Stop and Smell the Everything

Threads of joy turn to strong, protective cables.

I logged on to my blog’s dashboard, intending to tell you dear inklings a few things about my NaNoWriMo shenanigans of the past ten days. But before I started penning my post, I checked Twitter and got distracted by @Chief187s Candice Smith’s latest blogpost on Simple Joys.

Pop over and read Candice’s heart-warming post about her family and her appreciation of the little things, the Simple Joys that keep us all going even when we don’t realize it.

Maybe especially when we don’t realize it.

Candice’s post prompted me to record these thoughts:

We all need frequent reminders to stop and pay attention to the little things that infuse small threads of joy into our hearts. Those threads wind and bind together until they form a powerful net of joy that catches the negatives of life and casts them back out, keeping our hearts safe and protecting our joy, protecting our appreciation for life and love and the world around us.

One of the things I’m appreciating most about these ponderings is that they give me an excuse to use one of my new favorite blogpost tags: “entropy takes one in the kisser.” BANGERANG.

Simple Joys. Simple, tiny threads of pleasure, happiness, contentment, hope. If we let them, those tiny threads will turn into solid, powerful cables that will never let us fall.

Take a page out of Candice’s book: What are your Simple Joys?

Get Shorty

So, in case you haven’t seen me mention it on Twitter, I’m tickled pink to be involved in The Consortium‘s upcoming short story magazine publication.

In fact, I’ve been so tickled pink about it, I dug out the former prologue to one of my high fantasy novels, intending to use said former prologue as my short story submission. After a fair bit of clean-up, you understand.

But.

After some pondering and some hob-nobbing with fellow writerly types, I’ve come to the conclusion that said former prologue does not best serve my needs at this time.

I.e., as a “short story,” said former prologue sucks.

Dash it all.

So. There was only one solution.

Like Aaron recommended in his blog just last week, I cut the prologue. Again.

Instead of using the former-prologue-now-turned-former-short-story, I’m now writing a real, honest-to-goodness, gen-yoo-wine short story. For the first time ever.

Yeah, I’ve written “short stories” before — but they were more like interesting scenes instead of narratives with definite, short-story-like structure. In my previously penned short fiction, I have never practiced what I’ve preached, namely the principle of Learn The Rules First And Only Then Break Them.

In my short fiction, I’ve never bothered with the rules until now.

So, what rules am I following?

Well, first off, I’m obeying KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid. I’m sticking to one genre — high fantasy — instead of writing the kind of horror-fantasy-scifi-thriller-literary-fiction mish-mash for which I have a penchant.

Blast those penchants. They get me every time.

Where was I? Oh. KISS. Right. *mwah*

I’m also leaning heavily on the following structure, gleaned mostly from stuff Aaron recommends and stuff one of his master’s degree profs recommends:

  • Scene (1,500 – 2,000 words): protagonist in direct conflict with antagonist; protagonist sort of gets what s/he wants, but there’s a loose end or two
  • Sequel (500 – 1,000 words): protagonist reflects on emotional impact of what’s happened; this is also a good place for limited info dump; protagonist communicates the stakes to the reader
  • Climax (2,500 words): runs the gamut of protagonist’s Choice, Decision, Action, Dark Moment (in which all seems lost), Reversal (in which most [but not all] is regained), and Reward.

I started the story on Sunday, and I finished it this afternoon. The first draft clocks in at right around 4,300 words. It’s about 1,500 words shorter than I thought it would be when I started — but my hero kind of moved faster than I’d anticipated. Ah well. We’ll see if the next draft brings along more wordage.

This is a very new sort of writing adventure for me — one of which I’ve always been leery. I’ve never delved deep into short fiction because most of the time, my short stories go from cute little hatchlings to massive, epic, flyings beasts in the space of about two days. At least in my head.

So, come to think of it, I don’t need this new story to have a wordage growth spurt. It’s pretty fine and dandy at 4,300 words, thank ye kindly.

Part of this new adventure will be to write *more* short stories over the course of the next month or so. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

*sigh* What have I gotten myself into?

_____________________

What about you, dear inklings? Got a short story fetish? Got some short story fears? Let’s hear ’em! I’d love to know I’m not the only one with this weird hang-up. ; )

And the Winners Are…

Greetings, my lovelies! A few weeks ago, I challenged you to tell me what kind of music demons listen to. If you click that link, you’ll see the whats and wherefores, but here’s a brief recap:

In my novel Colors of Deception, the demonic villain has a predilection for the music of rock group INXS. I challenged you to come up with other genres of music a demon might prefer.

In return, I promised two of you a free, signed copy of Colors of Deception, as well as publication of your entries here at courtcan.com.

 

And you, my dear inklings, came through for me. You sent me some really fun reading material — and you challenged me back, because picking the winners wasn’t all that easy!

But pick two winners I did. Read their entries below! In the meantime, thanks so much to all of you who took the time and the creative effort to enter my contest! Even if you didn’t win, I hope you enjoyed coming up with demonic music ideas as much as I enjoyed reading them.

So, without further ado or adon’t, allow me to present the winning entries for the Colors of Deception Give-Away Contest:

Patricia writes:

Isn’t it obvious? Demons listen to reggae! It’s all about “de mon” on “steal” drums, and there’s lots of “dread” locks! It’s reminds them of their tropical hideaway that can be as hot as you-know-where!

 

Ginger writes:

People realize that the life of a demon is a tortured life, one that offers no happiness, constant roaming and a desire to inflict pain and suffering on everyone and everything. Therefore, it is assumed that their music is loud and dark with lyrics that offend.

However what few people know is that the reason a demon always roam, seeking to torture people, is because each demon constantly hears a Pandora Radio Station that is limited to playing Kids Bop, Hannah Montana, Barney and the first 10 seconds of a KISS song after every twenty minutes.

 

Congratulations, Patricia and Ginger! 🙂