I wish I could say the tension I speak of is in one of my writing projects. Unfortunately, it's from a few different things in real life. But since this is a blog about writing, I won't go into too many details with that.
One area of anxiety does have to do with writing, however. The Writer's of the Future Contest, Quarter 2 ended on March 31st. I haven't heard anything yet, and all indications I've been able to glean from various sources say it'll be anywhere from May to June before I hear anything definitive about how "Exequies" placed. As nearly as I can tell, nobody has heard anything official yet, though I did catch rumors of someone being told they'd been "short-listed." Though there's no telling if that's for this quarter or the last one. The general consensus among fellow contest participators is that rejections go out first, so I suppose the longer it takes for me to hear from them, the better. I believe "Exequies" to be a good story and fairly well-written (my first professional-grade short since 2003), so I've got a lot of optimism for it. It's just a matter of whether or not the subject matter is what the judges are "looking for" at the time. And that's the way so much of the publishing industry runs.
The other short story I finished recently, "The Wall" may be done, but I don't feel it's in publishable form right now. Why? Well... it's hard to explain, but I don't feel it's gripping enough. I didn't quite convey the various themes and tensions as well as I wanted. So, it's sitting in the back of my mind and taking a break right now. As you may recall from one of my earlier posts, "The Wall" was an expansion from a 800-word flash fiction piece I'd done for Absolute Write's weekly Flash Fiction Challenge. Now I'm sort of wondering if it really should have been expanded; briefer might have been better for it. After I'm done with "The Abyss," I plan to pull it back out and work on it, along with trying to rework the idea for "The Unfound," a short I abandoned about a third of the way through in February.
As for "The Abyss," it's still progressing. It's currently in nothing approaching professional-grade either. I think I've got the story down well enough, but characterization and thematic development are both proving a challenge. Also, what little science I do have involved doesn't really seem all that plausible. I need to tweak that a bit and clean it up. But, this is all practice, and I'm learning. The idea with all this short story writing isn't to have a professional, publishable piece with every attempt. It's to explore ideas, hone my skills, and above all, keep writing. Yes, I do hope to be able to publish several of these stories in the not too distant future, but above all, I don't want to let my skills rust while I'm waiting for my beta reader to finish The Serenity Solution. That goal, at least, is being accomplished. Any writing is better than not writing at all.
Now for a couple of side notes. First, I just wanted to mention this blog has been running for about ten months now. That's the longest I've ever had a blog going for, while posting regularly. That's a pretty big accomplishment for me; likely because writing is about the only thing I'm passionate enough about to actually talk about on any sort of regular basis.
Also, I've been toying with the idea of starting another blog that would be strictly for me to post a weekly flash fiction piece, apart from the pieces I do off and on for AW's FFC. The idea here would be to give me a variety of things to work on, aside from my short story projects. Plus, if I have the idea of a weekly goal or deadline, it might help motivate me more. I'm thinking it would be a project where, once a week, I take a one word prompt and try to write a piece that's under 1,000 words on that prompt. It doesn't have to be a complete story, but it should be a complete scene at the very least.
So my question to my myriad readers is, what do you think of that idea? Feel free to leave a comment, and if you're just dying to offer some sample prompts, go ahead! Perhaps it will motivate me to write some more. More is always good. I spend too much time sleeping as it is.