Not a real marathon. Oh god no. For the time being, I’m content that I’ve actually lost enough weight to see my ankles without bending down (much). No, in typical Life of an English Major fashion, I’m talking about a writing marathon. Since I’ve yet to come up with a suitable topic for the Infinite Novel, I had a slightly saner and much stupider idea: why not spend an entire day writing? Because there’s no way banging on a keyboard and staring at a screen for twelve hours could hurt anybody, right?
Here’s the plan: this Sunday, I’ll get up, eat breakfast, and then write all day. From nine in the morning to nine at night. Twelve hours of constant writing, stopping only long enough to pee, guzzle coffee, gorge on premature Halloween candy, and clutch my ruined fingers and weep.
If all goes well, check my Twitter profile on September 27th. In between finger-ruining and frustrated head-banging, I’ll be posting updates.
(I love how I wrote this whole post with a straight face, as though I have, like, actual readers)
As far as this site goes, this was a pretty excellent turnaround time. I’ve removed a few of the stories I thought were crap or at least in need of revision, and added two new ones. Enjoy! (Note: I may very well be posting the first chapter of my novel Sirens as soon as I get it revised, although I don’t know if I’ll post the whole thing).
AdSpace — The Internet had finally become the great electronic universe it was always expected to be, a place where great minds could come together and do great things. Then, in a flash, the evolution of advertising wiped it all out, and Shiva spends his days zealously hunting spam in the ruins of cyberspace.
Bugs — Josh and Sandy Richter were enjoying their generic domestic life together until the old man downstairs killed himself. Rumors spread that a battle with bedbugs drove him to suicide, and soon, the super is ailing, too, and anything that crawls becomes a horrific menace.
As I walked home from class today, I was in the mood for some symbolism. I started thinking about my life, and about the way society sort of “threw me out of the boat” when I was younger. Then, this story wrote itself. Of course, with any allegory, there’s the risk that people aren’t going to be able to figure out what is a symbol for what, or worse, that you’ll seem pretentious, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. Here’s how I summarized it on the Writings page:
A short and semi-autobiographical allegory about society, survival, religion, life, being an outcast, and our incredibly mysterious ability to hold ourselves up, even when nobody else will.
You can read The Boat here.
Regular readers will know that I love to write. I’ve written more short stories than I can count, at least a few of which don’t suck, along with two novels (both of which do suck), and two more in progress. None of my stuff has been published yet (here’s hoping, though!), but I like to think that I’ve gained a lot of useful experience these last few years. So, in The Life of a Math Major tradition, I present yet another bulleted list of tips for writers. This time, though, the advice is geared more towards novelists, the marathon-runners of the writing world. Like running a marathon, writing a novel takes a lot of practice, a lot of determination, a good bit of self-delusion, and you’re going to come to the starting line and chicken out a few times before you actually manage to run your first race. So, in order to help other aspiring novelists, here’s a metaphorical cup of Gatorade to keep you from conking out at mile ten (yes, I am sticking by that metaphor. It’s a good metaphor. Don’t give me that look, it is!):
I wish I also had some advice for how to revise your novel, but I’m still stuck on that step myself, and don’t even get me started on getting it published. For that, I’d need someone to give me some bullet points. For now, though, I hope you find these tips useful.