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No Extra Words

the flash fiction podcast

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August 2015

Meet Episode 11 Contributor Earl Hatsby

Looking forward to sharing Earl’s spooky story “Crawling Hand…with a gun” this week. Conveniently, he’s also doing a giveaway through TODAY so check that out here.

Earl Hatsby is a fiction writer and freelance copywriter based in New York City. His fiction has appeared in various magazines and online journals. Some of his stories and humor articles can be found on the blog, practicallyserious.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook for updates on his latest creations.

Happy reading,

Kris

Meet Episode 11 Contributor Karen Soutar

Episode 11 is going to feature stories perfect for the shift from summer to fall. I have so been looking forward to featuring a story by Scottish contributor Karen Soutar. Find her at http://karensoutar.wordpress.com

Karen Soutar is a blogger, and a writer of short fiction. She loves to write spooky and creepy stories, and occasionally sexy ones. She is also working on her first novel, a tale of witches – and rock stars! When not writing, Karen is a driver trainer, rock chick, and crazy cat lady. She lives in central Scotland with her husband and four cats.

Happy listening,

Kris

UPDATE on our Flash Fiction Call for Submissions

We love our contributors here at No Extra Words. We are who we are because of the stories we are able to share.

In the show notes for Episode 10 (scroll down) I ran some numbers on how things are going with the show. We have had over 65 people send us over 70 stories, which is amazing and flattering. I used to think when editors said “sorry it’s a great story but it just doesn’t fit right now” that they were lying to me. Now I do it all the time. It’s not a lie.

I want to give potential contributors this quick update so you know what is on the horizon and what we are looking for.

September and October are currently booked. We have such fantastic stuff coming that I don’t even know how to tease it properly. Click Get the Podcast and get yourself subscribed. Subscribing is absolutely free, no strings attached. It doesn’t put you on a mailing list and no commitment is required.

I have one, maybe two slots left in November and 4-5 in December. We are still reading and considering any and all flash fiction stories but, because of the particular needs of the holiday season, I am especially looking for fun, funny, and/or fantastical and family friendly stories. Not every story has to be all of that, but if you have something that fits that niche I would love to see it for December. For December specifically, I am also looking for a few shorter stories under 700 words (there is no minimum, we love microfiction.) Stories submitted for December do not need to be holiday themed (although holiday themed stories are welcome,) and should be submitted just like any other story.

Please read and follow the guidelines and instructions when you Submit Your Story so your work gets the full consideration it deserves, and thank you so much for thinking of us.

Why submit to us? Let me share what Lucy Mitchell said about her story on Episode 7:

There is something special about hearing a story being told. It always takes me back to my childhood, sitting cross legged on the carpet whilst listening to my teacher at ‘Storytime’…Kris at ‘No Extra Words’ has done a fab job and she has an amazing voice.

And these kind words from Cristina Querrer about Episode 9:

OMG!  Thank you so much for bringing life to my words.

Send us your story, won’t you? We would love to share it.

Happy writing,

Kris

Episode 10: Just Out of Reach

Click here for full episode.

In “Life Lessons,” a woman reflects on a world she had for a moment and didn’t think she’d miss. By Lorna Wood, copyright 2015, used with permission. Check out Lorna’s author page at http://amazon.com/author/lornawood

In “Trivia,” the contestant on a public access game show thinks she is prepared until she sees what questions are being asked. By Madaline Foglesong, copyright 2015, used with permission. Find more of Madaline’s work at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/maddyfo

In “Flight of Desire,” a man obseres a neighbor with a hobby he’ll never understand. By Diane Payne, copyright 2014, used with permission. Read Diane’s bio here.

No Extra Words by the Numbers:

  • We have dozens of listeners! Every day, on average, we have 6-11 downloads of either current or back episodes. This gives us lots of room to grow…tell your friends!
  • Including today, we have aired 24 different short stories.
  • 10 short stories were by contributors, 2 from the public domain, and one by a listener.
  • More contributor stories are coming! 30 different contributors are confirmed for between now and December.
  • We have received over 70 short story submissions from over 65 different authors around the world…and have room for more!

Happy listening,

Kris

Are Word Processing Programs Making us Lousy Editors?

Do people rewrite anymore?

A lot of my blog posts come from things I put on Twitter, and today it was the search for the hashtag #amrewriting. In writer circles there’s a heavily used hashtag #amediting, and this made me wonder: what does that mean? If you’re either #amwriting or #amediting, where does #amrewriting come in?

Regular readers/listeners know I have a tendency to wax rhapsodic about my typewriters….like this one right here:WP_20150508_21_45_32_Pro

Typewriters keep me grounded, make me feel connected, give me a break from endlessly staring at screens, and are my #1 cure for writer’s block. But I do live in 2015, and I do most of my writing on computers just like you.

I’m too young to really remember when most writing was done on typewriters. By the time I was pounding out my elementary school essays and writing projects, we had word processing programs with pretty fonts to play with. We didn’t have Google, which is a conversation for another time, but we had computers. And I don’t want to go back to before that. The idea of having to totally start over every single time you make a typo would be crazy-making and I’m sure no one who is older than me would ever recommend it compared to what we have now.

But I have noticed something. People seem shocked that I have to re-type my rough drafts, actually rewrite them, when they were created on typewriters. They see this as a gigantic waste of time. Which really surprises me. My response is: you don’t rewrite your rough drafts?

“Editing” is a big word. Everybody knows that once finished you need to do it. You don’t send sloppy unfinished rough drafts to editors. But what does editing mean? If you fix the typos and grammar, is that enough? If you delete the adverbs and work on active language, is that enough?

This advice on writing your book four times is the best editing advice I’ve ever seen online. Although, personally, I can’t edit after every chapter, so for me step 1 is actually 2 steps, but that’s okay. But note the language he uses. He doesn’t say “read through your book four times and make changes.” He says “write your book four times.”

When I take a rough draft, typewritten or on the computer, and retype it, I’m doing more than retyping. I’m playing with the structure, thinking about what order things go in (do I need a chapter 1? does this book start on chapter 2?) and making major structural changes. To illustrate, let me walk through what I’m working on right now.

Draft 1: Eaten by the computer 23 chapters in, never to be found again. Lesson learned. (Note: my typewriters have never done that.)

Draft 2: Created from the handwritten notes I made before I wrote draft 1. Different from and shorter than draft 1 but not by a whole lot. I highly recommend you back up your work and skip this step.

Draft 3: Printed draft 2, read it, made extensive notes, cut chapter 1 entirely, moved several chapters around, retyped the thing from scratch. Huge structural changes that made cut and paste feel overwhelming.

Draft 4: This was the first one that I edited the document in line rather than retyping it. By now some of the structure was solidly in place so I didn’t feel the need to start over, although I did make some substantial changes (the character of the mom became an older sister, for example.)

Draft 5: Wrote the cover letter, was ready to send out draft 4, but it did not feel done or ready. Draft 4 had some substantial plot changes from draft 3 and felt like it needed to be polished. After letting the thing sit for a long time (more than a year,) I looked at it again and thought, this isn’t a novel, it’s a short story. Printed it, outlined it, then started cutting at the outline. (The older sister character is now completely gone.) The draft isn’t really a cohesive story at all, just fragments cut and pasted from Draft 4, but at least I now feel like we’re getting at the heart of what this should be.

Draft 6: Now beginning, with, you guessed it, a blank sheet of paper. (Or, in other words, a new Word document.) Too much has to be structurally done to it for me to want to do that inline with cut and paste editing, plus as I’m typing I’m solidifying what’s important, playing with the language and cutting what isn’t. God willing, draft 7 will be inline edits and then we will be close to being done.

I sincerely hope no one out there has had to go through this process. The amount of editing and rewriting this story has had is ridiculous, and I am in no way suggesting every manuscript needs this. But what I have learned from this is amazing, and I take it to other works so they don’t need this kind of wrangling. For me? Rewriting is key. It’s time consuming and not as energizing. It is, in other words, work. But it is making this story better.

You can do this with any tool. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that can do a structural rewrite without starting with a blank piece of paper, and if that’s you, I salute you. You are probably saving yourself time and headaches. But I do wonder: if the technology made us really rewrite everything, would we have better edited work? I can’t speak for everyone, but I know reading through my manuscript and fixing the language up a bit would not have done the work that needed doing.

So when people use the hashtag #amediting on Twitter, I wonder, what does that mean? What is your process? Have you ever really rewritten anything, and does it make it better, or am I just wasting a ton of time and energy on this? Please share your comments! I would LOVE for you to tell me how wrong I am.

All I know is I’m proud of this piece I’m working on and when I release it on the podcast later this year I know it will be the very best work I have in me.

Happy writing,

Kris

Episode 10 Contributors Part 3: Diane Payne

Third and final contributor for this Wednesday’s episode is the talented Diane Payne. Her story, “Flight of Desire,” was originally published in the journal “Literary Orphans,” the second story we’ve featured from that journal. Nancy Stohlman’s story “Requiem: for piano” from Episode 6 was also previously published in “Literary Orphans.” Welcome to the show, Diane!

Diane Payne is the author of Burning Tulips (Red Hen Press), Freedom’s Just Another Word (Sweatshop Publishers), and she’s been published in hundreds of literary magazines.  Diane is the MFA Director at University of Arkansas-Monticello. 

Happy reading,

Kris

Episode 10 Contributors Part 2: Madaline Foglesong

I really enjoyed working with Madaline, who is coming back into writing after a hiatus, something i relate to. I hear she’s in the market for more Twitter followers, too. Looking forward to bringing you her story on Wednesday.

Madaline Foglesong is a writer from Indiana. You can find her at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/maddyfo. She will publish her first collection of fiction in early 2016.

Happy reading!

Kris

Episode 10 Contributors Part 1: Lorna Wood

Episode 10, coming Wednesday, will be a 3 story show. The first of the three great contributors is the talented Lorna Wood.

Lorna Wood is a violinist and writer in Auburn, Alabama with a Ph. D. in English from Yale. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in These Fragile Lilacs, Wild Violet, Cacti Fur, Birds Piled Loosely, Experimementos, Every Writer, Blue Monday Review, Untitled, with Passengers, and on Kindle, where her author page is amazon.com/author/lornawood. You can watch and listen to her reading a poem here.

Watch this space for bios of our other great contributors!

Kris

Episode 9: Ask the Locals

Click here for full episode.

“A Form of Idolotry” comes to us from Guyana. It asks the question: after the revolution, will the new government ever be able to truly move forward? By John S. Lewis, copyright 2015, used with permission. Read his bio here.

In “Ex-Pats,” we travel to a tiny island in Micronesia where people go to escape from their past…and the rules. By Cristina Querrer, copyright 2014, used with permission. Find more of Cristina’s work at yourartsygirl.blogspot.com.

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