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A story doesn’t really need more than atmosphere and detail

Now that I’ve gone through Edith Wharton and Henry James, I decided to venture into the Continent, so I started reading this Balzac short story collection. What I appreciate about Balzac is that he’s one of the first authors to really pay attention to the specifics of things. For instance, in the very first short […]

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Trunked twenty stories today

I’ve submitted to science fiction and fantasy magazines year ten years now, but I only recently started submitting to literary journals as well. Anyway, the main difference between literary journals and SF magazines is that the former accept simultaneous submissions: you can send one piece to as many journals as you want. This meant that […]

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You would think that _knowing_ you’re going to feel bad would somehow inoculate you against feeling bad

When I was in the final stages of writing the first draft of the novel, I was feeling so good that I knew the feeling couldn’t last. When you’re in a good mood, it’s impossible to fathom a bad mood coming. But I knew it was on its way! I had no idea what I […]

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Been phenomenally productive this month

The new focus on hours of writing rather than output in terms of words has led to some odd results. For instance, I just spent 2.5 hours writing 900 words. A year ago, this would’ve been an unproductive day. But now, it was actually super productive! I mean, who cares how many words you write, […]

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Spent an hour today organizing the stories that I’ve banished from active submission

Once upon a time, I kept all my stories in one folder. Then, I wrote more stories and got tired of some of the earlier stories, so I began to banish those stories to another folder that I called “Trunked Stories”. Like everything in my writing life, the whole filing system became more and more […]

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Been having a much easier time writing short stories lately

All of last year, I was finding short story writing to be very difficult. I’d go through so many drafts and discard so many ideas before I found something that was at all worth pursuing. And then even when that was done, I’d eventually sort of start to lose interest. I didn’t consciously intend this, […]

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I totally understand why people quit writing short stories.

 I’ve only written three stories this year (and it’s half over; also, one of those stories was only 700 words long)! The last story I completed was finished on February 17th. This year I’ve almost exclusively done novel-related stuff: drafting and revising Enter Title Here¸ revising This Beautiful Fever, and, this summer, working on the […]

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Three pretty good short stories that were published in March 2012

This month, I read the March original fiction output of Strange Horizons, Apex, Lightspeed, and Clarkesworld. I really didn’t want to like my favorite story of the month. In fact, I positively resisted it. I read it with the utmost disinterest for about a third of its length until I finally gave in–against my own […]

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Four pretty good short stories that were published last month

Longtime blog readers may perhaps remember that in December 2010, I promised that I was going to read the top online SF/F markets every month and find nice things to say about at least three stories (in order to combat the pernicious feelings of envy that had been [and still are] assailing me). Well….my bad. […]

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Dear Richard Yates, where are the goddamned epiphanies that I paid for?

I don’t like bookstores much. I like libraries. I like to check out a dozen books at a time and then read only three of them, and renew the rest again and again and check them out year after year, until I finally (maybe someday) gain the maturity to realize that I will never, ever […]

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