.  I’ve already watched 4 episodes and was up until 3am.  I also managed to get my sister hooked on the series.  She called me upset that she cannot watch season 2 yet.  So, I imagine she will be paying me a visit very soon.

That’s it for right now.  I have some writing I need to get done today. I had some great ideas on my youth novel this week and I want to get them down before too much time passes and I forget.

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So, tomorrow my writer’s group meets.  One of my short stories is up for review.  I’ve shared this story with a couple of friends, who told me they enjoyed it.  It’s supposed to be a funny story based on an unintentionally funny conversation that I had with my sister.  I have been told that the story is funny.

I have to admit that I am nervous.  The last time I wrote a story that was supposed to be funny, that my friends told me was funny nobody in my writer’s group thought it was funny.  They enjoyed the story, but they thought it was a drama.  I’m not sure I’ve completely recovered.

The conversation about the story was funny.  Let me explain.

The story was based on something that happened to my sister that was pretty hilarious.  She was doing routine maintenance on blood pressure equipment in the triage area of the ER when a woman, who was in the throws of labor pains, burst into the ER and gave birth in the triage area with my sister trapped in the corner.  She called me after and I couldn’t breathe I was laughing so hard.  I combined that event with another that I would take it over the top.  I have another friend who cannot stand needles or the sight of blood and passed out at the hospital one time when she visited a friend of hers who was in labor.

I thought combining the two events and having my main character faint in the triage area would be funny.  People had the opposite reaction and thought it was very serious.  Then the discussion took a strange turn with some of the men trying to tell me that this would never happen.  This is when things became really funny.

I was told husband and wives plan things out, go to the maternity ward and check into a nice comfy room.  Wait hours and hours, possibly even a day.  Or alternately, the woman plans a C section and goes to surgery.  Nonetheless, woman do not go to the emergency room to give birth.  At which point, all of the women cracked up and took a minute to disabuse them of this fantasy.

I haven’t returned to that story yet, but I do plan to.  And I would like to work on making it funny(er).  But tomorrow is not about this story.

Tomorrow is a new day with a new story.  It is less than 1000 words.  I am hoping to enter it into a contest soon.  *fingers crossed*

I will keep you posted.

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Every year my writer’s group begins the year by reviewing the writing goals each member set out for themselves the year before.  Then we each state new writing goals for this year.

Last year, my goals were to write more, submit more work to the group for review and enter more contests.  All of which I did.  And before you ask, no I did not win any of the contests I entered.

This year, my goals are slightly more specific.  One of my goals this year  is to blog at least twice a week.  Here it is, Saturday and I am already behind.  Not a great start I’ll admit, but the week’s not over yet.  My other goals are:

  • Finish the first draft of the middle-grade novel I’m writing.
  • Write more short stories.
  • Enter more contests.

I already have a short story done and ready to go.  Now, if I could only remember to upload it to my writer’s group website for review so that I could use it for a contest, I would be well on my way to starting some of my other goals!

I have a year of hard work ahead of me.  Wish me luck!

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