Rewriting History

writingI previously mused about the universes my stories take place in.  There, I mentioned that the majority of my stories did not take place in ‘the real world’ (Earth-Prime).  Instead, I have a parallel world (Earth-F) that is inhabited by furries but is otherwise similar to our reality, but for the problems that possessing fur, claws, and sharp pointy teeth might introduce.

I recently found myself writing two stories that inched a bit closer to the real world than usual and went through the trouble of making sure they didn’t get too far away from their real-life influences.

The first, “Rules of the Game,” was based on the invention of basketball by James Naismith but transposed on to a world where a furry basketball league exists (FBA).  While I had the basic outline for the story down, I took it upon myself to research both the real-life events that led to the creation of the game as well as what limited information I could find on the fictional history of the Furry Basketball Association.  While I didn’t have to do so, I did the research in the interest of accuracy and I’d like to think the story came out better for it.

Another as-of-yet-unpublished story (“Epiphany”) gives a fictional account of what may have influenced the creation of some well-known characters.  I could have simply written the story with no regards for the real events or individuals involved, but I wanted it to make real-world sense even though it doesn’t exactly take place in the real world.  Once again, I did my research and I hope that the story stands up to scrutiny.

I might be the only one that cares about such things, but such is the price of having an anal-retentive computer guy brain!

The Long and Winding Words

writingbear

My last e-book “Con Fluff 1: 2012 Furry Convention Short Story Collection” was released seven months ago, and as the 2013 edition won’t be ready for a few months at the minimum, I feel the need to get another e-book out into the wild.  My (virtual) stack of unpublished short stories has been growing and I’m pretty sure that I have enough of them to assemble another e-book.

Since my stories are very short, I have to round up a few in order to assemble a collection of decent length.  One early lesson I learned in my Adventures in Self-Publishing is that five stories was not enough content for 99 cents, as evidenced by the thud that ‘One Sheet Stories’ and ‘FlipSide Stories’ made in their respective marketplaces.  Luckily, people are buying the longer collections I’ve produced since so I think I’ve figured out how much stuff is enough.

The stories themselves are another matter, though.  The longest anything I’ve ever written was about 12 pages.  It also took me a little while to get over my habit of keeping stories about a page long due to printing constraints back in the First Storm Manga days.  Even when I have a hard limit to work with, I try not to think about length, but even then I’m pretty sure that the thought of ‘is it long enough’ rattles around somewhere in my subconscious.

I don’t know that I have a Great American Novel in me but I’d like to write one eventually.  Time will tell!

Everybody Dies…Or Not!

writingbearWhenever I write a short story with the intention of submitting it to a conbook, I have a tendency to want to write a happy or silly story.  I’m not sure why, though it may have something to do with the overall fun atmosphere that I see at conventions.  Nearly every large gathering of nerds that I have been to have been joyous experiences, regardless of the flavor of nerds that are present.

Unfortunately, “stories write themselves,” so that happy story might turn into one that is not-so-happy because I had some bad Mexican food or something.  When this happens, I will end up either rewriting the story to make it ‘happy’ or shelve it completely in favor of a happy one.  I have even had a few instances where I ended up with TWO stories that diverge at a certain point and at othertimes I’m satisfied with the happy story and abandon the other one.

I just feel odd sending a story that doesn’t end with a happy ending or a punchline into such a happy place.  I should probably get over it.  After all, I don’t think anybody actually reads conbook stories at the con because they’re too busy having fun!

Stories Write Themselves

My short stories usually begin with an idea that gets expanded into an outline, and then written.  While this works fairly well most of the time, sometimes a story will go off into a different direction than I had initially intended.

A fairly straightforward story might jet off into the Twilight Zone or one that was supposed to be funny will become sad.  It is often at these times that I will become stuck as I think over just which direction I want to take the story in.  Once when this happened, I wrote two stories: one that went off in a silly direction and another one that played out more straightforward, because straightforward had been what I had originally envisioned.  Sometimes I will just keep writing even if the story isn’t going in the direction I want it to, just to see what comes out of it.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

No matter how much you plan, you really never know where a story will go until you actually start writing it, because as crazy as it sounds, stories write themselves.

A Name On Paper

I do put BBQ sauce on my burgers…it’s like HE KNEW

I am old enough to remember when seeing your name in the newspaper was kind of a big deal.  I think it has something to do with the idea that lots of people are seeing your name, even if it is alongside a bunch of other kids’ names on the honor roll or the perfect attendance list of your small-town newspaper.  Or it could just be a small-town thing, who knows?

I still get a kick out of seeing my name in the newspaper and it has happened a few times since then.  I submitted an idea to the “Pluggers” newspaper comic that was used (at right), and made a ‘guest appearance’ in the “My Cage” newspaper comic strip after winning a writing contest on MySpace (remember them?) and was mentioned in an article about First Storm Manga that appeared in the San Antonio Express-News.

My Cage by Melissa DeJesus and Ed Power
We’re the ‘cool’ office

Every time it happened, I would buy a copy of the newspaper and cut out the article or comic in which my name appeared.  I even have the My Cage strip hanging in my living room.  I admit that it is a bit odd and probably the kind of thing that future generations won’t care much about as newspapers become less relevant in our increasingly connected world, but doggone it, its special to me.

I wrote a story named “San Japanic!” that became First Storm Manga’s first self-printed comic book.  I remember smiling when I opened up a copy for the first time and saw “Lead Writer/Editor: Eduardo Soliz” at the bottom of the inside cover.  While they weren’t my pictures, and not even many of my words, it was my story.

Furry Fiesta 2012 Conbook Cover
Art by Mary Mouse of micecomics.com

These days, as I try to get exposure as a writer, I have decided to send stories out to furry conventions in order to get my name out there.  I think its a good deal: they want the content for their conbooks, I like writing short stories, and unlike my usual lackadaisical writing schedule of finishing stuff whenever I feel like it, I have a set topic or theme and a deadline to work around.

The first one I wrote was “Bedtime” for SonicCon 2010, but I never heard back from them, so to this day I have no idea if it ever made it into the book…or if there even was a book for that matter.  The first one that I know was published was “All’s Well That Ends Well,” a short I wrote for Furry Fiesta that featured their mascot jackalopes. 

I remember being at Furry Fiesta and eagerly opening my copy of the conbook after receiving it.  I got that warm fuzzy feeling again as I saw my name near the top of page 28 in glorious black and white ink.  More recently, “The Hunter” made its way into the AnthroCon conbook, and I once again smiled as I saw my story in print.

It is impossible for me to know exactly how many of the folks that received those books actually opened them up and read my story, but knowing that thousands of folks have it in their possession feels much more real to me than anything I’ve ever put on a computer screen.

There’s just something about seeing your name on paper.