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failing target practice

i've been wracking my brain, because i wanted to submit one of my short stories to a contest and it's not working. there is a deadline fast approaching and i'm struggling to come up with an entry.

it's not a matter of not having stories to submit. there are a couple i would consider entering, because i think that they're indicative of my better work. the problem is that i can't find anything that fits within the specified guidelines for length.

normally, there is (for obvious reasons) an upper limit set on word count- in my experience, about 5000 words, although there is some variance. a few have lower limits as well, but i've never seen anything quite like this one. the story has to be between 2000 and 2500 words. you have a wiggle room roughly equivalent to a typed, single-spaced page, or else your submission is disqualified.

it's hard enough coming up with writing that is worthwhile, that communicates what i want it to, that has good characters and atmosphere and flows naturally, without having to worry about hitting this ridiculously narrow target. the fact is that i have nothing that fits within the limit and i don't feel like trimming 400 words out of a story i'm happy with just to make it fit into this mold.

i can start from scratch, but if i'm always cognizant of the fact that i'm running out of letters with every pronoun i type, i have the feeling that the result is not necessarily going to be what i want it to be. and if i don't like it, i don't very well see how anyone else is going to.

my project for this weekend is to figure a way out of this conundrum. apparently, not only my body, but also my writing, needs to drop some extra weight.

Comments

I've been having writer's block as well, so bad I cant even make myself write in my blog...
flora_mundi said…
so i noticed... however if you happen to have an old story that is between 200 and 2500 words lying around, i can recommend a contest where you could submit it...

as long as you're here, why not read more?

the world at war?

in my semi-smug but genuinely curious way, i posted a question on my facebook page earlier: how much of the world has to be at war before it counts as world war iii?



the first response i got raised the very legitimate point that this is the sort of question that gets answered by historians, once the haze of the present has faded. the other important factor is that people don't just declare war on each other the way that they used to. major powers entered both the of the world wars with the blessings of their own parliaments, whereas conflicts since world war ii have happened in coded language, sometimes circumventing the political process in the interests of expediency. president reagan never declared war on the nicaraguan government in the eighties, for example, but the united states was clearly in a state of armed conflict, even if most of the arms were being carried by their proxies, the contras.

whether or not we are living in a world at war is a tricky question. despite what…

jihadvertising?

i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:



am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

diet diary, part 2

so the battle with the bulge continues. i'm actually becoming used to the pace, although for some reason my stomach still seems to think it needs far more food than it actually does.

week days, when eating is more of a functional than a festive activity, are fairly easy to cope with. weekends are a challenge, especially living in a city that has as many good restaurants as toronto. i'm not restricting myself to the home, but i am finding that i have to pay careul attention when i go out. last night, i overindulged on injera atthe ethiopian house. injera (the soft, moist, spongy bread that serves as food and cutlery in ethiopian cuisine) makes food fun by forcing you to eat with your fingers. it's hard to exercise restraint in such conditions.

when i first moved to toronto, i was expecting to find it much as i remembered it from years ago- with a dearth of good eating places. apparently, things have changed. there are great places to eat just about every kind of food you&…