Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! This weekend starts Daylight Saving Time, which always seems like a cheat because even though the days are getting longer (major yay), I always hate losing that hour. (Let’s be honest, it’s always an hour I would have spent sleeping.) That means we have to soak up every moment of weekend we can, so let’s kick things off with a look at what I’ve been reading and writing in fifteen words or fewer.

ReadingRising Strong by Brené Brown
Love “the story I’m making up” as a way to process emotional reactions.

Writing: “They tell me I’m better now. I don’t know what I was before.”
From my latest short story, now up at the Hanging Garden.

Because I Didn’t Write About Baby Sea Turtles

My latest short story is up at The Hanging Garden! This cycle’s theme was water, so initially I thought, “Of course I have to do a story that involves baby sea turtles!”

Look at how cute he is! Go, baby sea turtle, go!

But then I heard a news report of a tragic accident that involved a group of teens who went swimming, and immediately I knew that was the kind of story I wanted to write. A lot of times, these kinds of accidents happen to young adults who are doing something vaguely dangerous. 9 times out of 10, no one gets hurt, but that 1 time is disastrous. Your life is safe until it’s very, very not.

Click through to check out the story, and, if you want even more gif-inspired fiction, check out the entire back catalog of Hanging Garden stories.

Gif-fiction with the Hanging Garden

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of gifs. So when Natalie Parker and Julie Murphy approached me about The Hanging Garden, a project in which 2014 debut YA authors write fiction inspired by gifs, my reaction was something along the lines of:

Our first challenge: write a short story inspired by one of two gifs. Every Monday, a different author shares their work. When I read the stories posted so far:

Then I realized I’d have to follow up these amazing writers:

My writing process:

But eventually I put together my very first gif-inspired short story and now it’s live on the Hanging Garden. Woohoo!

In grad school I mostly wrote short stories, but since then I’ve mostly worked on longer projects. It’s been really fun to dive back into a shorter form and write down ideas that can exist in their own little world. Looking forward to lots more gif-fiction challenges with the Hanging Garden team!

Link It Together

On her blog, Erika Dreifus looks at linked story collections (several stories with similar characters/locations/themes/etc.). How can they be written and evaluated in comparison to novels or collections of separate short stories? She quotes Junot Diaz:

“I’ve always conceptualized linked collections as these wonderful Lagrange points between the story collection and the novel. In them there’s this weird bit of space—again not as much as in a novel, but more than a standard collection—from which wonderful stuff can be spun, stuff that neither the traditional novel nor the traditional story collection can generate. A fascinating patch of liminality that writers haven’t done quite enough with, in my opinion.”

YA and children’s literature has a limited amount of short stories in general, let alone linked short stories*. I wonder if a collection of linked short stories could work better than just a standard collection. Teen years are filled with so many facets and contradictions–maybe a series of linked stories could reflect that really well.

*Oddly enough, when I was a YA myself, I wrote a series of linked stories, even though I didn’t know that was what it was called at the time.

One Story Goes YA

While there are tons of journals dedicated to literary fiction, there aren’t that many for YA, even though the genre has grown exponentially over the last ten years. Fortunately, One Story (a fantastic literary journal) has expanded into the teen market with its new division, One Teen Story:

One Teen Story is a new literary magazine that connects teens to great short stories.

Each month, readers will get a short story in the mail, on on their Kindle, or on other electronic reading devices. Printed copies will come to you as a beautifully designed 5 x 7 booklet – easy to slip into a backpack or read under the covers. The digital version will arrive on your Kindle or phone, ready to read on the spot.”

They’re accepting submissions until May 31, so if you have a YA short story buried away, polish it up now. Between One Teen Story and Sucker Literary Magazine, I’m hopeful that a new era in YA stories is on the rise.

(H/T Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich)