Clockwork, Curses, & Coal… Oh, my.

One of my goals for March is to finish and submit a story to Rhonda Parrish’s latest open call for submissions: an anthology of “punked-up fairytales” called Clockwork, Curses, and Coal: Steampunk and Gaslamp Fairytales.

Of course, first that means I have to, uh, come up with an idea for the story.

But I’m optimistic! Deadlines are good for me. Submissions are free. And I’ve really admired Parrish’s work (she edits a lot of cool anthologies!).

So I started googling “best fairytales” and other weird search terms, hoping the kernel of an idea would eventually pop into something interesting.

I bounced around a bit until finding this list of “10 Classic Victorian Fairy Tales Everyone Should Read,” which mostly just made me want to go read Victorian fairy tales and/or re-read Vanity Fair (yes, I am the obnoxious English major who actually loved Vanity Fair and read it more than once, on purpose, for fun).

So, now I’m off to go read “The King of the Golden River” and “The Selfish Giant” and “The Golden Key” and maaaaybe “The Rose and The Ring,” although it’s listed as a novel and I love you, Thackery, but it’s pretty unlikely that I’ll be able to read your fairy-tale novel and then also re-imagine it in steampunk before the end of the month.

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NYC Midnight!

This year I entered my first writing competition! I chose to jump into the NYC Midnight Short Story Competition 2020. I was super excited about it, partly because I thrive on external deadlines, but partly because it’s something I’ve never tried before. Read on for more about the competition and a link to my entry for Round 1!

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“The Engagement” (NYC Midnight Round 1, 2020)

This year, I participated in NYC Midnight’s Short Story Competition for the first time. Each writer is assigned a genre, character, and subject that should appear in the story; then, they have 8 days to write a short story that’s under 2500 words. Everybody gets feedback; the top five writers in each heat move on to the next round, which is shorter and has a shorter word limit.

Hopefully I’ll be participating in subsequent rounds as well – but for the first round in January, I was assigned to write a comedy featuring customer service and a wedding planner, and if you’d like to read it, here it is. 🙂

The Engagement

Madi plays along with a fake engagement to help out a friend, but isn’t expecting the real connection she finds.

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#etcw branded swag (bag, sticky notes, travel mug, t-shirt, notebook, writing utensils)

#ECTW2019 (Day 2)

Today I learned that I’m still capable of waking up, rolling out of bed, and getting out of the dorms in about 10 minutes. (I feel a little groggier than I remember feeling in college, but that’s probably because it’s fifteen years and two kids later.)

After spending some of yesterday’s writing time writing that last post, and the rest of it fighting updating WordPress and then fighting with that and Twitter about a Twitter widget, and then giving up on the Twitter widget and nuking it in favor of a link to my Twitter page (FANCY), about all I had energy for was to stuff myself full of dinner and go do some arts and crafts in the dorm lobby. So, uh. Not a lot of writing got done.

But look at these pretty alcohol-ink washers I made!

This morning I woke up to the calendar reminder that my pages are due today for IndyScribes (ten pages due, and I have written… none, whoops).

Luckily I’m in a writing workshop for most of the day! So I’ll get started on that… any minute now… I’m sure…

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#ETCW2019 (Day 1)

So, it’s July, and I have the great pleasure of being (for the third time) at the Extending Teacher Creativity Workshop at Indiana State University in Terre Haute for the next three days!

One of the many benefits of winning a Lily Teacher Creativity Fellowship (besides the humungous grant – $10k when I won in 2015, and $14k now) is an annual invitation to what I think of as Teacher Camp – previous recipients gather in the ISU student union to do one Workshop and one Mini-Workshop, and they feed us generously and gift us lavishly and try to freeze us to death (whoops, no, that’s just the a/c).

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hey look I have a blog

So, I haven’t updated in like a year and a half… I blame that on this dude:

Kid #2, offering you tea from his plastic tea set

He’s one. So… I suspect that explains it.

Tonight I spent some time updating my bio photo (hmm, my hair is now… eight inches longer and much more purple?) and cleaning up odds and ends, but I’m really hoping to update more regularly (uh, what else is new?!?). I definitely have some “Lessons from the Classics” posts in mind, since I got to teach AP Literature & Composition for the first time, and because I reworked my Creative Writing class a bit. Next year I’ll be teaching a one-semester Poetry elective for the first time (!!!) so I’m excited to dig into that genre more (I am not often an inspired poet, but I am a competent one, and I’m open to improvement, so…).

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Eurydice

Last week in English 10 we did an experimental project that turned out really neat, so I’m going to brag about it here!

We’ve been reading selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses using some lesson plans from EDSITEment! to build from. For this plan, we compared and contrasted three versions of the Orpheus & Eurydice myth: one from NewsELA, A. S. Kline’s translation of Ovid’s version, and the poem “Eurydice” by H.D.   At first I wasn’t very excited about HD’s, but as often happens when I analyze a piece of modern poetry, I started to like it more and more each time I read it, and by the time I taught it to the students, I was envisioning a really cool art project to engage them in the poem.  Continue reading Eurydice

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NaNoNaNoNaNoNaNo NaNoNaNoNaNoNaNo… BAT-MAAAAN

 

Wait, no. Not Batman. NaNoWriMo!

This month for NaNoWriMo, I’m shooting for One Writerly Thing every day.

Yesterday, I beta-read a short story for my Indyscribes pal Stephanie Cain, which was great fun (as always). It’s part of her Circle City Magic universe.

Today, I did some poking around and thinking about a call for submissions from Rhonda Parrish for an upcoming anthology called “Grimm, Grit, & Gasoline.”   From the description:  Continue reading NaNoNaNoNaNoNaNo NaNoNaNoNaNoNaNo… BAT-MAAAAN

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Cover Reveal: THE WEATHER WAR, by Stephanie A. Cain

It’s great having friends who are into the same hobby, isn’t it? Especially when they’re awesome at it. I’m lucky enough to have an awesome critique group, the IndyScribes, and I’m delighted to get to be part of IndyScribe Stephanie Cain‘s cover reveal party for her newest novel, The Weather War!

Continue reading Cover Reveal: THE WEATHER WAR, by Stephanie A. Cain

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The Unstickening, Part II

So, a big part of my being-stuck problem on the RSWIP (Romantic Suspense Work In Progress) was not really having an antagonist, which meant my characters were just wandering around bickering for no reason without any escalation of stakes. They had lots of problems, of course, just not the kind of antagonist-driven conflict that makes things, you know… interesting.

I found that it helped to do some outlining – but it also clarified that my lack of antagonist clarity was a big problem. So I did it again!

I treated the antagonist as if she were the protagonist (don’t most antags think they’re the protag anyway?) and went through the same steps.

This was really helpful at showing me where my antagonist was doing things that made sense for her (Act I) and where she wasn’t (uh…. Acts II and III), and helped me think about whether my antagonist WAS my antagonist, or whether she was a minion (still not 100% sure, even though I’m calling her my antag now).

I’m not sure I have many answers, but I think at least now I know the right questions to ask next time my writing partner and I get together.

I’m also a little bit tempted to give my antag a POV – or to write it as a website bonus – like Jenny Crusie did with the Antagonist Monologues on her blog – but for now, I’m going to try to focus on just getting clues about the antag dropped in the MC’s POV pages.

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