genres memories reading short works

Brief Flashes & Promising Second Looks

paul-hornschemeierImage by life serial via Flickr
Over the weekend, I’ve spent a lot of time catching up on magazines (both consumer and literary) and refreshing my memory with my short stories. Most of them I had drafted back in 2008; most of them are rather short, under 500 words. It’s sobering and also enlightening to look back on what I wrote even just two years ago–the scenery around me may change, but these words have stayed static, capturing my thoughts from that period of time.

Some things I noticed from reading my drafts has been the common thread of dark themes. I consciously know that, for myself, I do not want to be marginalized with writing something fluffy and light. Oh sure, I do like reading the occasional chick lit book; but for me to write a story in that genre? I can’t see myself doing it without laughing at myself. Plus, I feel like the “plight of the woman” is all too overplayed these days.

I can also see how, when I asked my sister and a few colleagues to critique one of my stories last month, that I do have a tendency to “tell too much and not show enough”. I know I ramble when I am writing creatively, even in blogs; the irony is that I have a business background from school, so you’d think I’d learned about keeping things short and simple.

Anyway, I found a few promising drafts to polish up for submissions, but I continue to find myself distracted by my ideas for new writing, new blogs, etc. I find that I lose focus sometimes rather too easily and that I want to do more than what I can actually pile onto my plate.
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#amreading short works the3six5 weather

the3six5 aftermath; motivation–

I meant to write sooner after I had my entry posted over at the3six5 last Saturday. But, the week has been one of those common ones: busy, jam-packed, no time to really sit down and blog…or is it all an illusion?

Today, I woke up from sleeping over 12 hours. I checked my reading list for this year and I realize I’ve read very few books so far this year. Hm. The past two years, I read books rather quickly, but I have to say, this year has been blatantly different from the past few years. A chunk of time was stolen from me, but I can’t keep dwelling on that “lost time”–just move on.

Back to my commentary on the3six5: I was anxious before April 24, worried that I wasn’t going to have much to contribute to my own post. But that morning, I woke up and felt inspired coincidentally; everything seemed to fall into place perfectly. Time and again, I realize it’s best not to worry about things because life always works out somehow, even if not “perfectly”.

I finally got around to finishing the first draft of a short story I had started writing back in October. I’m anticipating a lot to happen in the next few months, but really I need to kick my motivation up many notches. When I’m not held accountable for my goals, of course I end up procrastinating. I see that happen to me all the time until one of my loved ones metaphorically kicks me where it hurts. They never fail to get me going with their honesty.

And here it is, the last day of April–I can’t believe summer is around the corner. The weather in San Francisco this year has been strange; more rain in the spring than usual. I know rain is common for most other places in the country during the springtime; however, it is an unusual sight for this city by the bay.

news Scribd short works

Updated Website Layout & New Short Abstract

I’ve been hit with a bout of inspiration today (or maybe this has been long coming all month). After working on the nitty-gritty “required” writing of the day, i.e., graduate school applications, I went ahead and started writing a short abstract titled “Raw Opening”. After tweaking this a little, I posted it on my Scribd account and finally decided, “Well, hey, time to upload my new website layout.”

So, after several months of not updating my website: Official Website

It’s a little more simple than last time; can’t go wrong with black & white. I keep thinking that I really need to update my skills in Photoshop and XHTML; my “About” page was giving me trouble in the updating process. It looks a little strange, but, for the time being, it’ll have to do.

The background behind the abstract: really, it all started off from a small Facebook status update while I was taking a break from my applications. The “raw” part comes from two origins:

1) The fact that I wrote this point-blank, with no real edits or anybody else viewing the writing beforehand; and

2) The protagonist’s own raw emotions, slowly exposing themselves over the course of the short piece.

Thoughts? Any constructive criticism and/or praise is welcome as always.

news Scribd short works

Winter Box of Memory Uploaded.

It seems to take me some time to get through revisions for my short stories; tonight I got around to uploading another story to my website and to Scribd. This one is titled “Winter Box of Memory,” and, as you can tell from the title, it has a winter/holiday theme to it since I wrote it in mid-December.

You can view the story either via Scribd (must have iPaper software/application installed) or download it as a PDF from my website. As always, feedback is appreciated at my Comments blog post.

#amwriting Novel 1 question short works Work in Progress

New Story Post; Characters & Settings and Tangibility

It’s safe to say that I can breathe again after a less-than-fruitful week. For the past two weeks, I haven’t had much time to devote to my writing; in general, I haven’t had much time to myself due to festivities for Chinese New Year and my birthday over the past two weekends. Don’t get me wrong: I love celebrations, I love time with family and friends, but like any other person, I also love time spent alone.

I feel like I can’t fully function/be alert with tasks/work when I do not have at least one full day to myself to do whatever I want to do. Even though on certain days of the week I still have time before and after work to myself, it’s never enough for me to have those pockets of time. I need a full day.

So, because of the lack of time lately, my updates to my website and my short works had been suffering; only today was I able to get around to adding another short story to my website (called “Riches to Rags” under Other Works); it’s slightly longer than my other work, and the POV is from a man instead. As always, please feel free to leave feedback/reviews on my comments post.

I’ve been working hard on developing more about my characters from Writing the Past, but I’m having trouble with a couple of elements; in general, I feel like this is a weak point in my writing at this stage. The question goes–

When writing non-Science Fiction/Fantasy, is it important/mandatory to have real location names (i.e., names of real cities like New York, San Francisco, Fairfax, etc.)? Also, is it necessary to directly address characters’ ethnicities/cultural backgrounds?

The reason why I struggle with these aspects of writing is because I do not want to box my characters into the stereotypes or “familiar” things akin to familiar locations, cultures, etc. It may be a controversial matter, but I don’t want to feel like I am limited to only writing about Asians, Asian-Americans, etc. and their plight of living in certain conditions/cultural conflicts/etc. What exactly is accepted/not accepted though? What makes a storyline tangible, easy-to-relate?

Any insight is appreciated.