Calling all writers… and non-writers

Hello everyone! It has been a while since I’ve posted a blog. I think we can all agree, that life has a way of pulling you in all sorts of directions.

As I have been planning for two (yeah… I think I’m crazy) feature films, I thankfully haven’t neglected my fiction writing. Recently, I went through a transformation in terms of creativity, planning, content, and the act of DOING.

Basically what I’ve realized, is instead of working tirelessly on one full length novel, I am starting to craft existing stories I’ve written, as well as new stories, into short story, novellette, and novella lengths (I am leaning more towards the novellette and novella lengths- see the note below for word counts). When I am finished, it will be published on Amazon for Kindle.

I’m not sure if anyone else has felt this way, but I find completing an entire manuscript of 70,000 – 80,000 words occasionally daunting (Stephen King talks about a 3 month timeline for a first draft, but is that always viable?). I am technically close with a few writing projects, but it just never seems to get finished, as I am torn between life tasks (hello animals), reading, and filmmaking.

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This is me looking serious while holding my dog Caddy’s paw. In the lower right hand corner is Ulysses, by James Joyce. This was taken on Bloomsday.

Shorter stories will allow me to do the following: hyper focus on essentially one slice of the pie, hone my skills in a more economical way, craft stories around a genre/sub-genre that I feel passionately about (LGBTQ/YA/Romance), build a platform, and actually get something published out there for you all to read. The proof is in the results, right?

What’s your favorite short story, novellette, novella, and/or flash fiction? My absolute favorite novella is The Lover, by Marguerite Duras.

No, I am not going to abandon the full length novel. It is coming. For now, short stories are the way to go, at least for me.

What do you all think?

The link below will take you to inspiring site. Go ahead, click on it, read some posts, and then tell me what you think. Or better yet, do it yourself!

Is the novella (reading it electronically) the new wave of this age’s fiction? Could Finnegans Wake made as much of an impact as it did in 1939, if it were written today?

Oh, we all wish we could write Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.

http://annerallen.com/

 

NOTE ON WORD COUNTS:

short story: 1,000 – 7,500

novellette: 7,500 – 20,000

novella: 20,000 – 50,000

 

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Do words come easy?

Two days and three nights, reason screams from the tops of its lungs, is not a sufficient amount of time to deem two individuals fell in love. Perhaps, I muse with the most logical sincerity, it was a simple bout of lust, just as one comes down with a bout of coughing seemingly out of nowhere. The cough exudes a miserable eternity, making you scorn yourself when you took for granted the days you walked about your silly normal life without feeling the combustion burning from your throat, traveling up your esophagus, only to spit in an unnatural force out of your mouth. That unforgiving day it begins, but as quickly as it came, it is gone, and once it is gone, it is completely forgotten until the next fickle bout tickles your throat.

When she looks back – Excerpt

A fire romps within the dwellings of a kept creature, I, a lost girl influenced by the masses, a timeless roaring rage to keep purity alive all in the name of doing what is right. Life seems long when the years trickle into a puddle, merging with otherness into sameness. It’s the acceptance of hiding which makes life normal. Sameness, hiding, long, acceptance.

I felt, I thought, I ceased. Time decayed after her.

The word lust is too sturdy and clear; whatever it was, it felt fragile and hazy in my bones and mind, as if for the past month I wandered lost in a foreign nightclub.

We are Emma Bovary

“At the bottom of her heart, however, she was waiting for something to happen. Like shipwrecked sailors, she turned despairing eyes upon the solitude of her life, seeking afar off some white sail in the mists of the horizon. She did not know what this chance would be, what wind would bring it her, towards what shore it would drive her, if it would be a shallop or a three-decker, laden with anguish or full of bliss to the portholes. But each morning, as she awoke, she hoped it would come that day; she listened to every sound, sprang up with a start, wondered that it did not come; then at sunset, always more saddened, she longed for the morrow.”

Madame Bovary: sexy, passionate tale of love affairs gone awry… or is it?

Gustave Flaubert’s perhaps most famous novel– and quite possibly the work he detested writing the most– is a paradox. Despite the French government convicting Flaubert of immorality regarding Bovary (Flaubert escaped such conviction in the mid 1850’s), this frustrating and brilliant novel is not centered on passion and sex. Scandalous? Yes, but in ways dependent on society in 1856, or society in 2018. In 1856, this novel was scandalous by the fact that a woman cheated on her husband multiple times sexually and emotionally. In 2018, this novel is scandalous by the way Flaubert calls out our human flaws.

Often before reading well-known literature, an opinion is formed before page one is turned. Before delving into this piece, mine was more of an expectation; that I would be transported to a world of rich parties, extravagant love affairs, and tantalizing climatic desire… think Anna Karenina. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Yes, there are parties, there are love affairs, and there is desire, but it is not what one would expect, which is one reason I find this novel brilliant and unique.

One side of the mirror displays Flaubert’s poetic care for Emma Bovary, primarily in a physical sense. When the other side of the mirror is flipped, a more clinical, cynical Flaubert emerges: He jabs at high society, drab husband Charles Bovary, the shallow lovers, and most often, his central character, Emma.

Externally, he explores and comments on human faults found in all, but particularly of this time period, the bourgeoisie, and the drudgery of like-mindedness. The core of the novel reveals a universal flaw found only in humans: the desire for something else than what is found in this very moment, and a desire for something more than the basic needs (see Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). This is why I chose the quote at the top from Madame Bovary… it sums up the existential crisis of Emma, her primary desire, and motivation for all of her actions and thoughts.

This story is the least romantic, perhaps because Flaubert had an aversion for clichés, which Emma is the epitome of a cliché. You will not read Fifty Shades of Grey plots or clichéd writing in this novel. Clichés, however, do not tag solely along with romances, passion, desire, and thoughtless writing; they are simply the outcome of similar thoughts.

Unless you have attained enlightenment– the peace of mind that this very moment is perfect and the way it should be and nothing more– you, me, and Flaubert are Emma.

“Madame Bovary, c’est moi.” –Gustave Flaubert

 

Oliver…

Who else blushes, smiles, and almost has to look away for Oliver’s glorious dance scene in Call Me by Your Name? But yet… don’t we all dance that way in our room blasting that one song?

Writing. Italy. Billowy. Swimming. Jogging. Shorts. Books. Love. Dance away Oliver and Elio.

Side note: who else absolutely loves this song and can’t help but think about The Wedding Singer?

Frank

Frank curled up beside the dismal tawny pellet dish so callously thrown in from star-days ago. The gangly worker’s tiny pimpled mouth morphed into something maniacal and creepy– a friendly grin, she surely thought– only when she convinced the sluggish bifocal donning fool who dragged his feet across shiny corporate laid tiles to buy on credit one more plastic toy mouse for his elder tabby Tim who sun bathed for a living (he hadn’t batted at a fake mouse in ages).

Otherwise, observed Frank, her floppy and dreary soul stunk more than his week old bedding. Had it been more than a week? He could not remember the individual star-days. She added gray layers to his detest for the Shadows.

Perhaps Layla left me for good. Frank fumed inside. Typical. 

Layla hadn’t been to work for a few passing tearful moons. He counted with the few straggling pellets left each time the flaming stars passed through the blackened sky: three. His trust in a Shadow (he deemed her as Layla, not Shadow) had always stood unsteady like a small boat forever stuck at the tempestuous sea. All he cognitively knew of was this place: lying in a tiny jailed enclosure, passing delirious fools picked and plucked for pleasure and commerce, being gawked at like a creature at a circus side show (LOOK ya’ll! A Textile from a textile mill a he-a he-a he), and counting too many passing burned out stars since the time of pup-hood.

And Layla.

He loved Layla. Still.

 

 

RS

 

At this time of day – the time of sunrise – a stirring and rustling, a slew of bright sounds and chatter, popped from the hay-filled floor.

“Hay – pellets – hay – pellets – hay – pellets,” peeped one little voice, waking the others.

Another voice, this one groggy and irritated, implored, “keep it down, will you?”

A third piped in, “I don’t hear the shadow yet.”

“Augh! Will you keep it down already? Tying to sleep here,” said the grumpy voice, quite noticeably laced with the loss of sweet slumber.

Just as the first inhaled, ready to exclaim its sheer hunger to the world and those who would listen willingly and unwillingly, vibrating and rumbling sounds boomed from the outside of the barn. To the inhabitants, they felt as though their bodies rocked and floated with the barn, as if cushioned on clouds during a thunderstorm. They remained in blissful ignorance of whatever foreign object hummed so intently through their bodies.

Their stomachs rumbled together in unison, coinciding with the ruckus. All the inhabitants of the barn were now surely awake.

“I dream of pellets and hay,” said the first voice, who was imagining at that moment the overt sweet taste of Timothy hay hitting its taste buds. A series of chutting sounds emerged like a simmering pot of water. The inhabitants, who were chatting all at once, were unable to contain their anticipation.

The vibrating and rumbling quit.

“Food!” Said a rather excited fourth voice. The inhabitants agreed by wheeking. The wheeking roused the still quiet air into a party of high-pitched ecstatic shrieking, sudden and powerful like a dormant volcano surprising nature with an eruption.