The Midnight Road

My entry for “Jason’s contest”: is now “posted”: Go take a gander and lemme know what you think of it.

I must say that I love the 250-word limitation. It forces an economy of words to set up and provide a snapshot of a scene. But I think what is most enjoyable about writing it is the art of leaving it your readers to fill in the gaps from their own imaginations. As much information as I provide, I often aim to raise even more questions.

I’d be curious to know – after reading my story, what are some of the questions that the story raises in _your_ mind? Share them here; I’d love to hear them.

“Midnight Road” Short Fiction Contest

I’m late posting this announcement since I was out sick yesterday, but “Jason Evans”: has opened another writing contest called “Midnight Road”. It’s very much his recent “Two Lights”: contest except with a fresh photo. Go to his “contest rules”: page for more information, especially if you’re interested in submitting a piece to the contest. I know I’ll be writing mine tonight (Lord willing) and submitting it ASAP(as soon as possible). I highly encourage you to do the same. It’s a great opportunity to work on your writing, network a little with other writers, and possibly earn a prize. Does writing get any more fun than that?

Paths of Viewpoint

Interesting. Rob “pointed”: me at a link for a Christian philosophy “blog”: that endeavors to address some deep philsophical arguments coming out of at least one corner of the atheistic community. At this point I’ve read only the three entries at the top of the page, but in just the few moments in which I have done this, I’ve followed a link-path that has illuminated what is, to me, an intriguing juxtaposition of viewpoints and reactions.

1) Rob sees Steve as being full of himself. I see Steve simply as knowing what he believes so well that he is able to defend his beliefs very eloquently from a philosophical viewpoint.

2) Both Steve and John Loftus (whom Steve has been going head-to-head with lately) see each other as taking snippets of the others’ arguments and presenting them out of context and in so doing twisting the arguments to put words in each others’ mouths.

3) John has added an “entry”: to his “blog”: (shared with several other authors) ranting about how some people on the web are “poison[ing] the well.” I’m sure he had Steve in mind when he wrote that, particularly since John left a comment on his site today. What I find interesting is that John wrote that rant on his own site, then neglected to disallow the option for anyone to comment or leave feedback.

As I said, interesting. Both Steve and John just got added to my blogroll and daily reading list. I’ve always enjoyed good philosophical discussion and being prompted to think deeply on some of the weightier matters of life and faith. I think I’ll follow both these men for a little while and see what takes place in their discussions. Heck, I may even opt to contribute, and I’m sure there will probably be fodder for writing some things of my own here.

Bloggable Email

It’s kind of like a “Creative Commons”: for your email. You can add a single line to your email signatures, like such:

bq. This email is: [ ] bloggable [ x ] ask first [ ] private

and instantly inform your recipients about their permissions regarding the email’s content. I thought it was such a good idea, I took a few moments to update my Thunderbird client with the “multiple-signatures-per-account extension”: and three signatures – one for each iteration of the above line. Since I tend to blog periodically about various email discussions I have with friends, I plan to use this notice in my email and will encourage my friends to do the same.

Going Long

I have to admit – I’m somewhat nervous about attempting to write a longer story. Do I have what it takes? Can I develop both the plot and the characterizations properly to keep the story moving, to keep it interesting, to keep my readers engaged?

Flash fiction is easy. It’s merely the putting into words a particular scene in my head. Piece of cake. It’s the moving beyond that scene that unnerves me. What happens next? Where do my characters go from here? What do they say? How does everything end up? How do I tie this small scene to others floating around in my head to tell the bigger story? It’s one thing to tell a story in 1000 words or less. Quite another to push on to 3000 words, 5000 words, or – eek! – 30000 words.

Honestly, I don’t know if I’m up to the challenge. I hope I am; I want to be. It’s not like I don’t have a dozen different stories to tell. I just don’t know if I can tell them well – and I want to. I want to do them justice.

What I know is that I am going to try. So far, my writing has been compared to Nathaniel Hawthorne and an early Stephen King, so that gives me hope that I might be able to actually do this.

We’ll see. If I’m lucky, I’ll surprise myself.

Speculation on Horror

There was a period of time this morning where I actually almost felt bad about submitting my bit of “flash fiction”:, even though it obviously met “The Curveball Conspiracy’s”: criteria for publishing it. I think what kind of bugged me about it was that I ended up doubting myself, wondering if it really fell into the category of speculative fiction. Michael O’Mahoney’s ((The creator of the site.)) focus was to have authors submit stories that are a sidestep away from reality, and my story was certainly that – maybe even a bit more than just a simple sidestep.

The horror genre can be a fascinating one to write in. Not all speculative fiction is horror, and not all horror is speculative fiction. But when the story contains elements that cannot or do not occur in real life – like magic, mystical events, paranormal happenings, etc. – then it is probably safe to say that the story has, at the very least, stepped into the realm of speculative fiction. Of course, some horror probably only briefly visits before bounding away, but sometimes that’s all you need, that one little bit of the unexplainable, the one thing that allows the reader to suspend disbelief for just long enough, and then the story plunges on, leaving the reader gasping but hanging on for dear life to find out what happens next.

I don’t consider myself a horror writer ((I definitely consider myself more of a sci-fi/fantasy writer.)), but I have to admit that a lot of my writing touches on the dark with a high degree of regularity. Maybe I’m just more comfortable visualizing the fantastic than I am with visualizing the future. Or maybe the darker tales simply speak more persuasively to my imagination and preempt some of the other, non-horror story ideas I have. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.