Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Writing Contests

Secret: I really want to start a new blog. But since I’ve already cut projects, it would be ridiculous for me to start a new one, even if it was a short blog post every day or so . . . right?

Anyway, I ended up sending in “The Bar” to the Mayhew contest instead of “As Prescribed,” which didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. (I’ll probably work on it in the future, just not the near future.) In case I haven’t mentioned it, “The Bar” is a [very] short story I wrote last semester—it’s an LDS allegory, and my first one at that. I tried to hit more of a literary curve with the piece, doing the whole symbolism and repetition thing and what not. Using that story, I had to enter the specialty and not the general category. The two times I entered general I placed. Last year I entered specialty and I didn’t. :O So this will be interesting. If any of you are BYU students, the Mayhew contest is open until Friday, and they’re doing electronic submissions this year.

I also entered the Ann Doty Fiction contest for the first time—another BYU one. Ann Doty lets you submit chapters of novels, so I sent in the prologue and first chapter of “Circus Soul Heiress.” Even if my writing in that book were fantastic, I don’t know how well it would do—there’s gore and a curse word in it, and that kind of stuff doesn’t kosh* well with BYU. Again, we’ll have to see what happens. I wouldn’t be shocked if I didn’t place in either contest (I suppose a ego-ripping is always healthy), but it’s good practice, if nothing else.

I feel like I should have a catchy phrase to end my posts. Oh well.

*Kosh is derived from kosher. It’s a made up verb that magically formed in my vocabulary.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Love/Hate Poetry Contest

I got this email today from the people who run Word of Mouth, a podcast on behalf of the English (or humanities?) department:

Hi Charlie,

Congratulations! Your poem placed in the top 5 entries for the Love/Hate poetry contest. Your poem will be featured on the show and you will receive a Word of Mouth t-shirt.

We were recording your entry today in the sound booth, and want to make sure we pronounce your last name correctly. Is it pronounced like "------?"

Rebecca Peterson
Podcast manager

I was pretty happy to get this email, ha. I entered for kicks and giggles—I’m not much of a poet. The poem I sent in I actually wrote as a freshman three years ago, dedicated to my second creative writing teacher at BYU. (Here’s looking at you, Hatch.) I always thought it was the best hate poem I ever composed, so I figured, why not?

I’m not positive when the podcast is running… perhaps the 13th? But the link is here.

And here’s the poem for those who want to gander:

To a Teacher I Never Liked

Oh swallowed piece,
Your name is oil to the tongue.
A pole-less fence, gutterbug,
chicken bait. A glazed
mothgut I
dread to visit.

You peek and spy about—
what color tints your bottle specs?
Not rose, nor white, but grey
Lightless. A

Dumb face
and molting scalp,
what use are you?
Fish strings for floss,
a bucket-house or cactus shoe.

…can you?
Spare me digestive scars.
Suck a wood block
and suppose to make a difference.

Friday, February 5, 2010


I have a lot on my plate lately—school, work, job hunting, calling, writing, yadda yadda. Yesterday, during my long day, I cracked, just a bit. I’m overwhelmed, to say the least, and I managed to pinpoint one of the major sources of my stress.


Now now, don’t get me wrong. I love to write! But I’m thinking I love it a little too much. I have so many projects I’m working on right now, they’re getting in the way of the rest of my life. I’m rewriting The Oracle Seals, revising Circus Soul Heiress, working on a third draft of As Prescribed, and trying to world-build The Raimos (the next novel I’ll be writing.) This last one is really a killer, since when I start planning for a new book, I can’t help but see how much work I have ahead of me before I can even start outlining.

I’ve started working on my writing in my spare time instead of doing my homework. I’m even choosing to alpha-read over doing my homework. This is not me. I’ve always been very good with priorities and getting everything done. I would like to think I’m self-disciplined. Maybe I have senioritis. Maybe there’s just too much I want to work on, and not enough time to work on it. This semester is my last one, but it’s a hard one. I can’t keep turning in half-assed manuscripts to my editing class and skipping over reading for my English classes. I have essays coming up that I don’t know how to write because I’m not doing the work.

At the same time, I feel like if I’m not putting everything I have into my novels, I’ll never be a successful writer.

I need to project-manage. Big time. Just for now. Here’s my current plan: TOS is shifting to backburner. This eliminates my daily word count. CSH revisions now have first priority. Second priority goes to revising As Prescribed, since I need to have it polished by the 16th. As for next-novel planning . . . The Raimos will be done when I’m bored in class or daydream a nifty idea. It’s not going to be something I sit and sweat over, trying to create a great story in as little time as possible. It’ll probably suck if I do that, anyway. All other short stories are going to be bound, gagged, and shoved into the refrigerator until further notice.

Also: Had my first writing group with Sanderson yesterday. It was great—he pointed out a lot of helpful things, which I’ve taken to heart and will instill in my revisions. This class has been really good for me so far. I’m very happy about it.

Couldn’t help but feel jealous when he told someone else in my group that he had the potential to be published. :O Don’t remember if I’ve stated this, but it’s my goal to have my potential recognized before the end of the semester. I’m going to get a compliment like that, even if I give myself an ulcer to get it, ha.