1:1000 | The True Test

1:1000 is a website that pairs photography with 1,000-word prose. Sound like your cup of tea? Go to Pinterest and select an unclaimed photograph, then write your 1,000-word piece (fiction or creative non-fiction).

I consider myself a solid fiction writer, with fantasy and horror as my primary genres of choice. I had an idea to write a futuristic story about a young boy being tested for gender equality (um, it made sense in my head), and it somehow evolved into this sci fi piece I didn’t even know I was capable of writing. Seriously, I read this and it doesn’t feel like me, but in the best way possible. Does that even make sense?

Anyway, “The True Test.” Go read it, because I really like it and it’s up there in my favorite stories list, and there will definitely be more of the Academy in the future. Probably more Ren, too.

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1:1000 | Coven

1:1000 is a website that pairs photography with 1,000-word prose. Sound like your cup of tea? Go to Pinterest and select an unclaimed photograph, then write your 1,000-word piece (fiction or creative non-fiction).

Check out “Coven,” my 1:1000 piece for October. I wanted to write something both seasonal and sensory. I don’t tend to be so descriptive when I’m writing, especially not in smaller pieces, but I loved this. It may be one of my favorite 1:1000 stories.I tend to shy away from descriptive writing – it’s virtually absent from initial manuscript drafts because I’m so focused on character interactions – so this both reinforced that it’s fun to write and I can write that way, if I so choose.

Bonus: no death! I don’t promise a streak of “happy” stories, but this one is adorably, appropriately dark.

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1:1000 | Paloma

1:1000 is a website that pairs photography with 1,000-word prose. Sound like your cup of tea? Go to Pinterest and select an unclaimed photograph, then write your 1,000-word piece (fiction or creative non-fiction).

Check out “Paloma,” my 1:1000 piece for September. Incidentally, it’s also the last entry in my loosely joined Tequila Trilogy. Linked by characters and an exploration of love and acceptance, the Tequila Trilogy is a larger (and in my opinion) more successful version of the Journey experiment I did earlier this year on my blog. “Paloma” centers around the forever-altered relationship between an aunt and a niece set against the background of a morning park excursion (with promises of hot chocolate!).

Paloma” is my favorite entry in the series, and per usual, a better piece because of the perspectives and feedback shared by the 1:1000 team. Initially, it felt like a rehash of its immediate predecessor, “Salt on the Rim,” with female friends supporting each other during a hardship. But with this piece, it was almost like I needed permission to take it further, like I couldn’t trust my instinct that it didn’t need to be so concrete, and that the trilogy didn’t need to follow such a straight and narrow path (an interesting revelation, given that the middle section takes place before the first one does!).

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1:1000 | Famine and a 1:1

1:1000 is a website that pairs photography with 1,000-word prose. Sound like your cup of tea? Go to Pinterest and select an unclaimed photograph, then write your 1,000-word piece (fiction or creative non-fiction).

Check out “Famine,” another 1:1000 piece for July. This piece was such a challenge for me – I had this idea percolating and when I saw the image, it just clicked together. What ended up on the page…not so much. I really struggled as I did my revision, and once I hit the slash-and-burn phase I knew I had to get more eyes on it. Slash-and-burn, incidentally, is when I just start hacking away at entire paragraphs until I have an irredeemable sliver of a story, with a wisp of a character left. The good thing was that I wasn’t wrong – the piece needed some work. In fact, it still kind of does – I’m considering a Part II, just to wrap up what I think may be some loose threads and to play around with an idea that I couldn’t capture in 1,000 words. It’s ambitious for me, but I liked getting out of my comfort zone.

In addition to “Famine,” there’s a pretty rad interview up about yours truly. I give another shout-out to this book, talk about inspiration and storytelling, and have an open forum to muse on writing, words, and voice. I find personal pieces some of the most difficult to write, but Dot had wonderful questions and that makes such a difference. Anyway, check it out.

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1:1000 | Salt on the Rim

1:1000 is a website that pairs photography with 1,000-word prose. Sound like your cup of tea? Go to Pinterest and select an unclaimed photograph, then write your 1,000-word piece (fiction or creative non-fiction).

Check out “Salt on the Rim,” my 1:1000 piece for July. This piece is the second in my Tequila Trilogy (yeah!), and acts as a prequel for a character I wanted to spend more time with. Sometimes, you just gotta write what you want.

Don’t forget to check out the latest July posts:

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1:1000 | New American Dream

1:1000 is a website that pairs photography with 1,000-word prose. Sound like your cup of tea? Go to Pinterest and select an unclaimed photograph, then write your 1,000-word piece (fiction or creative non-fiction).

Check out “New American Dream,” my 1:1000 piece for June. This was my most challenging piece to date, because I really went out of my comfort zone. It’s second-person, very stream of consciousness-driven. It’s also, essentially, nightmare fuel borne out of rereads of The Hot Zone and The Stand. I’m proud of it, but to be brutally honest: this one probably won’t be a “fan favorite.”

Don’t forget to check out the latest June posts:

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1:1000 | Tequila Sunrise

1:1000 is a website that pairs photography with 1,000-word prose. Sound like your cup of tea? Go to Pinterest and select an unclaimed photograph, then write your 1,000-word piece (fiction or creative non-fiction).

Check out “Tequila Sunrise,” my 1:1000 piece for May. This one was a lot of fun and work. It really shifted focus as I wrote it – going from a liquor-fueled spring break swear-fest to something more restrained, tender, and character-driven.

Don’t forget to check out the latest May posts:

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1:1000 | Sanctuary

If you’re new to the blog, here’s the deal: 1:1000 is a website that pairs photography with 1,000-word prose. Sound like your cup of tea? Go to Pinterest and select an unclaimed photograph, then write your 1,000-word piece (fiction or creative non-fiction).

Check out “Sanctuary,” my 1:1000 piece for April. This was a difficult piece to write. Maybe because I have a ton going on right now, maybe because it was more introspective than my introvert-centric “Figments” piece. Either way, it was a labor of love and I was happy with the final piece.

Don’t forget to check out the latest April posts:

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1:1000 | Figments

Check out “Figments,” my 1:1000 piece for March. If you’re new to the blog, here’s the deal: 1:1000 is a website that pairs photography with 1,000-word prose. Sound like your cup of tea? Go to Pinterest and select an unclaimed photograph, then write your 1,000-word piece (fiction or creative non-fiction).

Figments was one of my favorite pieces to write. I really drew on my own introvert tendencies (erm, lifestyle?). As always, the 1:1000 team had constructive feedback. They basically saved me from myself with their comments!

Don’t forget to check out the latest March stories:

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1:1000 | Hoodoo // The Guardian Angel

Auditing my posts for 2014, I noticed that my 1:1000 entries were nonexistent! Consider this a very delayed attempt to get back on track.

Check out “Hoodoo” and “The Guardian Angel,” my two pieces for 1:1000 in January and February. If you’re new to the blog, here’s the deal: 1:1000 is a website that pairs photography with 1,000-word prose. Sound like your cup of tea? Go to Pinterest and select an unclaimed photograph, then write your 1,000-word piece (fiction or creative non-fiction).

I started thinking about “Hoodoo” in the fall. The original concept would have been about a robbery gone awry. This didn’t quite come together, though the characters are softer (and hopefully more realistic) versions.

With “The Guardian Angel,” I went back to my original approach for picture-selecting: making the fella do it for me. It’s a technique I employ to help me get outside my creative comfort zone. I ended up writing the first draft on a connecting flight after a redeye.

Don’t forget to check out the latest March stories: