Saturday, August 14, 2010

Oh my god competitions!

Sometimes I get caught up in my writing so much I feel like one of those Mr Potato Head toys with play-doh squeezing out of my ear holes. I get all caught up in sending my uber awesome stories to magazines and writing uber awesome novels that the reality doesn't live up to the hype in my head. Sometimes I just can't help it. Sometimes I'll start something that I was never realistically going to be able to finish. But when I look at what I have done this year, it hasn't been a great deal. At the moment, I'm supposed to be writing a novella, editing two short stories for one competition, writing another short story for another competition and writing another story based on an incomplete novel for an amateur online anthology.

I haven't submitted much short stories or poems to any magazines this year. One poem to dotdotdash that I'll hear back from in early September, and a few bits and pieces to Grok. I've got a short story being published in part in Grok at the moment, that'll be my third publication with them, my first for the year, so I'm really glad for that.

I've known about the Wet Ink short story competition for a while now, and I'll be submitting my short story from my last semester's final creative fiction piece. People seemed to like it, and it recieved a good mark, nothing outstanding, so I doubt it'll take the prize, although I'd still like to have it in the pool for consideration. I'm also submitting a second piece for the competition, a second-person stream-of-consciousness piece about two people in a bar and their coming to grips with the outside world. I wrote it for the zine I'm planning for my Experimental Writing class, but it feels right. I'll need to tweak a few things here and there, but it's certainly got an experimental edge to it that will hopefully make it stand out in the competition. First prize is $3000, deadline is the end of the month.

I came across the John Marsden Young Writers competition the other day, for which the prize (in my age bracket) is also $3000. The deadline is the 20th. Less than a week to scramble something together and mail it off. I'm really pushing it for this one I think, but I started writing something today which should be interesting. It's a first person narrative told from the perspective of a sardonic clown about his relationship with a poorly treated and misunderstood freak, the tallest man on earth. The idea sort of came from a documentary I started watching on TV a little while ago about an Asian woman with a disease which kept her constantly growing. She was in constant pain and had people gawking at her all the time, I guess it's just another opportunity for me to play around with perspective and character development.

I've got less than a week, I might do it, I might not. I've had times in the past where I'd be doing assignments and study and all that at the last minute, and I guess this is that sort of situation, and I think sometimes some people feel like I fluke my way through some of this shit. But I don't half-ass things like this. I've written down some of my thought processes on this blog, what makes me write what I do, what I'm thinking about when I tie a story together, that sort of thing, so I guess what I'm saying is that the amount of effort I put into a story or poem isn't in the time I spend writing the damn thing, but also in the premeditative thoughts that lead up to it.

I don't mean to sound like I'm full of myself here, but the most common compliment I get is that I write good dialogue. Which could be interpreted as strange because I spend precious little of my time talking. But again, there are quite a few instances in my day-to-day life where I think things through before I open my mouth. Of course, I may appear slow or quiet or whatever, but I've got whole conversations going on in my head before I mutter the word "hello".

Anyway, with all of that going, my proposed novella has taken a breather and I don't know what I'll end up doing with it. Possibly do it as a NaNoWriMo thing where I'll write my 50k in short stories/novellas, and hopefully try to finish some of the projects I've started this year but have abandoned somewhere in the nether-regions of my computer.

But I'm pulling together a handful of what I believe are interesting ideas for a chaotic, yet somewhat rigidly structured zine. I've got my stream-of-consciousness piece about good intentions and bad intentions, a bible parody in its rough first stages, probably going to change a hell of a lot (pun intended) and a series of postcards sent from my future self in hell, warning me what I'm in for. I'm playing around with a lot of ideas and having a lot of fun with it. My latest idea was to present the texts within the zine, rather than running down the page, separating them into three or four parts and running them through the pages like the narratives are sinking through the paper.

So, yeah, a lot on my plate, a lot in my head, fingers crossed I'll have my carnival piece ready to mail some time next week. Wish me luck!

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