Archive for December, 2010

Reasons I write: The points below are in random order because all are significant to me.  Perhaps in the future, I will add to this list, but I strongly feel that the writer within must be continuously motivated to pursue one of the most wonderful arts in the world – Writing.

  • Expression
Writing like speech is a simple form of expression. Emoting, expressing, verbalizing thoughts in a coherent and cogent manner on paper or e-paper, is writing to me. Although I am a good speaker too, but somehow the visual of seeing words in print or online, is a real motivator. As long as sentences and paragraphs carry a good and encouraging message, it is delightful to me.  To my surprise, I read this piece somewhere recently–“All that was supposed to be written, has already been written!” and I was like –What? –

Well, then why are new human beings with artistic or some other talent being sent on the planet by some higher force up there? There has to be a reason behind this! I am sure God wants more writers to create magic through their words and make this world a better place.  Just as a singer sings to emote their feelings or thoughts, and a dancer dances in a certain manner to convey their expression; similarly, a writer writes to convey specific feelings and thoughts, which may be their own or may simply be a part of their imagination, or be a part of the thoughts and feelings of the characters or situation that the writer may have imagined. When we decorate our homes, we decorate it as per our choice, temperament, frame of mind, and sometimes we use someone else’s choice or opinion to decorate the room! Similarly, a writer also decorates his or her work in a certain manner that depicts or may not depict what he or she is like within. A prerequisite for good writing is attention from the heart and soul, not just the mind.

  • Peace

Peace is highly essential for a writer and something no artist can do without. I would actually like to equate peace with confidence.  If there is peace within, then a good story can definitely be brought out on paper. Ironically, I somehow also feel that a bit of angst is also necessary in a writer’s life, but it should be used sparingly. Sometimes angst can be a great propeller and can aid any artist to reveal the art dormant within. However, this angst should be minimal, not enough to hurt intentionally, but strong enough to reveal the art within. Fortunately, the resultant effort for any writer from this place of equanimity also eventually leads to sublime expression and this expression can in turn lead to subtle peace.

  • Optimism

Optimum mysticism is how I would define “Optimism”. Optimism here is about looking at the bright side of life, and the more you look at the bright side of life, the brighter it becomes! I truly believe every writer deserves the best; every writer should find their niche and go after it with enthusiasm and an inherent passion for the art.  Optimism is an anodyne for any writer. Moreover, writing brings out that spark and optimism in my life, all the time. In fact, writing and optimism co-exist — they depend on each other, and influence each other.

  • Love

I write for the love of life; I write because I breathe, and I live because I write. It is as simple as that. Most writers and individuals who consistently write and consistently get published do so because, they love writing. There is no other reason for it. Firstly, a true writer writes for the love of the craft. If at all there are other reasons, they would queue up behind this “Love for writing”. If this love dies, then perhaps, their writing would too.

  • Duty

I write because it gives me a sense of who I am , it gives me a sense of who I can be, and it also gives me a sense of who I always am and will be. That is my duty to my self, to the world around me and to those who support me.  But, at the end of it all, I just get stronger as a writer, with time. And because time flies like a smiling butterfly, I pray that my writing continues to smile.

  • Growth

Writing aids my growth as a person; it enables me to deliver the potential within.  There are some talented writers alive and some, who are no longer with us — they are the ones I look up to, and am completely inspired by — they have become my mentors, even though I may or may not have met them.  And not just writers, I feel the same for some artists and wonderful individuals who provide me with a high quality of quintessential learning. Even when I write here for on this wonderful site, something very unique and inspiring draws me to this platform. All this is tremendous learning for me. I believe every writer has a unique talent, but without perseverance, this talent cannot be brought out.  I have my own unique style of writing, and my endeavor is to build on this god-gifted skill. For me, it is simply about being the best I can be, trying to find the best within me, and dig deep into the hidden reserves of energy and talent so that I can add to the beauty in the world, via the written form.

  • Romance

Finally, I write because writing is also “romance” to me.  I can “romance life” through the written form — indulge in the beauty of art, literature, culture and aesthetics.  Every artist wants freedom, wishes to be by themselves at times and simply embrace the beauty of the universe in their own chosen and unique way. Writing does that for me. To me, writing is equal to romance, and it actuates a better quality of life by providing me with better quality of thoughts, feelings, emotions, ethics and happiness.

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Trisha Bhattacharya lives in Kolkata.  She has published short stories and poems in The Times of India and Fashion and Beyond. Her website link iswww.trishabhattacharya.wordpress.com.

This year, I’m following in Ray Bradbury’s shadow.

Once upon a time, Bradbury was a struggling young writer in love with the craft. He wrote a short story every week, polished it as fast as he could, and submitted it to a magazine. Rejection letters flooded in, mainly due to his prolific number of submissions: the more you write, the more responses you get. There were also acceptance letters along the way, and they inspired Bradbury to keep doing what he loved: telling stories as only he could.

I’ve been writing fiction since I was twelve years old, and I’ve loved every minute of it. Crafting tales from my imagination, polishing them, sharing them with friends and family—there’s nothing like it. In the summer  of 2009, I started submitting my work for publication, and in January of 2010, my first story was published. In recent months, I’ve had a few other stories accepted by various online venues, and I’ve also collected quite the growing pile of rejection letters along the way. All par for the course, I know.

The journey of a writer is exhilarating, frustrating, maddening, and life-giving, and I’ve signed up for all of the above. I’m determined to ride out the lows knowing there will be highs just as extreme waiting for me in the future. With every story I write, I’m a step closer to becoming the writer I want to be.

This year, I’m taking my writing process up a notch. Here’s my new year’s resolution:

• I’m going to write and submit a short story every week, starting the first week of January 2011 and ending the last week of December 2011. My goal: 52 new submissions in 52 weeks.

• The length of my stories might be as short as Twitter fiction (140 characters) or as long as a novelette (15,000 words). Any style, any genre: whatever I want to write that week.

Care to join me? Visit Write1Sub1 to sign up and participate alongside fellow writers and Bradbury fans devoted to honing their craft. My esteemed partners in crime, Simon Kewin and Stephen V. Ramey, have included a weekly (the “Bradbury”) as well as a monthly (the “Light Ray”) participation level, and you can post the corresponding badge on your blog to tell the world about the adventure you’ll be embarking upon this year.

Every writer starts somewhere. My journey began in 6th grade with a manual typewriter and some pretty crazy ideas. I waited twenty years before I started submitting my work for publication. This year, I’m going to make up for lost time.

Thank you, Mr. Bradbury, for inspiring me.

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Milo James Fowler is a teacher by day and a writer by night. He’s been writing fiction since he was twelve years old, and now he encourages his students to do the same. A year ago, he earned his first publishing credit, and he’s been submitting his short stories for publication ever since. His work has recently appeared in A Fly in Amber, Everyday Weirdness, Every Day Fiction, and 10Flash Quarterly. He’s a native of San Diego, where he lives with his beloved wife and a head full of potentially good ideas. Visit him anytime, day or night: www.milo-inmediasres.com.



Wishing everyone who reads and writes for Flash Fiction Chronicles a very happy holiday!  May the New Year bring you what you’ve been working toward!

Gay Degani

Want to pick up a book for your favorite writer?  Try one of these:

Story by Robert McKee:

“I won’t kid you. Robert McKee’s Story is a difficult read. Over 400 pages of dense, technical prose spread out in 19 chapters, an introduction and an epilogue. It’s also one of the best books on the craft of writing that’s ever been writing. It’s worth working your way through 20 or 30 pages a day for the lessons McKee teaches.”  Read Angie Dixon‘s complete review at Suite 101.com.

Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver:

From “write what you know” to “write what you can imagine.” This book has got it all. Story craft, creative process, time management, and getting into print. Jerry Cleaver strings together his advice and workshops to cover all topics that concern not only starting writers but all writers.” Read Erica Jobman‘s complete review at Helium.com.

Ron Carlson Writes A Story by Ron Carlson:

“This short book follows ‘The Governor’s Ball’ as Carlson writes it during one day. He conveys the hanging-in-there experience of writing for him. He does this almost line by line, kind of like this: I wrote A and then thought X and wrote B, which surprised me and I wrote Z; I wanted to take a break and celebrate but was at a dangerous point—didn’t know what was next—so I stayed there and this new character appeared and said . . . Obviously he isn’t a writer who plots his short stories or even who knows where he’s going. But his process of drawing from life and experience and intuition seems to result in discovery—he’s not bored, but interested—when he’s not mildly apprehensive (or scared shitless) that he’s going to hit a dead end or quit. He hangs in.” Read complete review by Richard Gilbert at his Narrative blog.

The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction, edited by Tara L. Masih

“For a writer who’s never written flash, but who has thought it might be something he’d like to try (e.g., a poet who is thinking of making a leap to writing fiction) this is a must read. Someone who has given considerable thought to flash, its shaping, and its relationship to poetry, will also find this book of interest. ” Read Miriam N. Kotzin‘s complete review at Per Contra.

Or one of the usual suspects:

The only things that distract me from REAL LIFE during the holidays are writing prompts. They call out to me when I should be wrapping gifts.  Wait, I have no gifts to wrap!  Not yet because writing prompts  shout my name the minute I reach for car keys and visa card.  Because of 50-word lures, my tree’s as naked as its noble mother in the forest.  Christmas cards remain sealed in boxes sinceI just have to knock off one more 175-word prompt.  It’ll take me fifteen minutes!!!  Right!

You want prompts. You get prompts.  They’re all over the net.  Just Google “writing prompts” and you get 1,980,000 results in 0.15 seconds and you don’t even have to spell it right.

  • Writing prompts come as  statements: “Write about a holiday memory.”
  • Writing prompts show up as quotations:  ”The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.”   –Aristotle.
  • Or how about a string of plain old words? Try:  ”BUSHWHACK-POLKA-KNEAD-URBANE-DIRT BIKE.”  You can find a10 words daily here at Flash Fiction Chronicle and on FFC’s FaceBook page.
  • And then there are always photographs like the one below.  Go!

    What I like about writing prompts is they do something crazy-wild to my brain.  They give me permission to not think too much about how good it will be.

    Yep.

    Writing can get all serious at times.  You know those niggles all writers have, wondering if we’re any good, worried no one will ever publish us again?  But writing prompts?  Who can worry about those?  And during the holidays, the ones that limit word count: 300 words, 150 words, 100, 50, 30, 25, even 140 characters,  are the most tempting.  I always think I’m going to just whip them off.  Hah!  Some are “whipped,” but some, some require extra time to get them just right.   What I like most, however, is seeing what the challenge will bring out of my subconscious.

    If I respond to a prompt with a specific word count, it is amazing to me how close to or just over I am to that number of words.  This hasn’t always been true.  I’m a notorious over-writer when there’s no limit.  But with practice, my brain has learned to assess the parameters:  where I am in a fledgling piece of writing, and whispers to me what I need to hear.  ”Something better happen soon.  You’re 20 words in, or 50  or 100″ and “Who is this character?” and “There’s gotta be a want, there’s gotta be something standing in her way!”  Then,  ”dig deep and make that character do something…or not…and let her suffer the consequences!”

    So I’ve learned my subconscious has everything to do with it.  The right brain is forced to work with the left brain because the word count applies good old-fashioned pressure.  Usually I keep these two ornery brain-folk apart.  The left brain tries to batter the right brain into submission and follow the “rules,” but the right brain hangs in there  sparring and between the two of them, I come up with something workable.  The creator and the editor join forces to meet a word prompt of a certain length.  Of course, there’s the “Nanny-nanny-told you so’s” from old Leftie about the rough draft is finished, but he gets an extra turn to edit.

    When there’s no prompt and no word limit, I tend to write longer stories. My process is to write moment to moment detail and when I realize I’ve got room to develop something longer, my stories become tomes.   I  have to do more  cutting when something has no limit.  It’s almost as if my subconscious says, “Go ahead.  Knock yourself out. ”  And I do, but the discipline I’ve learned by writing spontaneous stories with word counts is to train my brain to nudge me.  ”Where you going with this?  You gotta plan?  Get those characters arguing.  Write something outrageous.  Let GO.”

    Sometimes when my longer stuff feels turgid, I  find a prompt and–Holy Synchronicity!–it opens me up! Focuses me.  The short piece working into the long one.

    Here’s a list of places I found on Google:

    FlashFiction.Net’s Flash Prompt Fridays

    Creative Writing Prompts

    Writers’ Digest Writing Prompts

    Story Starters

    Cure Writer’s Block


    Now I gotta go to the store and buy some eggnog.

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    Gay Degani’s stories can be read online at Metazen, LITnIMAGE, Night Train, 10 Flash, Emprise Review among others. Nominated for a Pushcart, she edits EDF’s Flash Fiction Chronicles, blogs at Words in Place, and works as a staff editor at SmokeLong Quarterly.