When Push(cart) Comes to Shove

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You know what? I’m not even going to attempt to hold back my excitement: My story, “Pieces of Walter” was nominated for The Pushcart Prize by Jelly Bucket!

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Now, I’ve read people online saying how a Pushcart Nomination is no big deal, but I’m here to tell you — for this writer, it is. Out of all the pieces in that issue, the editors thought mine was worth nominating. That’s a huge compliment, and while other “higher-ups” in the writing (and particularly the literary community) may be jaded to such things, I’m not! Would I love to actually win? Heck yeah! Are the chances slim? Yep. I don’t care. At least I was given the chance, and I’m grateful.

I haven’t made a post in a while, mostly due to not much happening on the writing side of things. I’ve worked on some small bits and pieces of stories and novels, but nothing has really come of it. I like to think of it as a season lying fallow. I’m still working on ideas, outlining, and planning while I wait for something to take root and grow.

Since my last post, I attended the fall session of the River Pretty Writers Retreat and it was a blast. I was also published in Jelly Bucket, and from the above, you can see how awesome that turned out to be. Outside of those things, I’ve had a selection of rejections both form and high tier. That’s really just business as usual. I haven’t submitted as frequently, but I keep my list on Duotrope pretty full for the pieces I have completed and ready to go.

As for the outlining and planning I mentioned, I’m working on two different projects:

The first is my “Civil War with witches” novel, (working title: Gray Spirits). Honestly, I’ve hit the point with it that I just need to start writing. Planning and outlining is as done as it needs to be. I’ve written and scrapped the first chapter three or four times. It’s just not flowing for some reason. Maybe it’s just not time yet, but I suspect time is really what’s lacking. Work has been more busy than usual this year, so I’ve struggled to maintain energy to write even when I do find the time. It will come. Fortunately I have a wonderful wife who also has infinite faith in me, and she keeps me from sinking into a deep crisis of writing faith.

The second project is “The Movable History of Mortimer Hale,” which I first tried writing my last semester of college as a novella. Over the past couple of months, I haven’t been able to get that story out of my head for some reason, which has led to it evolving into a full-sized novel project. I think I just needed to find the right framework to tell that story, and I think I’ve found it. It’s going to be in a framed narrative with four levels of depth spanning over 100 years. For those who aren’t familiar, by framed narrative, I mean something similar to the narrative structure of Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” — a story within a story within a story. I know it will be a challenge to write and pull off successfully, but I’m really excited by the prospect.

Now, I just need to get writing, right?

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