How to Write Short Stories on a Deadline

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This week I’m trying to get two stories ready for submission to specific calls in the hope they might sell. One is the story formally known as “Infinity Girl and the Shadow” (and is going to be renamed if it kills me) and the other is (also about to be renamed) “Washed Up Upon the Shore”“. The call for the former shuts on Thursday, the one for the later at the end of the month.

Guess which story I’m working on right now?

Yeah, the one not due for another few weeks. But, I suppose, at least I’m trying to write something.

Actually, it’s not that bad; I spent most of Sunday cutting 1500 words out of my magical girl story. It’s pretty close to done and I’m remembered how much I like redrafting when I actually focus on the work, when I cut things because they’re extraneous, it feels like I’m good at what I do and the story is all the more polished for it. Especially as the tilt on this isn’t the and never had been the superheroness (in this case the magical girlness) of the story but how that impacts on reality and the protagonist’s life and relationships.

“Washed Up” (which is probably going to be renamed “Like Pearls, Spilled and Scattered”) is about what makes a person and how purpose can sometimes override memory, personality. Good people will do good things, even if you strip them to the bone, because of who they are in their core. Oh and it’s my attempt at a Lovecraftian story without the Lovecraft but all the magic and mysticism. I’ll definitely be returning to this world, though not the same area.

I just wish it wasn’t so warm out, this really kills my ability to be creative.

New Short Story: “Constructed Mind, Reforged Soul”

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Yes, I’m still on a short story streak but an anthology call is a wonderful time to experiment, the themes spark ideas that would never otherwise bubble up. This one was a particularly personal story, as well as one set in the Ashteraiverse (fans of The Parting of the Waters will recognise Kalafia, the sentient computer who also appears in The Fractured Era, my stand-alone sci fi novel featuring Juran Elaspe, her creator).

I’m definitely getting better at stand-alone and loved writing this story, even as it was a particularly emotional to do so. It was definitely one of my most cathartic stories, the best ones always have some strand of auto-biography in it.

This story had a particular slant because of the call: survival. “Constructed Mind, Reforged Soul” is well named, I think, and I’m pretty sure it’s my story of the year (“One Quiet Night” not withstanding).

The subject matter, specifically, is about a girl called Teiru who was born with a physical disability. Oh and she has a terrible family life. As a child, she falls in love with an ancient, sentient computer who helps her adult self find the strength to try and escape the cycle of abuse. I wrote this story as a result of the specific anthology call, though I have ideas about other places to submit it if Survivor don’t take it. I remain hopeful, however, even as I’m reworking another story I’m planning on submitting to the same call.

I will talk about the story’s creation but I’m going to wait until I place the story first. In the meantime, this song makes me think of Teiru and Kalafia (plus I love Babymetal):