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Crazy Medicine – First Draft Finished!

Quite literally, I just finished typing the last words of my new novel, Crazy Medicine. It is slightly under 67,000 words.

Lena traveling, before becoming a dealer
Dealer-Lena in Cambodia

Read here the opening chapter published as a short story.

Set in India, Charleston, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Nias Island (Indonesia), this brawling monster offers quite the trip.

Here are some images of my main character, Lena, that have inspired me over the last 3-1/2 months.

Lena, finally free. (Photo credit: Morgan Maassen)

On a similar but separate note: my image of Sri, the girl whose tragedy kicks off Lena’s story:

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About Publishing How I Got That Story Read Alle's work The Glam

By the Numbers: A Fair Fight

Forty. The Big 4-0. That’s the number of submissions it took for my totally weird and potentially off-putting piece, A Fair Fight, to find a home with that magazine of excellent taste, X-R-A-Y. You have to admit. “A Fair Fight” isn’t for everybody. It’s not even for me. I have an absolute phobia of knowing, scuffling creatures. (By the way – in the graphic the eds. had drown for the piece, did you notice that the fat little rat held littler nunchucks?)

Part of this story is based on a true experience—not the Christmas lights—and part from a dream I had that I simply could not shake. After days of re-living to the point of almost heaving, I sat down and wrote it. By the way, the name I chose for the main character, “Alia,” means to go up. That was no accident.

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About Writing Appropos of Nothing How I Got That Story

How to travel as a writer.

Someone on Facebook asked for information about maximizing time when on a research trip for a novel. What ho!

  1. Set a time every day to FaceTime or Skype with your children.
  2. Have something else going on. For example, I practice Tai Chi. I knew that there would be a lot of parks where the Chinese community practiced in the early mornings. I made a point to be in the neighborhood park by 6am. I met so many caring locals. They told me great places to eat and insider tips about the city that your characters need to know. One also helped me figure out which neighborhood in Bangkok my main character would live in.
  3. Spend more time on your book than seeing the sights. Limit sight seeing to elements that appear in the book.
  4. Write or edit on the plane. You write; food arrives. Tea arrives. Life doesn’t get better–until your kids arrive!
  5. Use your computer rather than a notebook. On days I used my notebook, I was too exhausted to transfer my notes. Still haven’t.
  6. Go to a library. My novel is set in the mid-90s. In the 90s, no newspaper in Cambodia published on-line. I went to the library at the Hun Sen University and read bound, back issues of newspapers.

Bon Voyage!

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About Publishing How I Got That Story Read Alle's work The Glam

By the Numbers: “A Distressing State of Purity.”

Rosie Goldstein
Goodness!

Let us first take note that the image the magazine Literary Orphans chose is far sexier than I am enjoying.

Over the past two years, my latest publication, the flash fiction piece “A Distressing Sate of Purity” was rejected thirty-one times before finding a spectacular home at Literary Orphans. One of those thirty-one rejections came from the literary magazine for which I am now a reader, Vestal Review. In May of 2017, a VR Editor Who Shall Not Be Named wrote on my rejection that “A Distressing Sate of Purity” was “an interesting story except for the ending.” Traitor!

Due to Vestal’s response, I sent “Purity” to a magazine which offered editor feedback for $4. Read below. (Some parts are redacted because they reveal critical plot points.)

Though ostensibly flash, the piece seems to be interested in telling a modern fable; that is, a piece that feel a little bit bigger, more allegorical, more omniscient in the telling. Usually flash focuses on a single concentrated moment told in detail, with an intense focus on the language, but this piece skips time and the narrative voice stays large. That style is not to my particular taste. What I prefer to capture me in flash is the language: a dense focus on the line and the energy brought about by a particular rhythm and line of tension in the prose.

I think the most interesting part of Rosie’s character is something that wasn’t quite exploded enough: she seems to want to {REDACTED}, and she figures out a situation in which she can and yet {REDACTED}. Why is that? I’d like to see that story zero in on a moment of interaction with {REDACTED} — right now it’s mostly told, and I’d like to loosen the narrative grip on the piece and see a moment of confusion or ambiguity in Rosie’s education.

I took my $4-advice to heart. And worked my ending. And kept submitting.

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About Publishing About Writing Calls, News, & Reviews How I Got That Story Read Alle's work

By the Numbers: “The Summers of Carefully”

 

Writing flash as I do, it strikes me that the number of words in a piece only slightly exceeds the number of times I have to submit before the piece is accepted.

Alle’s famed comic hyperbole strikes again; The word count for The Summers of Carefully is 286. Right Hand Pointing was its 40th submission.

puppy swimmingCarefully was inspired by a facebook question from a fellow writer: “You guys, how do lifeguards smell?” Without hesitation, I posted that which I made up: “Lifeguards smell like the wind and dead fish.” Then I edited to add, “But not enough to matter.”

Like I said, 40th submission. There were a number of re-writes in there. One–when Cousin Traci arrived–bumped the piece from under 50 words to its current length. That revision did not *pop* the way many ideas do for me. I remember staring at the first paragraph for a long time. It was so boring.  Cara on the beach with only her fantasies. She needed a foil. A square foil.

I started submitting it. I got some good feedback–including one lovely rejection from Tahoma Review, and another excellent note from The Vestal Review. But I never felt the piece was the best it could be. Twice, I stopped submitting so as to work on it.

The second time I sent it to its room, I called on the ineffable Carole L. Glickfeld, with whom I work when my fiction flummoxes me. At that point, the puppy was a one-liner. “They watched him rescue a puppy. Awwwwww.” Remi was not yet identified. The puppy-lifeguard was an amorphous “he.” (Really bad choice; really bad. Never do that again. Never, never, never.)

puppy elf
Puppy Elf writes for you.

Carole was curious about the puppy. “Not enough coming from the puppy.” I worked on the puppy part and then put it away for awhile. Weeks later, I re-read it in preparation for sending to Right Hand Pointing. I forgot I made the change! It was as if the puppy elves did the work for me. How kind!