Spilled Water on My Laptop

This is the first time I have ever spilled water or liquid on a computer. Only a bit of water got in, but it was enough to make it start acting funny. My husband was asleep and I had to wake him up at 2 AM to help me :$ I’m pretty useless when it comes to technology. The scary part is that my data is not backed up :/ When we took the back off it didn’t seem wet inside. Letting it dry for at least 24 hours. So anxious right now!

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I Survived My First Round at Critique Circle

I’ve only been on Critique Circle for a few days, so perhaps this assessment is premature.  I really love it because there are many intelligent and talented authors on the site.  One of the unique things about this site is that you can’t view any critiques for a story until you give one.  This prevents previous reviewers from influencing subsequent ones. Believe it or not, that can make a huge difference.  Also, when I hear the same comment more than once, I know that it’s likely a problem because these reviewers are reading my story without a bias.   I think that was part of the problem on the other literary critique site. . .  In the beginning several different people commented on my stories.  But then this guy came in on every one of my stories and told me I was doing everything wrong.  I think people were scared to comment after him.

At Critique Circle you start as a newbie.  Your story spends one week in the story queue or gets pulled off after 6 reviews (review max only has a limit in the Newbie queue), whichever comes first.  My flash fiction piece about the mother donating her son’s heart got 7 critiques in less than 24 hours XD  A huge part of that is because of the credit system.  You need credits to post a story, and the only way to get them is through critiquing other stories.  You get 1 credit for any story between 300-3000 words.  My story was around 500 words, so that’s part of the reason so many people critiqued it.  If you post something longer, like 5,000 words, you won’t get as many reviews.  That doesn’t mean the story is bad.  It’s just easier to critique a shorter one.

As far as the critique goes, it was very good.  None of them were negative.  They were honest, but not demeaning or mean.  Nobody told me I was a horrible writer or that I should read a book on how to write fiction.  I wouldn’t go there if you are self-conscious though because it can be hard to take.  I mean they rip your story apart, but that’s why you’re there XD  If I didn’t want to publish my stories I think I wouldn’t do it, but since I do, I’m grateful for the help.  I had a problem with fanfiction that if I was honest people would explode.  I’d say 10% of the reviews I gave had someone exploding on me, even though I tried my best to give sugar-coated concrit, so I eventually stopped reviewing.  I certainly wasn’t trying to hurt anyone.  Many people ask for concrit, but they don’t really want it.  On Critique Circle they do XD  Everyone is nice and most people thank you for it. I thanked all seven people that reviewed my story as well. I think constructive criticism is not about what you say but about how you say it.

I mentioned this before, but I’ll mention it again.  This site is password protected meaning you can’t see the stories unless you have a user ID and password.  So it prevents the internet from caching your story.  It’s not considered the same thing as online publishing, at least that was my understanding.  Again, here’s the link: http://www.critiquecircle.com/

In other news, I think I have convinced two of my friends to write original fiction with me XD  They were both previously fanfiction writers, but want to try something new 🙂

Does anyone else have a favorite critique site?  I tried two, and this is my favorite so far!

Trying Too Hard

So this is a complicated issue I have with writing.  When I was reading over the literary journals, one of them specified to use your own words, and resist the temptation to write how you think you should write.  I knew what they meant since I’ve been in fanfiction for five years.  I’ve seen a lot of awkward prose, mine included.  I don’t think anyone can just wake up one day and start writing beautiful prose.  It’s really difficult.  But I’ve been doing it for so long now that the prose I use comes naturally.  Well, somewhat naturally XD

Anyway, I shared my 2 short stories with quite a few people on literary critique sites, Fictionpress, and my blog.  I revised it with their critiques in mind.  I tried to please everyone, and in the process my story suffered.  I’ll give you a specific example.  One commentator on this critique site kept telling everyone that they needed to include a time, place, and character details in the beginning of the story or else the reader couldn’t connect with the character.  So I did that, and then I got critiqued from another person for “telling” and not “showing.”  The problem is that there’s no way to insert that info without “telling” the reader.  I had another recommendation to use shorter sentences because people don’t have enough of an attention span to read long sentences.  Some of my long sentences are awkward, but other ones are just fine.  To be fair, they were all nice about it, and they were trying to help me.  It takes a lot of effort to give detailed critique, so I thanked them and told them I would think about it.

I showed everything to Friend A, and she told me I was trying to hard.  She was right, I was trying too hard, so the prose came out clunky and boring.  I spent longer editing my stories than I did writing them.  I agonized over every single word as I did the first revision.  I’ll show you the part I cut since I’m not going to ever use it.  This was part of the revised intro to the suicide story that I cut.  Also, I changed the protagonist’s name here just to be safe :$

“It’s a sweltering summer day, unusual for the town of Bellevue, a suburb of Seattle.  Nestled between two lakes, the climate is typically tempered by the large bodies of water.  While most people are outside soaking up the sun, John is upstairs in his room, sitting at his desk, writing a suicide note.  This afternoon his parents left to go to a party.  He declined.  Nothing makes him feel more alone than being surrounded by hordes of strangers.”

Granted, I don’t think it’s awful, but it’s not great either.   It sounds way too calm for such a chaotic moment.  If I didn’t include the words “suicide note,” one might think he was writing a letter to a friend.  So I tightened up the intro by removing superfluous statements, but I still have some phrases of “telling” because I like them.  I feel like I’m at an impasse.  I got very little critique on my fanfiction, especially once my beta reader and I parted ways.  There’s some truth in the things these people are saying about my original fiction, but I have to find a way to incorporate it into my writing while still making it mine.

I’m currently reading lots of short stories, and some of the short stories in The Paris Review (a prestigious literary magazine) actually have a lot of “telling,” much more than mine.  They are also entertaining and thought provoking.  That goes back to the whole “show” vs. “tell” argument.  I don’t think “telling” is inherently awful.  I think it can add a certain flair to your writing if you do it right.  M. Talmage Moorehead wrote a great blog post on the whole “Show” vs. “Tell” argument: My Show Don’t Tell Obsession  Many of the comments on this blog post present good points as well.

I’m not objective on my own writing, so it’s hard to know who to trust.  I don’t want to be the cocky author who thinks their writing is so great they don’t need to fix anything.  On the other hand, I don’t want to change my writing style so much that my stories aren’t even mine.  So as I’m reading these short stories I’m trying to analyze how they write to better understand what makes a good story.  In the meantime I’ll just try to stay true to myself rather than try to please everyone else.

Have any of you had a problem with trying to hard?  If so, did your writing suffer because of it?

 

 

List of Literary Magazines Accepting Blog-Published Fiction

Because I’m a newbie original fiction writer (been in fanfic for 5 years), I didn’t realize by publishing my short stories on the internet it’s much more difficult to get it published in a literary magazine.  I spent the past two days combing the internet for literary magazines that would accept blog-published stories.  I thought it would be easiest if I separate these journals by categories.   Also, since I primarily made this list for myself, it focuses on literary fiction but I included some sci-fi/fantasy which I will denote with ^^^.  Some of these also accept poetry, non-fiction, essays, genre fiction, etc.  Some accept anything.  Other want you to write stories with a specified theme.  You just have to read the guidelines carefully.

This is the source of where I found most of these literary magazines: Literary MagazinesTop 50 Literary MagazinesAbe Book’s Top Literary MagazinesEvery Writer’s Resource Top 10 Science Fiction Magazines.  Just as an FYI, most of the Top 50 want to acquire “First North American serial rights,” and specifically exclude any prior online publication.  This list is primarily composed of second or third tier literary magazines, but many of them are still very good.  I’d be thrilled to get published in anything XD  I will denote top tier prestigious literary magazines with ***.  This is somewhat subjective, but it shall suffice for the purpose of this blog post.  Also, many of these magazines are located in America, but they take submissions online and from all over the world.  Also, if I’ve made any mistakes please let me know.

Terms

1. “We acquire First North American serial rights.”  That means they do not accept previously published material because they are buying or taking the first publication rights.  Usually this means no prior publication, online or print.  Sometimes they don’t specifically state online publishing (like a personal blog) as an exclusionary condition, so I will leave that to your discretion.

2. Unsolicited material — Solicited material is writing that the literary magazine has commissioned or asked for from a writer they know.  Unsolicited is the opposite, meaning anyone can send something in.

3. Simultaneous Submissions — This refers to submissions to multiple literary magazines at once.  It can take weeks to months for a magazine to accept or reject your work, so if you submit to multiple magazines at once you increase your odds of acceptance.  But it becomes a tricky situation if you are accepted while others are still reviewing your work.  So the literary magazines that allow this want you to contact them ASAP if your story is accepted by another.

Acknowledges Blog-Published Stories are Okay But Not Previously Printed

Glimmer Train***

Apocrypha and Abstractions — I think it belongs in this category?

Communion Literary Magazine

Cleaver Magazine

Literary Juice

Acknowledges Blog-Published Stories are Okay And Previously Printed

Rosebud

The Sun Magazine — Pays half as much for previously published material

Sleet Magazine

THEMA

Does Not Specify and Does Not Mention First Northern American Serial Rights

Harpers Magazine***

The Yale Review***

Massachusetts Review***

Harvard Review***

Alaska Quarterly Review***

Analog Science Fiction and Fact^^^

Space and Time Magazine^^^

Challenger^^^

The Antioch Review***

Arcadia Magazine

Artichoke Haircut

The Atlas Review

Conjunctions

Meanjin

Arts and Letters

The Moth

Hotel Amerika

Ecotone Journal

The Literary Review

Gargoyle Magazine

Sewanee Review

Wilderness House Literary Review

Idaho Review

The Hudson Review***

Hermeneutic Chaos Journal

Hanging Loose Press

The Greensboro Review

Green Mountains Review

Fourteen Hills

The Florida Review

Fiddleblack — Unsolicited manuscripts considered only for electronic journal.

The Bitter Oleander

TSR South Hampton Review

The Masters Review

Meat for Tea

Michigan Quarterly Review

New Millennium Writings

The Newer York

Ninth Letter

Quiddity

St Petersburg Review

Salamander Magazine

Santa Clara Review

SNReview

Southern Humanities Review

Southern Indiana Review

Tampa Review

Conditional Acceptance if Blog-Published

Ampersand Review — Perhaps it’s not prestigious, but they have a great sense of humor and seem awesome :3

Four Chambers Press — Prefers unpublished work, but may take previously published work on a case by case basis.  E-mail to start conversation.

Bellevue Literary Review — Works published previously on personal blogs will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Vine Leaves Literary Journal — Gives preference to unpublished work, but accepts published work if disclosed with submission.

Talking Writing

Mentions First Northern American Serial Rights but Doesn’t Specifically Exclude Prior Blog Publication — Up To Your Discretion

Zoetrope

Crazy Horse

 

 

Writing Newbie Mistake

So I’m an idiot.  Apparently publishing the entirety of a short story on your blog or Fictionpress is considered prior publishing.  I found a few that didn’t mind it, but most do.  It makes sense.  What’s the appeal of putting a story in a magazine if it’s out floating on the internet for free.  So I went back and deleted them off of Fictionpress, and will be making them private on my blog.  I can repost them again a certain time after publication, assuming they get published.  Ugh, I feel sick to my stomach and like an idiot 😦  I googled excerpts of my stories and now they are only showing up on this blog.  With novels you can post excerpts as long as it’s not the whole thing.  But novels often change significantly from the first draft.

So I have found a few publications (including a few notable ones like Glimmer Train) that say it’s okay to send in previously published works or don’t specify.  Most of the prestigious publications want first publication rights though.

Blogger Awards


I was nominated for two awards last week :$  I was nominated for the “One Lovely Blog Award” by the lovely KyrosMagica and OutOfTheWishingWell

lovely-blog-award-1

I was nominated for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award” by Sabrina over at BooksAndBark

wpid-very-inspiring-blogger-award (1)

 

These ladies are all amazing bloggers as well as being intelligent and very sweet :3  Thank you so much ^^

The Rules (Some of them had this and others didn’t so the rules are pretty fluid.)

  1. Thank and link the amazing person(s) who nominated you.
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Share seven facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.

7 Random Facts About Me

1.  My favorite movie growing up was, The Last Unicorn.  If you haven’t seen the movie (because you weren’t an 80s kid) or read the book, I would recommend it.  It’s really sad though.  Well, it has one of those bittersweet endings.  I still get choked up watching the movie as an adult ;__;  It’s surprisingly deep for a children’s movie, but I don’t think that was the intended audience for the book.  It was also animated by a Japanese company so the characters look a bit like anime.

the-last-unicorn

Picture from the movie, The Last Unicorn

2.  I’m really tall for a female, 6’0″.  It comes from my mother’s side as she is 5’10” and my little sister is 5’9″.  I hated being tall growing up because it made me different.  I remember my mom told me about an experimental surgery where they could shorten my legs.  I dreamed of that as a kid and begged my mom for it, but she refused to seriously consider the idea.  It was around 18 that I realized being really tall was a cool thing.  I like being tall now, but it’s not something I give much thought to.  I get lots of random comments from strangers about it, which is often awkward XD

3.  My hair is really long, down to my butt.  I didn’t actually have hair this long until five years ago when my health deteriorated.  I shut down, and I barely went out of the house due to pain.  I think I went two years without a trim XD  Now I get it trimmed every six months but it is still crazy long.  I’m going to cut it before my sister’s wedding and donate it to Pantene’s charity.  As a little girl I wanted long princess hair but my mom said I couldn’t because our family had poor quality hair.  Well, apparently she was wrong XD  I also have a chunk of my scalp that is much lighter than the rest, resulting in a patch of golden blonde hair while the rest is dark blonde.

hair5

 

4.  I love Heinz ketchup.  When I went over to Japan at 18 years old I brought a bottle of it with me, no joke.  They have ketchup in Japan, but it’s not Heinz.  Now my husband’s family thinks all Americans are obsessed with Heinz ketchup XD

5.  I’m an introvert with strangers and an extrovert with people I know.  As a kid my teachers all complained to my mother about how I needed to come out of my shell, and she always reminded them that I was a human not a turtle.  My closest friends are introverts through and through.  I tend to talk enough for both of us XD  On the internet I think I come off as an extrovert.  I’m not really sure how that works because I’m really shy with strangers and have mild social anxiety.

6.  When I was 15 my biggest crush was on Zidane from the video game Final Fantasy VII.  I remember bringing a picture of him to show my friends, and their response was unanimously, “He has a tail!”  So, why does that matter? XD

Zidane1

Photo from Final Fantasy IX by Square Enix

7.  During a sleepover at my best friend’s house, we watched the movie, The Brave Little Toaster.  When it got to the junkyard scene I lost it and got hysterical.  I was six years old at the time and my little heart bled for those poor cars as they were about to meet their doom.  My friend’s mom could not calm me down, and she had to call my mother to take me home.  I have never been able to re-watch The Brave Little Toaster.

Toaster

Junkyard Scene from The Brave Little Toaster

Nominations

So this was more difficult because I wanted to nominate those that nominated me XD  No rule saying I can’t, but since they just did this, I’m not sure they’d want to do it again so soon :$  I tried to nominate people that hadn’t been nominated recently, but that’s hard to do when you’re a new blogger.  In no particular order.

1. Megan @ The War In My Brain — She is such a lovely blogger and she’s so sweet :3  I always enjoy reading her posts, whether it’s about her life, struggles with OCD, crocheting, her kitty, etc.

2. Floresypaz @ Silent Spells — I love her writing because it’s introspective and beautiful.  Some of her pieces are like abstract art, and every time you experience it you discover something new.  She’s also been very sweet and left me some encouraging comments 🙂

3. Ambivalence Girl @ AmbivalenceGirl — Everyone’s struggle with anorexia is different.  In many ways it’s like cancer, some forms are more aggressive than others.  I admire how hard she fights against it on a daily basis.

4. Juicy @ JuicyBlockSack — She is one of my hip friends, and there aren’t that many of us on WordPress XD  But she is a definite inspiration.  It’s very emotional when you go from being a normal adult to being crippled by pain within days.  She had to give up her dreams of professional snowboarding due to hip dysplasia.  What I love about her is that she keeps fighting, and she’s managed to find meaning in such a difficult hardship.

5. Erik @ Erik Conover — He has ambitious dreams of being an actor.  Much of what we see is the fame and the fortune, but acting takes a lot of work, and trying to make it is very tough.  I admire the courage it took for him to pursue such a noble dream.  I think we should all live our lives so that we have no regrets.  And he’s a really nice guy too 🙂

6. Dysfunctional Hips @ DysfunctionalHips — She is another one of my hip friends from Facebook like Juicer.  Her hip story is complicated like mine.  Part of the issue may be that she also has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome like me.  Nothing is every simple when you have EDS.  But she is so sweet and keeps fighting.  She keeps up a brave face for her kids.  It’s very difficult when the doctors aren’t sure what to do with you and you are left in limbo for a long time.  These hip problems couldn’t happen to nicer people 😦

7. Better Not Broken @ BetterNotBroken — She had a physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive husband, and was strong enough to get away.  She has been kind enough to share the wisdom she learned in the process.  Her posts are very informative, but also entertaining, and she has a great sense of humor.  I think her blog is very helpful if you have or know someone in an abusive relationship.

8. Krystol @ WritingsByKrystol — I love her determination, something that you need to break into the writing market.  It’s discouraging to get rejections, but I admire her passion to follow her dreams.  I believe she has self-published, but is currently looking for an agent as well.

9. Janna @ JannaTWrites — This woman is a master of flash fiction!  Along with many of her followers, I really enjoy reading her pieces.  She has beautiful prose as well and has mastered the art of short stories.  She’s also incredibly sweet :3

10. JSevick @ JSevick — Another writer that blogs about her thoughts and posts helpful tips she has learned along the way.  Her posts are often thought provoking, and she brings up issues I haven’t thought of before.

11. Dr. Sylvester @ DrSylvesterFiction — He’s writing a really cool fantasy story, and he shares his writing tips.  He’s also very nice and a cool person 🙂

12. Jodie @ Jodiellewellyn — She’s so popular I feel kind of silly nominating her.  I’m sure she’s gotten tons of these awards, lol.  I really enjoy her posts as they are both entertaining and informative.

13. Storiform @ Storiform — He’s a writer, and a very intelligent one at that.  His posts are always thought provoking.  And he quit his day job to follow his dreams, and I think there’s something very inspiring about that 🙂

14. Hailey @ PigsAndWriting — She touches on some very good points in her posts, such as mental illness and writing.  She is getting her M.F.A. in Creative Writing and teaches English to students at her university.  Her posts are always insightful and a pleasure to read.

15. Jay Dee @ ICanReadEncyclopedias — Another smart and entertaining blogger.  He covers a wide variety of writing topics that always make me think.  He’s also living in Japan, and blogs about his experience.  As an otaku married to a Japanese citizen, I find his posts about Japan informative and interesting.

Want More Conflict in Your Novel? Go DM & Balance the Party

This is such an amazing post about the different character types and how you an use it to your advantage. I had never given this much thought to the issue until I read this post.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 8.20.24 AM

Recently, I’ve added homeschooling The Spawn to the list of what I already do. Blog, write books, teach, run two small businesses and keeping a house clean, the yard mowed, and my family fed. As an introvert who works from home, it’s easy to realize you no longer leave the house and are talking to yourself way more than is healthy. Thus, I’ve been on a mission to break some patterns and do what might scare me (talking to other people in person).

Btw, writers don’t count.

Welcome to Nerd Land

In the spirit of this “Doing Stuff Differently” I joined some friends for a monthly game of Dungeons and Dragons, and took Hubby as a hostage teammate. I hadn’t played D&D since I was in high school so there is a learning curve. But one thing that struck me is how being an author had changed my perspective. The…

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