Wednesday, July 22, 2009

2 Short Story Reviews

I want to highlight two short stories I read this week that I enjoyed. Both are from The Absent Willow Review, an online speculative fiction magazine that I check out every new issue, which I believe is about every two or three weeks. One of my short stories, Planetary Fear, is in the December 16, 2008 issue. Both of these stories are from the July 15, 2009 issue, which, as of this post, is the newest.

The first story is called Claims, by Timothy P. Remp and Peggy McFarland. It's a story about an insurance investigator who must travel to Mars to discover the truth about some missing robots that a farmer has a claim in for. I found this a neat story to read simply because of the descriptions of the vast wastelands of Mars. The mysteries of the story tied into the insurance investigator's past, and made for an excellent read.

The second story is called The Binder, by Derek Ivan Webster. This one is about a monster in the form of a binder. I thought this one was a fun little read with a nice climax to the tale being told. It also gave an open ending, which I always find entertaining, not because I expect a sequel, but simply because the tale begs the reader to use his or her imagination to decipher what happens next.

I'm not really interested in giving detailed reviews, but just in making short stories that I enjoy visible and available for others to read. I enjoy reading and writing speculitive fiction short stories, so I decided that I'll occasionally give the links to some. I hope you enjoy them. Until next time, keep reading and/or writing.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Harry Potter and Short Story Reviews

My wife and I are going to see the new Harry Potter on Friday, and I can't wait. In the past few weeks, I've re-read all of the books and watched all of the movies. One thing that jumped out at me was how the movies really are just loosely based on the books. It really started to bother me, and I hated movie 4 (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) because of it. By the time we watched 5 (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), though, I made peace with it. I'm just telling myself that it's an alternate universe. The characters are the same, but the actions are different. I'm glad I've (mostly) come to terms with this because I've heard that the sixth movie (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) is again only loosely based on J.K. Rowling's text. That should be fine because I've also heard that it's an excellent movie. I've enjoyed the many previews I've watched on the Internet (how did we anticipate movies before it, eh?), so I don't think I'll let the departure from the book bother me. I guess I'll know on Friday. Let me know in the comments what you think. (I figure I need to re-watch 4 sometime soon with my new mindset. I'm sure I'll enjoy it the next time around.)

I've decided I want to start writing occasional short story reviews, and I may occasionally do so more than once a week. I want to point out some of the great online magazines that give excellent short stories for free. My plan at the moment is to give a short blurb about a story (no more than a teaser sentence or two) and a link so you can check them out for yourself. Since I have a few stories floating around cyberspace, I figure I should help publicize the market. Until next time, keep reading and/or writing.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Writing Prompt

This week I'm at my parents house, dog-sitting. In honor of that, I thought I'd make it real simple on myself this week and give you another writing prompt. Remember to share your outcome in the comments section below, or forget that and try to get it published!

Write a story, article, poem about dog-sitting and/or house-sitting. Throw in some babysitting, too, if you're feeling ambitious. A twist to make it a bit more interesting is to set it either in a fantasy world or on a distant planet.

Have fun with it! Until next week, keep reading and/or writing.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fear (or Writer's Block)

One thing writer's always must fight against is fear. It strikes different writers in different ways. Some writers might fear the blank page. They're afraid that as they stare at it, a little paper monster will pop right out and bite them on the nose. No, no, I kid (though that'd make a pretty cool story). They're afraid that if they start writing on that blank page, the words won't be profound, won't be interesting, won't be salable. As soon as they start marking up the page (or typing words on the screen), the masterpiece that could have gone there will now no longer be able to ever fill that spot. Some people never become writers because of that fear.

Some writers might fear ridicule. When someone else reads their heart-felt laughter will greet the author, squashing the very soul of the author. For that reason, words might not make it out, or if they do, the work itself might never leave the would-be author's possession.

Some writers, on the other hand, might fear success. If this work comes out great, another will be expected that should be better than the first. People will want a piece of the author. Fame will surely follow. Is it all worth it?

Fear is a part of everyone, and writers have their own special cases. If the words build up into you, and you won't be happy unless you can release them, you must ignore the fear. Turn off your inner critic and write. No one has to see these words until you're ready for them to. When facing a blank page, you're still a long way off from needing your inner critic. Your muse is the one you should be listening to. Is it difficult to fight through your fears? Absolutely. Is it impossible? Not on your life!

What fears have you had that made your writing feel miserable at times? How did you work through it? Or are you still fighting those demons? If you'd like to share, please leave a comment! Until next time, keep reading and/or writing.