1:1000 | Anatomy of the Inhuman Heart (Tales from the Academy)

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).

Well, I started writing something of a series over at 1:1000.

It didn’t happen intentionally. After last year’s Journey experiment, I wasn’t too keen embarking on a series. If someone told me to sit down and craft a creative series told through photos and flash fiction, “Tales from the Academy” isn’t what I would pitch. But after a lot of positive feedback for “The True Test” and my “listening to characters” Achilles’ heel (Ren for the win), installment deux is here in the form of “Anatomy of the Inhuman Heart“.

I approached the writing process differently, taking more time. This was “low and slow” instead of the “ahhhhh kill it with fire” approach. Ren’s character isn’t where I thought she would be by the end of the piece, but it works and it makes sense. I’m not sure if I’ll write another installment for February (I like alternating, like I did with the Tequila Trilogy last year), but there will be more.

Anyway, hope you like it! Give it a read and feel free to come back here and offer feedback.

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1:1000 | Yellow Door

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).

When I realized that I probably couldn’t get away with writing a dark, twisted tale a week and some change before Christmas, I freaked out. Actually, I was originally set to publish something 12/23 and I wracked my brain coming up with a pseudo-solid concept I could make work for Christmas Eve Eve.

When I read Dot’s “The Star,” I burned with envy. It was beautiful, seasonally appropriate, and layered. It was a touching story, one we all loved. It features a sweet moment between two sisters, and I knew my idea of Christmas bonding between two young brothers was not gonna fly. “The Star” was better than the best version of my idea, and it was back to the drawing board.

And then my publishing date moved up to the week before Christmas.

You can do it, I told myself. This is just the push you need. Start from scratch.

Saturday morning, draft past due, I accessed Pinterest and scanned the images.

What do you want to write?

The answer was a love story. The result was “Yellow Door.” Ivy League rivalries, dating in a digital age, looking for home.

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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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WCFC| October 31, 2014

Writer gonna write. Fighter gonna fight. Can’t we do both? Use your words at Write Club Fight Club.

Happy Halloween! Today is my Write Club Fight Club premiere. Head on over to check it out and vote! I’m battling Tracy Cembor, one of the original combatants. She’s crazy talented and also a fantasy author. Our rules were simple:

  • A Halloween Premier should be about the undead in some way, shape or form
  • The starting line must read, “The lights flickered overhead”
  • OMIT using the words: very, often, almost, nearly, barely, and suddenly
  • The protagonist in the story has to scream at some point

I went through several iterations of my story, “Freed,” before finishing the final version. I’m pretty happy with it, but as always, feedback encouraged here at manuscripts & marginalia.

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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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