Tag Archives: Stories

Story Origins: Dove Without Wings

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The conception of “Dove Without Wings,” my story in No More Heroes, actually had very little to do with me. It was the most ‘targeted’ story I’ve ever written, and by that, I mean that if I hadn’t earned a place in the anthology, there was literally nothing I could have done with the piece. I don’t normally take risks like that, but this project felt so unique and I was desperate to be part of it.

If you aren’t familiar with the concept behind No More Heroes, here’s the scoop. It exists in a world populated with an original cast of superheroes and villains. Prior to the book’s opening, a great ‘Endgame-style’ battle occurs, and the victors were… the villains! Omggg plot twist, yeah? So, the big question is: What do villains do when they have no more heroes to fight? Enter a fleet of authors (including yours truly) endeavoring to answer that question.

It’s a neat idea, and the neatness is compounded by the fact that all of the authors are essentially working with the same set of characters. When submissions opened, the editors posted a list of all characters and their personalities and superpowers, and then once they chose the stories they liked best, we were asked to edit them so that the characters showed continuity from one book to another.

So, you can see why I absolutely HAD to be part of this. It was honestly one of my more challenging projects – not just because the stakes were so high, but because I had to work with other people’s creations. I’d never done that before, or since, and it was terrifying to think that I didn’t have authority to shape them myself.

We were allowed to bring in our own original characters, as long as they weren’t part of the ‘villain club.’ So, I figured I would need someone really dynamic to properly anchor me into this story, and *cue fanfare* Zen arrived. I love working with this guy a lot. Even though he only exists in one short story, he shows up in my blog posts all the time. (Seriously, all the time! Check out some of his other posts here.)

He’s a math professor, and I definitely have an obsession with math, so that’s part of it. But also, I love his mix of ‘Everything is pointless, why bother,’ and ‘Let’s get this s*** handled.’ He’s gloomy, but perceptive. Curious, but bored. Stubborn, but resigned.

Once I had him as a main character, the story itself fell into place pretty easily. (Or at least, I had the outline. Actually drafting it was quite difficult for me. Remember, I’d never worked with borrowed characters, so it felt weird.) But after it was finished, this story represented so much of what really set my soul on fire: Villains, Math, Goodies and baddies striking a temporary truce, Little sentimental nuggets in the midst of tension, Plot twists… It was simply a delight to work on.

Even though the story can never be reprinted, and it can only exist within the context of this one specific anthology, I consider it an important part of my collection, and I’m glad I took the risk. It was worth it. If you’re interested in the anthology, you can find it here on Amazon, or I always have copies at my table if we have the good fortune to be at a convention together.

Book Review: “From a Foreign Shore” by Andrew Knighton

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This post discusses “From a Foreign Shore” by Andrew Knighton. 
I did my best to keep it spoiler-free 🙂

 

“What if someone had conquered the Vikings, someone claiming to be their gods?

What if King Arthur’s knights met a very different metal-clad warrior?

What if you were ordered to execute a statue, and hanging just didn’t seem to work?”

– taken from Andrew Knighton’s blog


Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? I certainly thought so! I’m not really an impulse buyer, but after a couple weeks went by and I still felt curious by those story pitches, I figured it was time to buy the collection and ended up enjoying them immensely. So, here’s just a bit of me gushing / boosting the signal about “From a Foreign Shore” by Andrew Knighton.

from-a-foreign-shore-high-resolution  Read the rest of this entry

Microfiction

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This post discusses my story Tasty Tiny Magic
No Spoilers

Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing quite so satisfying as getting lost in hundreds of thousands of words in an epic novel. That being said, over the last few years, I’ve really fallen in love with microfiction as well. Not just short stories or flash fiction: I’m talking about the stories that are a couple hundred words at the most.

 

I try wielding my pen against the challenge of microfiction from time to time, and occasionally I’m happy with the results. It’s hard! Honestly. It’s a rough assignment, and making a periodic attempt at the craft just makes me enjoy pieces I read so much more.

 

To date, the shortest piece I’ve published has been Tasty Tiny Magic, at 243 words. Originally, I thought this piece would be much longer, but sometimes that’s just not a decision the author gets to make. Of course I tried to bulk it up and make it sit in a much larger space than it needed, but within that space the very small story looked out at me and said “When you’re done being silly, please trim me down again.”

 

Microfiction is getting easier to find, and this development in the publishing world makes me do a little happy dance. (Go ahead an imagine my happy dance. Then take whatever you’re imagining my dance skills to be and decrease them by half. And then by half again. And probably a third time.)

 

But while my dancing ability is lacking, my emotions are genuine. I love very short fiction. Some of them are so unbearably clever. Like this one for example: Splat by Richard J Dowling. Just Brilliant! It took sixty seconds to read, and gave me smiles for months.

 

 

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If anyone has any microfiction out there (either your own, or others’) feel free to promote it below! I’m feeling rather flighty at the moment, so I’m particularly in the mood to read more nibble-sized stories.

 

 

Character Focus: Samantha

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This post features Samantha from Waiting Room
Warning: Spoilers!

Here’s another of my Character Surveys 🙂 (The first was Trevor’s a few weeks ago.) Samantha was just so much fun to work with. Even though I finished her story a long time ago, I end up thinking about her every time I go to the doctor’s, and I remember, “Aw, yeah… Samantha… You were weird and I miss you.”

SAMANTHA

 

  • Gender: Female
  • Age: 27
  • Hair Color: Brown
  • Eye Color: Dark Brown
  • Hair Style: Long, worn many different ways depending on her persona of the day
  • Body Type: Slightly taller than average, curvy
  • Favorite color: Burgundy
  • Typical Outfit: Haha… there definitely isn’t one…   

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Where I thought of “Waiting Room.” (Hint, it’s not the obvious answer…)

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This post discusses my story Waiting Room.
Published by Every Day Fiction
No Spoilers

There I sat in the hospital waiting room, numb with tedium and nerves, when my very writerly brain decided I could turn this situation into a darned good story…

Okay. As much as I wish I could say the above, it didn’t happen that way. I actually first considered this idea in a writing class at Hollins. We were studying setting, and were tasked with describing a place with a specific personality. As I was jotting down minute details about a hospital waiting room, I found myself caring less about the room itself and more about the sort of person who might notice these things in such a place.

That’s where I met Samantha. Read the rest of this entry

Greetings, Internet!

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Many years ago, I asked myself the question “When does an author become author-ly enough to have a blog about being an author?” I had just taken my first toddling steps into the world of publishing, and suddenly the Olivia of 2007 decided it was necessary to plan out the rest of her career as a writer in one afternoon.

Once I have a book published I’ll start a blog.

That was my initial rule, for no other reason than it seemed a blessedly definable line in the sand. Time passed, and I learned more about the blogging world, and my rule changed. Read the rest of this entry