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The Implacable Eyes

February 29, 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything for the blog. As per usual, this is due to a combination of lack of things about which to write and my schoolwork keeping me otherwise occupied. It’s the middle of spring break as I write this, though, and I thought I’d take advantage of the free time to flex my creative muscles and write something that isn’t an analytical academic essay. This is my second stab at writing a horror story (you may recall my first). The idea for this story was given to me by my father over the Christmas break. He told me that it’s an idea that he’s had for a long time, but since he feels that he couldn’t write a story around it, he thought that I might be able to do it justice. After starting and scrapping it twice in the time since he gave me the idea, I finally just sat down, started writing, and kept writing. At last, I finished it yesterday. After sending it off to Dad for approval (it was only right for him to be the first person to read it), I thought I’d post it here to see what anyone who might wander by thinks. I don’t want to say anything about it beyond the fact that it is a horror story. With that, I’ll leave you to it. Read more…

And Now for a Bit of Bragging

December 6, 2011

Those of you who know me to any great degree are probably well aware of the fact that I am extremely loath to talk myself up. It’s something that’s never really come naturally to me, to the point that tooting my own horn will outright make me uncomfortable sometimes. It even gets to the point where I’ll downplay myself enough to reach the point of putting myself down. I’ve never been able to understand why I’m so reluctant to brag about myself or speak of how I might actually be good at certain things; I suppose it’s just a part of what makes me me, and while I’m better about it than I used to be, I’ll probably behave this way until I’m in my grave.

However

My regular readers will be aware that the community college at which I’m a student recently held a creative writing contest, as they do every year. I didn’t enter it last year, as I forgot about it until after the deadline, but this year I made a point to enter the maximum two short stories for the Fiction category. One of them was the zombie story I wrote for Halloween, with a few tweaks after I published it here at the Chef’s Hat. The other was essentially an edited-down (to fit the contest’s 2,000-word limit) version of the second half of the hero-free western that I posted this past summer. I submitted them right before the deadline and waited to see what would happen.

The deadline was November 10th. Nothing on the entry form indicated a window in which the winners would be announced, nor did my instructors know. And so, as time went on, I simply resigned myself to the fact that they had alerted the winners, and since I was not alerted, I was not one of them. Oh well, I thought. I wasn’t out anything for entering. There’s always next year; I was planning on entering it then anyway.

I got home from class yesterday afternoon at around four o’clock. I checked my school e-mail, as I do when I get home, and I find this waiting for me in my inbox:

I almost had to change my pants. Almost.

As should be obvious, “The Bloody Gold” was the title I gave to the western, and “The Dead Still Scream” was the title I gave to the horror story. For getting second place, you can see from that part of the e-mail displayed in the screenshot that I’m automatically entered into a statewide writing contest. I’ve also won $75, which is nothing to sneeze at. While it mentions “a record number of [entries],” it doesn’t say what that number was, so I don’t know how many students I beat out to not only get second place, but an honorable mention for my other story.

It was quite the shock, and to be honest, I’m still not quite sure I believe it. I’ve received congratulations from my literature instructors (word gets around in the ol’ English department, I guess), and needless to say, I’m rather proud of myself. It looks as though I can’t downplay my talent quite as much anymore, since it would seem that what talent I do have is worth something. It’ll be nice to think of this when I have those moments when I feel like my writing isn’t worth much. It’ll certainly help to motivate me to write for pleasure, which I should be able to do a little bit more of once the semester ends next week.

And so, if you’ll permit me one of my rare moments of egotism, I’m feeling pretty damn good about myself right now. :)

The Awakening

November 5, 2011

I slow things down a little bit for this Brandstone story. There’s no action in this one. No one fights and no one dies. I wanted to spend at least one story to quietly grow his character a little bit–let him examine the things he’s done and perhaps sow the seeds for his growth in the future. Rith’s druid Elianore makes her first appearance in this story; this serves as a brief introduction, and I intend to more thoroughly flesh out her character as the stories progress. The other three members of the “party,” Shadowmane, Mills, and Cogspark, are all products of my imagination and are reflections of no preexisting toons.

Enjoy. Read more…

A Little Something for Halloween

October 28, 2011

This is my first attempt to write a horror story. It’s an idea that had been swimming around in my head for a while, but as of late I haven’t felt the inspiration or the motivation to write anything. I’d tried to turn the idea into words a few times over the last couple of weeks, but every time I sat down to write this it just felt wrong and I would erase it a few hundred words in. Last night, though, I was finally able to get it out of my head and onto “paper,” so to speak. I still don’t know if it’s any good, which is where I hope you’ll come in.

Not only was this a story that I wanted to write for myself, it is a story that I plan on entering into the short story contest I mentioned a post or two back. (You can enter two stories in the “Fiction” category, and I was planning on modifying one of my previously-posted westerns for my second entry.) That explains why this story is a bit shorter than my others have been; the contest has a pretty firm maximum of two thousand words per fiction entry. I always like feedback on my work, even if I don’t receive very much of it. So I humbly ask that if you read this, leave a comment or shoot me a line on Twitter or the like. Constructive feedback is always appreciated, and that goes double for this post. If I decide to enter this into that contest, the deadline of which is the 10th, I want it to be as polished as possible.

I hope you enjoy it. Read more…

Yes, I’m Still Alive

October 2, 2011

It’s been a while since my last post. There are myriad reasons for this: Lack of ideas, lack of motivation, being generally busy, etc. I thought that it would be a good idea to write a little something in order to keep this blog from going completely dead. This won’t be a post about any one thing in particular, but rather a collection of things that have gone on recently that I feel like relating to you. Read more…

A Historic Inconvenience

August 26, 2011

It started about a year ago, give or take, when I received a letter from the county informing me that I had been entered into the system for jury service. I don’t know what it’s like in other places, but here that means that you fill out a questionnaire (standard bureaucratic questions) and send it back. You’re then in the system for a year, in which you could at any time receive another letter, with another questionnaire, informing you that you’ve been selected for a week of service, during which you must call in every day to see if the group in which they’ve placed you is needed for a jury selection. Since they don’t start trials every day, the possibility exists that you could go that week without being called in, and then the process would have to start all over again with your receiving that first letter sometime in the future, which could very well be years. Read more…

The Duel

August 13, 2011

After five months, I’m finally posting the next Brandstone story. I apologize for the wait; my editor’s schedule and mine didn’t always match up, so it took a little while for us to coordinate a Skype session. As far as content, the stories should be kicking into high gear with this one; I look for Brandstone’s development to begin in earnest now. I’ve also taken some liberties for the sake of narrative and storytelling; I hope that those liberties aren’t distracting. It’s also interesting to see how my skills have developed in just these past few months; going over this five-month-old story, I could definitely see the differences in how I write now. Enjoy. Read more…

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