Tag Archives: Short story

Hamlet and Yoda Got it Right

The word aspiring is a load of crap. 

Ok, sure. The word holds the feelings of hope, determination, and perseverance, which is awesome. It is a great word. But in the context of which I’m talking about, it’s a waste of time.

For years I lived under the title of “Aspiring Writer”. I dreamt of the day when I would be able to tell people, “why yes! I am a writer!” I would then smile proudly, full of mirth and merriment. Yes, for years I looked forward to that day when I would able to shed “Aspiring” from my professional title. And then, one day, I realized something which became quite profound in my writer-y path.

I’m a writer. I write. Whether I’m published or not, whether I make a bazillion dollars or not, whether I rise to the lofty levels of the greatest literary minds or not, I sit down and make stuff up in story form. So, I don’t buy into the whole aspiring adjective thing. I have three stories published to date, and a Young Adult Mini-Series in the works, hoping to be finished sometime in the future (details to follow sometime).

So, if you’re like me, and like to make stuff up (or non-make stuff up), don’t aspire. You are “to be” and “not to be”. And please “do”, as their is no try.

Cheers.

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Readwave and Scribd: places for writers & readers

Quick and informative post about reader/writer sites:

Dr Suzanne Conboy-Hill - finding fiction

Readwave is a well-presented site for writers-looking-for-readers and readers looking for something bite-sized to read. Anyone can post a piece of flash (800 words – longer pieces have to be broken up) and your stats are clocked up next to each entry. While I’m not sure that a ‘read’ always means what it says, you do at least know someone looked and that your treasured bit of prose isn’t all on its lonesome any more. Upload is a simple copy/paste process with boxes for title and short description, and a place to put tags.

There is a limited range of images available as headers which are rather nice but for variety and relevance, you might want to source your own. Copyright-free of course, or keeping it in-house, something you chased up on Photoshop.

Scribd is an option for longer pieces which are uploaded as documents . If you want an…

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Introducing Prof. Dobbs’ Literary PRIMER for the Extraordinary!

‘Prīmər  New-England_Primer

noun.

1. A small introductory book on a subject.

2. A short informative piece of writing.

Welcome ladies and gentlemen! Salutations pupils and experts! My name is Stasey Norstrom and I am the Managing Editor for Professor Dobb’s Literary Primer For The Extraordinary. I have graciously accepted the task of tending to the professor’s ever-expanding library and sharing them in monthly installments. Each issue is dedicated to those new to these exciting realms and to those experts in the field looking to broaden their horizons and continue their education.

With each issue of what I commonly call Primer, you will find a wonderful collection of stories, essays, and reviews pertaining to the gritty and delicate world of Steampunk, as well as historical fiction and alternate historical fiction. You’ll find everything from sky pirates and debutantes to civil war automatons and roman pneumatics. It’s what I call science fiction of futures’ past.

Pull up a chair with your ladies’ group or sit back in your reading room with a snifter of brandy and enjoy our words of other-worldly wisdom.

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“Next”

English: Dead tree Deutsch: Abgestorbener Baum

English: Dead tree Deutsch: Abgestorbener Baum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Weathered hands take turns holding up her head and running though her hair, locking knuckles to keep from doing either. Shoulders sit too high, pressed against her head to keep it from crashing onto the counter. She barely stands, an uprooted tree with a too frail trunk struggling to keep her knobby limbs attached. Her blonde canopy is thin, withered and cracked with bleach. A growing nest of dark roots perch on top.

Another woman behind the counter smiles, patient, yin to frustrated yang. She has warm chocolate  eyes and cheeks creased with years of smile and laughter.

“Copay,” falls out of the dead tree’s mouth, consonants hard and cold. Weak fingers reach inside her purse and nerves take over. Contents fly like shrapnel: a cell phone snaps awake, a too-big keychain rattles the room awake. She socially attempts to ignore the two tampons and shoves everything back inside. She finds her prize and tosses it onto the counter.

“Here,” and her insurance card falls dead into the happy woman’s lap.

Welcome to the Waiting Room.

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Coulda Shoulda Woulda: Rethinking the Rewrite During the Write

Mobile phone

Mobile phone (Photo credit: Matthew Burpee)

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft.” – Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

I was right in the middle of working on my book when a notion popped into my head:

Wait a minute. Maybe if I move critical point #1 to physical location #3, then I could do away with physical location #2 which, while it could be great, may not be neccessary, so I could just pull the last 80 pages of the book and resctructure the book entirely. Granted that would kill months of work and possibly the outcome of the orignial intent of the book but would that help?

Back in the day, I would drive myself nuts trying to perfect each senctence I just wrote and then trying to perfect the sentence I was about to write. I convinced myself perfecting the prose would bypass the need for a rough-draft rewrite. Even though I embraced my love of perfectionism, I would talk to wife and complain that I had spent hours to only end up completing one paragraph on my book. After a while of me whining and complaining to my wife again, she would cut me off with, “just finish the damn book already! Quit worrying about every little detail and just write! Don’t even stop for typos. As a matter of fact, turn off the grammar and spell checker and just write. Get it all out and worry about all the commas and crap later.”

One of the main things that I love/hate about my wife is that she’s (always) right. It kind of drives me nuts some/all of the time, but in this particular situation I listened to her and have done my best to embrace completing what she, like Anne Lamott calls, the Shitty First Draft.

I’ve second quessed myself for most of my writing career with few exceptions, namely the projects that I’ve actually finished. Crazy that: I’ll finish a short story or a blog post. Then I’ll go back and read through it to make sure it’s, well…good. But one of the best parts of writing something is getting to the end and then spending a moment looking back at it and thinking, “holy crap. I just wrote [insert project]. Awesome.”

Earlier, I caught myself thinking about my Coulda Woulda Shoulda and stopped. I thought back to what my wife said. Here I actually considered tossing a huge chunk of my book and then spending a good chunk of my time rewriting another part of it. And the crazy thing is that it might have worked but on the other hand it might NOT have worked. I sure wouldn’t know if either direction would be best because I would still be clinging onto my perfectionism and not doing the one thing that I should have tatooed on my forehead:

Finish it.

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Promotional Herding

Yes, I still have a ways to go before I complete my novel and really shouldn’t worry about the Big Promotional Machine, but marketing and promoting thoughts still permeate the tangle of noodles that I try to pass off as my brain. I find the post-writing world just as fascinating as the writing world itself. I’ve been reading a wide variety of a blogs and keeping up with independent publishing websites. While working on this blog post, I remembered a concept which I think would be a great help in the realm of marketing and promoting your literary work.

I am a semi-retired comic book nerd. While I no longer participate in the reading of current comics, I have a tight and dedicated library of comics, both dramatic and comedic. But, back in the heyday of the late 90s, I was firmly entrenched of the Wednesday release date of the weekly comic book. And during the summer of 1997, I came across a promotional comic that tied-in with three independent comic book creators during convention season.

The Trilogy Tour.

I’ve found links from one of the creators of the Trilogy Tour, Jeff Smith. He and two other creators, Charles Vess and Linda Medley, pooled their resources and went on the road together to promote their books. They were like three one-act bands going on tour.

Pretty awesome if you ask me.

And not only were they one-acts, but they also backed each other up. Three soloists have an enhanced and different sound when they work together as duets or trios. And that’s pretty cool.

As they’re able to pool their money, they could make promotional items such as a comic that included one original story from each of them. Not only was this a great way to get their work out to the public, there was a demand from fans of their work who wanted to add to their collection. And yes, I was (still sort of in a semi-retired way) one of those fans. And they did this for two years. Not only was the first one successful, but the following year they added three more artists, turning the tour into a collaborative road show of different talents. What a great idea.

I immediately began thinking of doing that with writers. If given the chance, I would love to work alongside other writers and, while being our own solo act, promote our works as a collective, helping each other out. And maybe even put together a short book of original stories, one from each of us. Not only would our work get out into more hands, but the price of manufacturing and such would go down as would all share the burden of costs.

While I’m not near the point of promoting works, especially in person, I think it’s a great concept and one I felt like sharing. Perhaps in the next summer or two, I’d love to go on the road with other writers (including comic creators) to show the world, and one another, our passion for The Word.

Cheers.

-SJn

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Greetings!

Welcome to S.J. Norstrom’s blog! Here you will find everything related to my novels, short stories, and all things literary.

Please be sure to Follow my blog so you can receive up-to-minute posts about my work and other bits I want to pass on to you. In the coming days I will be posting some of my published short stories so be sure to come back.

And don’t forget to comment on my future posts. There’s nothing better than connecting directly with the fans and I look forward to it!

Cheers!

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