The Good (Short Fiction), the Bad (YouTube), and the Ugly (Editing Process)

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As you probably guessed from the title, this entry is a mixed bag of news.

(CAUTION:  This entry also contains strong language!)
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THE GOOD:

I’ve been derping around with the Submission Grinder, a wonderful tool created by Diabolical Plots to help writers weed through the mountain of online magazines without having to check every single one on the net personally.  Just fill in some parameters for the story you are trying to sell and BOOM!  There’s a good chance something will come up that will be useful to you.  I’m still playing round robin with my pair of short stories, and while I know I should be writing more, nothing has really come to mind.  However, I stumbled across a book called The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction.  I’d seen the term pop up before, but hadn’t really looked into it.  (It’s possible that “flash fiction” sounded too much like “slash fic” for me.)  Apparently, flash fiction is a term for “short short stories.”  Although the lengths vary from publication to publication, flash fiction is usually less than 2,000 words.  So, I decided to try my hand at it, since there is apparently a huge market for it.  It’ll be an interesting challenge, but I actually already wrote down a rough draft for an idea and will work on refining it.  Wish me luck!
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Inferior Origins

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Kira at the Gelfling Wall of Destiny (screenshot from The Dark Crystal)

Kira at the Wall of Destiny

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Who doesn’t love a good origin story?

Whenever I get into a fictional universe, be it books, movies, TV shows, or video games, I dig deep.  Those characters with shady or mysterious pasts are the most intriguing; we want to know how they became the person we know now.  If you’ve read (and enjoyed) The Symphony of Ages series by Elizabeth Haydon, you probably want to know Achmed’s full backstory more than anything else.  We get tantalizing hints, but no more.  Tolkien’s book The Silmarillion explores the history of the elves and Middle-Earth in almost excruciating detail.  People clamored so much for more stories about Drizzt Do’Urden that R.A. Salvatore gave them the drow ranger’s backstory in the form of The Dark Elf Trilogy.  Amazing RPGs like Mass Effect and Dragon Age cover the history of their worlds, the aspects of the places explored there, and the characters you encounter.  And isn’t that what a lot of modern RPGs are all about?  Exploration?  How was this world created?  What happened before the story that we see?  A good origin story is a fascinating and rewarding journey.

Of course, the key word here is “good.”  Not knowing parts of a universe’s history or the origins of a character leads to all kinds of juicy speculation, head canon, and fan fiction.  Sometimes the creators even deign to answer those burning questions for us.  That’s fine and dandy, but there is a dark side to it.  No matter how much I may want to know, “What happened?!” a part of me is always a bit wary when official works drop in to fill the gaps.

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