May 31, 2011

Research

Does anyone else do research for their fiction? And if so, how much?

I seem to do it an awfully lot and it ends up being both a blessing and a burden. I think the blessings are pretty obvious: flavor, historical facts, realism, a source of new ideas, and putting me in the right headspace. But it's so easy to get bogged down and allow your "research time" to turn into days wasted bouncing around the Internet. Once those days build up, for me as my worst critic and chief naysayer, they become a convenient excuse for not writing.

Or is it just me? If not, then how do you deal with it.

May 16, 2011

What I'm Working On

My entry for the Watery Grave Invitational.

Another sci-fi/noir mash-up set in the same world as "Six Bullets For John Carter." This one is called, "The Silence of Untranslated Stars." It's slow going.

A Western tale called, "The Plum Thicket." Really hoping David Cranmer will take a look at this one when I'm done. Dialogue feels off to me right now--trying to go from realism but not stray into Deadwood territory (you know, Shakespeare if he coined the word cocksucker)

And Shane Stevens edits. Endless Stevens edits. That's the thing that worries about someday doing this for a living and getting paid. I don't know how you could ever manage to look at your work when it's finally done and printed without wanting to put a pencil through your left eye....

May 9, 2011

Gun Mantra...


Shotgun Honey has been publishing some first-rate fiction since it burst onto the scene a couple of months ago. I'm honored to now have one of my own stories hosted there. "Gun Manta" is probably one of the quickest and easiest bits of fiction I've ever written; hopefully, it doesn't show. I have a love/hate relationship with flash. It's not my favorite format--at all. But I'm very proud of this story and I don't think it'll be the last appearance of the unnamed Inspector with the tattoo of Ganesha on his hand.

***

My Shane Stevens piece is undergoing edits and running into some hang-ups. As it stands now, the piece clocks in at 33k. Not exactly a size condusive to easy printing. With the extraordinary help of Matthew Funk, we've cut it done to a one issue version at just a little over 5K. It works (which I attribute to Funkster's skill), but it's fucking painful to look at. Really fucking painful. So, I'm not sure what the final form will be, but for those who are interested, I plan on keeping you posted. Meanwhile, my internal debate on whether or not to start a Shane Stevens Facebook group continues.

May 6, 2011

Tornado Relief Flash Fiction Challenge: Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

A week ago, Daniel O'Shea offered a flash fiction challenge. A 1,000 word story with rain playing a pivotal role in the narrative.

But there's more.

For every entry, O'Shea will donate $5 to The Red Cross. A Lincoln to help out those devasted by the recent tornados.

So, here's mine.

Smart Girl

You have to understand—she’s a smart girl.

She doesn’t see the boy she met yesterday, the first day it stopped raining. Unfortunately, enough daylight remained to steam the air to a sick swelter as college students swelled the streets. Nightfall, when it came, offered no relief from heat and eager crowds.

It was the first night she had really been out, but she didn’t make it long. It was too much—too loud, too packed, too hot, and too…gross. The few hours before she decided to walk back, she spent wondering why she bothered. Graduation was only months away. This money could’ve taken her to Europe.

When she left the bar, the boy fell in behind her, following her for five blocks in an uncomfortable coincidence of direction and pacing that seemed like stalking until he said, “I’m really not following you, I swear.” She looked back and he smiled. His front teeth were chipped and had never been fixed.

She liked that.

She thought he was cute, but not too pretty. Funny, but not too mean. Mostly, she liked the way he looked at her. Held her with his eyes—her, not just her tits. She loved the way he talked to her. He was the first guy that didn’t treat her like a carnival game—how many drinks will it take before her legs open! Come one, come all!

When he texted her twenty minutes ago, there was no question. Didn’t matter that it was raining again, that she thought she might be getting a summer cold, that the weather app on her phone kept beeping alerts.

She wanted a moment, an experience, something before life buried her under work and bills and distant unfriendly cities chosen for job rumors. She wanted to meet a boy before everything…settled. She wanted something she could hold inside for the rest of her life no matter how life went. A secret and private moment. A Nicholas Sparks’ moment of romance and longing and even heartbroken separation. She had thought college would give her that.

It hadn’t.

It and this were more Jersey Shore than Jane Eyre.

The wind picks up, wets her hair and whips it across her eyes. The temperature plummets and thunder rumbles, silencing the ocean’s cries as lighting furrows the sky. The rain hurts now. Thick drops that sting like plastic pellets shot by little brothers at big sisters. A chill runs up bare legs. Her feet are cold. She curls toes and presses polish into wet, spongy soles. She wonders if she should go back. She’s smarter than this.

She is, just not right now as she brushes damp hair from her mouth and thumbs her phone open to text, “wru@?”

A moment and then response. She wipes the screen clear and reads before it blurs: “undR lyfgard st8N.” She steps off the boardwalk and walks, head down, straight for the lifeguard shack and into the rain and the storm coming off the ocean.

Soaked and cold, she sits next to him in the damp sand. She touches his arm. His clothes are wet and thin. Her tummy feels warm. Her toes tingle as he looks at her and his eyes are night and darkness and storm. “It’s cold,” she says, not knowing what else to say and suddenly fearful she’s doing something silly with her mouth, she adds, too quickly, “Is this safe?”

“I think I did something wrong.”

“What?”

“I think I might have killed someone.” His words stab and confuse. She almost says what even though she heard him perfectly. She starts to feel sick and incredibly small and alone sitting next to him, under the lifeguard station and in the middle of a storm, but he says, “Earlier…” That one word, the way he pauses, licks his lips and swallows like there’s something there that doesn’t want to go down, stops her. Stills her thoughts.

He continues, “I was heading over to your motel. I didn’t know if you were home or would want to see me or anything. But I thought I would stop by and maybe take the chance because I wanted to see you again and I had been thinking about you all night and through most of the day. I would have dreamed about you, but I don’t dream. At least I don’t remember them if I do, but if I did I think I would have dreamt you.”

What he said a few seconds ago—I think I might have killed someone—is gone.

“I was walking that way to your place. I saw them. A guy and a girl. Chick was trashed. Already. This early and she’s plowed. Couldn’t stand. Head rolling. Eyes glazed. Dude holding her, man…I could see he didn’t fucking know her. You know when it’s someone you know, you hold them differently.”

“Totally,” she says and in her head it comes out, kiss me.

“So, I said something to him, right. Cause as I’m walking by I could have swore he said something awful about her. I…don’t really know what happened from there. It was all just so fast. He said something to me. Go fuck myself or something. And I said something back. I hit him. I think—I think he fell and hit his head. Hard. There was a lot of blood.”

“Where.”

“Over there.” He points through the cross-hatching of beams and it’s nothing but black wind and cold rain. “I don’t know what to do,” he tells her.

She looks into his eyes and then kisses him. He lips are soft and wet.

“I don’t know what to do,” he says again when she stops.

 “The ocean is right there.” A rope of saliva stretches between their lips like a spider’s web.
“Okay,” he says.

She kisses him again before they climb from under the shack and into the storm, because things like this? They don’t have anything to do with smarts.




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...