Thing the first: A panel! On March 25, I’ll be participating in Storycrafting Sessions: Drafting, a free one-day virtual conference hosted by Weeknight Writers. I’ll be on the 5:30 p.m. EST panel, “Nailing the Ending: How To Write a Satisfying Story Conclusion.” There are some other great panels lined up as well, and did I mention registration is free?
Thing the second: A publication! Issue 6 of Weird Horror Magazine is out this month, and it includes my flash story “Dead Maiden Chic,” as well as some badass cover art, which Super Great insisted on showing off with the help of some friends:
Thing the third: A sale! My short story “The Girl Who Welcomed Death to Svalgearyen,” which was originally published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, will be appearing again in audio format thanks to the lovely folks at Cast of Wonders. Release date TBD. This story is close to my heart and, of all the stories I’ve written over the years, still one of my absolute favorites, so I’m happy to see it get more love.
Thing the fourth: All the novels! A few weeks ago I finished revisions on a fantasy novel that has now been tossed out to first readers so I can figure out what else needs tweaking. Tentatively titled Barren Water, it’s a bit of A Handmaid’s Tale blended with magic and an Old West-ish fantasy world. And now I’m outlining a horror/supernatural romance novel where an opera singer recovering from an onstage nervous breakdown takes a job housesitting an isolated beach home during the off season only to become entangled with a ghost and a cursed piano. This will be my first stab at a novel-length work set in the contemporary world rather than a secondary fantasy world, so all new challenges!
First, this Wednesday, December 7, I’ll be returning to The Story Hour, a weekly livestream of speculative fiction short story readings where I’ll be reading alongside author Rebecca Gomez Farrell. You can watch live via Zoom or Facebook (7pm Pacific Time, 10 pm for my fellow East Coasters), so hope to see you there! The reading will also be available to watch on Facebook afterwards.
Second, I’m thrilled to say that my horror story “Unraveling” is now out in Vastarien, vol. 5, issue 2! You can buy a copy of in print or electronic format from Grimscribe Press.
It’s been a hot minute (or year) since I’ve updated this thing.
(blows off the dust)
This is getting to be an unfortunate habit.
So what’s new?
On the fantasy end of the writer ‘verse, I’m very pleased to say that my story “A Conspiracy of Cartographers” is now up at GigaNotoSaurus! Opera composers! Magical maps! A title stolen from some Tom Stoppard dialogue!
And on the horror end of things, on October 8 I’ll be participating in Storycrafting Sessions: Horror, a free one-day virtual conference hosted by Weeknight Writers. I’ll be on the 2:30 p.m. EST panel, “Crossroad Blues: Exploring the Boundary Between Life and Death.”
Hopefully I will have more news and ramblings to come in the near future instead of disappearing again.
And that back burner novel idea I babbled about in my last post way back in February? It has been officially moved to the front burner since then. As in I am about 20,000 words into the novel now. After doing some research and preliminary worldbuilding, I decided to try out the Snowflake Method, which I’d read/heard a lot about but had never given it a whirl. Now I am why-wasn’t-I-doing-this-before levels of in love with it. It was fun! And I have an outline! There’s a plot! And I didn’t break my brain developing it!
I’m very happy to announce that my story “This Is the Way the Prayer Ends” is now up at Mysterion!
This story began life as a one-act play. I don’t remember the exact impetus for changing it to prose. It might have been me thinking about how the production costs to mount the play would likely be too prohibitive given its short length (short for a play, at least). It also might have been because I had recently tried the opposite approach—turning my short story “Ghost Writer to the Dead” into a play—and wanted to see what I could learn from going the other direction.
When I turned “Ghost Writer to the Dead” into a play, I couldn’t just strip the story down to the dialogue and call it a day. Stripping out a lot of the pretty prose was part of the process, yes,but doing that laid the dialogue bare and made me re-evaluate how well that dialogue was doing its job when separated from the narrative supports of a short story. I had to consider which story elements could or should be done differently to take advantage of the visual and aural elements of the theater. I had to consider which details were important to include in the scene description and stage directions while also leaving room for a director, cast, and crew to bring their own vision and interpretation to the script.
Going the opposite direction with “This is the Way the Prayer Ends” was a much different experience. Turning the script into prose was like working from a highly detailed outline—not something I do very often with short fiction. (Hi, my name is Barb, and I’m usually a pantser.) The bones were there; I just needed to flesh out the bits between the dialogue. Instead of leaving room for a play’s cast and crew to bring their respective takes to the table, I had to be the cast and crew. It was up to me to build the props and scenery with words instead of with wood and tools and paint. Lighting, sound effects, costumes—all up to me to detail on the page. It was up to me to make choices about how the characters spoke and moved, and how they felt and reacted at any given moment.
Both experiments were worthwhile, not only for the pieces that resulted, but because of the new perspective the process gave me on the two formats. It was a really hands-on way to discover which techniques work in both play and prose and where your approach as a writer needs to change.
I wrote only a small handful of short stories. More on that in a sec.
I sold some short stories, and I had some short stories published. Yay!
I finally finished the steampunk fantasy novel I began back in . . .
*falls out of chair again*
*decides to just stay here on the floor*
2015, huh? Well, there’s a reason it took so long, and that reason is short stories. They are fun and shiny and I kept getting distracted by them. But probably around the same time I fell off the blogging map, I decided to give the novel my full focus so I could actually finish the darn thing. The result: I actually finished the darn thing. Go figure.
Short stories did happen, but as a breather between novel drafts. And more are happening now that I’ve moved on to the oh-so-fun agent querying part of the novel process.
That brings us to the present. November 2020. Which is, um . . .
Yeah, I’m just going to leave it at writerly things for now or else I might lose my desire to resurrect this blog. Please scream inside your hearts.
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