Category Archives: resources

Craft notes- experimentation in Flash fiction

So I want to talk about craft and some things I’ve been experimenting with in terms of flash fiction.

If you’ve read me for a while you know I like to screw around with literary things.

Lately (as in the past six goddamn months) I’ve been really interested in remaking of individual myths and as usual vagina dentata.

Another thing I’m really interested in experimenting with is the idea that plot doesn’t have to be the Western idea of what plot and a story story has to be in order to be good or interesting.

So first a little piece I wrote on my phone-

wait let me digress for a minute.

I am STILL fucking floored that I can write on my phone. Maybe this is my old person vision showing but holy fucking shit. I can stand at the bus stop or be on the bouncing bus and write things that i can have on hand to edit or whatever later. Amazing.

Okay back to the thing.

Untitled per usual but here you go:

Inside the warm night she moves as though swimming. Hands in her pockets, headphones on, dark eyes on the moving shadows. She eases through scattered groups of night people virtually unseen.

Drawn towards the water and deeper edge of night she pauses to listen. In these times the night lives with sirens and the squawking of angry junkies. It is not peace but it is all right.

She cannot stop and weep as her sisters weep.

She does not.

She is part of this orange light washed strange world. She is part of the dark watery world.

Onwards always onwards towards home. Her feet relentlessly eat the blocks until the water is only yards away.

In the dark she sheds her clothes and boots walking headlong into freezing water to sing illusions into the hearts of men who pass.

In the deep, she will feast.

She will feast.

So what do we have?

This is loosely urban fantasy ish, a remaking of the Siren. A modern siren in boots heading for her night job of being a siren. She could also be a mermaid. I like the idea of leaving it up to the interpretation of the reader to decide who and what she is.

One of the early and consistent criticisms of my work is that I expect too much of the reader. That has always been something I only think about now and then. For me it’s not necessarily expectation but respect for the reader as the reader, it is a respect for their part in the creation of my tiny worlds.

I feel an intimacy with readers where as I”m going along I feel like we’re in it together and it is not necessarily performative on my part. I do the part I’m supposed to do- create the world we are in together- the reader does their part, wander around in that world.

Additionally, I do respect the reader enough to know that people who like my work, probably don’t mind having the option to fill in some of that world. I personally like having that option, it moves my suspension of disbelief along.

Now here is how I usually do these sorts of exercises. I find writing with this method a great way to jumpstart myself if I’m feeling blocky or sluggish.

Take an image of something lots of people know about and play with it in different ways. Come at it from a modern perspective, come at it from an oblique angle. Imagine if you will, that this creature or thing you’re writing about is a real person you don’t want to name specically.

Basically, play with the thing. Don’t plot it out, don’t do an outline just go. For as long as you have to. This one came out (posted exactly how it came out of my brain) in about ten minutes. Just go.

Next one I (as read by Milcah) is about misheard words and a fantasy. In case you’re grossed out by vagina dentata skip it.

Untitled as well

I blame my loudmouth roommate for this entire situation.

When JJ got home from her date with Gia.

I heard her say-

“Goddamn Gia is a toothy cunt.”

I think that is what she said. I don’t know I was too busy being drunk and low key in love with Gia.

What I heard was-

“goddamn Gia has a toothy cunt.”

Had I not been so drunk I would have understood.

I was drunk because I had just broken up with my girlfriend and upon hearing that my roommate was going on a date with my crush I did the sensible thing. I bought an enormous bottle of cheap wine and took to the couch.

JJ stopped to lean over the couch to look down at me.

“You should call Gia and ask her out on a date. She is way more your type than mine. And you should probably go to bed. You’re really drunk.”

I don’t remember JJ putting me in bed or stripping me. I do remember her taking my bag of chips away and putting a bottle of water on my nightstand.

After she left me I lay there turning over the idea of Gia in my head.

My cunt started to burn, I felt the blood moving, my lips swelling and wanting to be touched. I waited, thinking about JJ’s comment.

“Gia has a toothy cunt.”

Toothy cunt, toothy cunt. I closed my eyes and pictured her fine, lean brown body. I’d seen her naked before. Shit I’ve seen almost all of my friends naked. We have stripped together, tricked together, been photographed together. Yet, I could not remember if I had seen teeth or not.

Gia is sleek where I am not. She is muscled and tight, catlike and androgynous in a classic kind of way. I wonder if she still has that precision trimmed bush, verdant in a tightly controlled way that is beyond sexy. My fingers move between my own thighs as I imagine the topography of her cunt.

Are her lips dark like the ones on her face? Do they have that petulant mean curve, do they fold soft and wrinkly as wilting fern fronds? Could I get them to swell and spread with just one finger? Just one finger dragged slowly just where they protrude, just a tickle. Just enough to promise more but not enough to deliver.

I saw myself with my face between her strong thighs, dipping my tongue into the crenulated secrets of her cunt before peeling her lips open to tickle her sharp secret teeth.

Eyes closed I imagined dipping my tongue just inside her, just enough to feel the slick of teeth on the tip of my tongue.

Unwise as the desire might be I wouldn’t recoil from the slick smoothness, I would smile against her. I could almost taste her, feel her lithe muscular body twisting, warning me of the danger to come.

Against the backdrop of my closed eyes I tried to paint her, lips full and dark, slick and revealing the barest sliver of deepest wet red. Wet as a screaming mouth full of danger.

I’d want her fuck hungry, ready to devour me whole.

I neared orgasm the world greyed out around me, I must have passed out because I woke up with a fuzzy mouth and my hand wedged between my thighs.

I couldn’t remember coming or not but I did remember vivid dreams of a flash of teeth, old ivory buried inside hot wet red.

The beauty of my fixation is that I have a date with Gia tonight and I hope to come home tongueless.

~

For this piece, I went with my general fixation on vagina dentata and made it the focal point of the narrator’s desire. She’s unreliable in that she’s drunk and half dreaming.

The other thing is this is one of the ways I like to explore transgressive writing. If y’all remember I talked about transgression back here. This fits my ideas about transgresssion in that this is obviously not lesbian sex as written for or by men.

This is outside of the White gaze.

It is just with those two things dangerous to the Heteronormative ideas about sex and sexuality.

The focal point of our narrators desire is on those teeth. The stated desire is not rooted in the gross out, it is rooted in this desire.

That is the sneaky kind of layered and nuanced transgression I like.

And of course I leave the reader unfulfilled because I’m kind of an asshole. My optimal result with that would be for the reader to put the story down and live on in that fantasy. Does Gia have a toothy cunt? Can you the reader fill in the vision of her cunt? Puffy? Ruffly labia minora?

So there you have it. Some examples of how I like to work with these things.

Now if you’re still here bravo.

I’m a windy wordbag.

If you want to experiment write something erotic with non traditional or expected things as your jump off point. Vagina Dentata, make some monstrous thing (a tail, claws whatever) the object of your narrators desire for another person.

If you do, come back and link me I wanna see.

Tomorrow look out for my next entry in Yeah Write and some new crackhead love.


Craft Notes: How I use Free writing.

First have a glance at this.

Now a couple of people have asked so let me give you a sort of blow by blow as to how I utilize the concept of freewrites.

First thing to know is I have a very noisy disordered brain.

One of the problems with my sleeping is in face the crazy carnival (replete with barkers, geeks, music, rides and pink elephants). My brain is a stew of LOUD NOISES.

So I do a few things to help settle myself down enough to write so the LOUD NOISES turn into stories and shit.

One of the things I do is crochet. I make shawls mostly. I keep telling myself I am going to sell them but that is a whole other thing. Crocheting puts a good amount of order in my chaosroachbrain. I do it on the bus usually while I listen to audiobooks and my thoughts turn a bit more linear like my stitches. Rows and rows of orderly thinking.

The other thing I do a lot is free write.

Here is how I do it.

Something, be it a phrase, a concept, a photo, a voice, a word, the sight of a fine fine ass in some tight pants whatever, it gets in my head.

I’m going to use one I did recently as an example.

Open this in another tab. It is the side blog where I just kind of dump words. I was inspired by Dena and Milcah (side note, GODS my friends are some fine mother fuckers, like for serious) and periods.

So there I was with the image of Joseph from Dena’s poem.

And I just started to go.

When I do this, often it is my way of exploring correlations as they happen in my brain.

In this case we have menses, a man, destruction because most tend to associate periods with flowers and the birds and bees and bullshit. It’s not that pretty. I wanted to explore that without getting to the ugly right away.

I am obsessed with sexualized predation (not as in abuser as in an apex predator) from the POV of the woman predator. The ides of conquest as it has been applied to masculine sexuality forever. The beauty in being an apex predator or at least feeling like one.

I called the image of war and battle and victory and claimed the shed blood as victory.

That is where my brain goes.

I go until I can’t anymore and then normally as you can see there, I change something. Sometimes I use this method of freewriting to explore forms, to change the angle that I approach my subject matter.  I’ve found that once I’ve exhausted one means of exploring a subject/theme when I change something (form, formatting etc) that is when my brain really gets to work. That is how I work out the voice I use in a story sometimes. Sometimes it is how I figure out the road to the next thing. Or I figure out that the idea I had won’t work.

The aim when I do this is just to write. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it is just fragments. Sometimes it kickstarts a whole new thing.

90% of these freewrites I have no intention of trying to get published. That is why I made that other blog. Occasionally I have had bigger better stories from those freewrites.

This piece I had in Fuck Fiction, started out as a freewrite.  Again, I was exploring that female sexual predator. A self aware predator who cannot help herself.  This one from the Molotov Cocktail started as an experiment with second person narrative. 

One of the other functions of this method is that for me I’ve discovered where my strengths are.

I am good at present tense first person POV.

I really LOVE writing second person narrative.

One of the other things to be gained from freewriting is freeing yourself of taboos.

Essentially if you are new to say writing sex use this exercise.

If words or concepts don’t do it for you here are some other options.

Read this post by Remittance Girl and try her challenge.

Here are some prompts for practicing writing on the body. In other words practice writing the physiological.

For instance. Your narrator has just fallen down some stairs. Write them checking themselves out, are they hurt? Where are they hurt? How do they hurt? Think about bumps and bruises. Try writing the aftermath, maybe your narrator fell two days ago and their body is just starting to yell.

Write a scene of arousal. Your main character here is getting turned on. What is going on in their body? I’m not talking a monologue about the most perfect tits anyone has ever seem but this is the viewer. Are they tingling? Is their skin covered in gooseflesh?

Do you like prompts? Here are some I like.

Personally prompts about meadows and  flowers and shit don’t do it for me. My taste runs to the darker and for that I picked up Michael Arnzen’s book Instigation. The beauty of this type of books that you can write a story, a poem, a scene, a flash piece. Anything. I really seriously recommend it.

I used one of his instigations and got this story published.

Think of this type of work as stretching for your brain. This is an excellent way to step out of your comfort zone. Whether it is style, format, subject matter. You can get yourself kickstarted with some practice.

I will also say that this is how I started to really find my own voice.

So there are your craft notes of the day. If you write something and post it somewhere come back and post a link so I can check it out.


Links n things.

A few links and things.

I really want to talk more about race in the lit world but I can’t today I’ll just get too pissed off.

Instead how about some links?

For a group I’m in on facebook I made a little short writing resource list with free to use resources for writers. You can download the PDF here.  You can share this with people. Don’t sell it  or take credit please that’s not cool.

Do you know and love some authors of color? Go to the Rumpus and put them on the list.  I will probably talk more about how non POC need to come at this list and lists like it and why it is important to do but not today.

If you haven’t already you really need to go read the Hip Hop issue of Specter. No really you do it is really fucking good.

Also check out NAP 2.7. I really love how NAP is laid out. I dig it.

This is old but bears rereading. This interview with Erykah Badu in Vibe from 2010 is really good. Normally I take issue with the writing in Vibe but yeah. I like it.

You should go check out Linden Avenue and then submit. I’m super excited to be in the next issue and you should submit too.

Blackberry is also accepting new submissions. This is a super opportunity for Black women to have their own space in the lit world.

On the personal front no news. I’m still waiting for answers to the last three queries I sent but I think those are gonna be a bust.

I think that’s all for now. I have some work to do today.

Also don’t forget you can buy stuff I’ve written check the links on the right.

OH one last thing. My crocheted shawls/goods shop is SO close to opening. I’m very excited of that and am really happy to be able to make a little money doing something that makes me calm.

 


Rejections? Why yes I have many.

So many rejections this week.

I believe I’m up to three rejections for this week.  All of them for new work and of course had high hopes for. I spent my allotted time to be butthurt about it last night. Today all three will be rereleased into the wild.

I did have one new acceptance. Did I mention that? I got my Senryu duet accepted for the next issue of the BellaOnline literary magazine Mused.

It always makes me giggle to myself a little when I get poetry accepted. I don’t really write formal verse aside from my little senryu-ish things and poetry is usually what I call the end result of brain vomit. Sometimes the spew comes out glittery and beautiful, other times I keep it tucked away in my notebook where it won’t blind anyone.

I think I’m going to revisit a few magazines that I’ve submitted to in the past. All from 2010. There are a few that I’m fairly obsessed with getting into/impressing for various reasons.

Today though I must admit I’m wallowing in a little woe is me nobody likes me I’m gonna eat worms.

It’ll pass.

So some links.

Over at Necessary Fiction Brian Kitely is the Writer in Residence and he wrote this entry about First vs Third person POV. Personally I’m a big fan of first person. I don’t hate third person in general, when (as with all literary things) it is done well it moves me but I’m more likely to be moved by stories in first person.

I highly suggest submitting to Pank via their tip submission thing.  Had I known about this when I submitted earlier this month I would’ve done it. Yes I did get rejected from them thanks for asking. Specifically for the queer issue.

There is an interview with Haruki Murakami over at the Book Bench and an excerpt from his forthcoming new book.

Oh goodness, while I’ve been writing this POW another rejection. I’m going to allow myself the full day to pout and feel unwanted. I can’t pout too much. The end of last year was fairly rough going as well. Deep breath. Instead of submitting today I’m going to work on new material.

Moving along.

If you are in/around NYC, I spotted on facebook that the Nuyorican Poets Cafe is taking resumes for Fall interns. Check it out on facebook.

Found out via the Erotic Readers and Writers Association there are some interesting calls from submission out right now.

ForbiddenFiction is looking for submissions.  I like the blurb on their website:

What is ForbiddenFiction?

ForbiddenFiction is a publisher devoted to writing that breaks the boundaries of original erotic fiction. We will be publishing stories which combine intense sexuality with quality writing. If it’s a well written erotic story, we’ll consider it.

From the little bit I’ve poked around it looks to be interesting.

Super editor Rachel Kramer Bussel has opened up submissions for a new female submission anthology. Her books are always quality and she has excellent taste.

And I’m spent. Look for a whole entry full of links if anyone gives them to me tomorrow.

Now I’m going to go nurse my bloody and sore ego then write more.


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