Browsing articles in "General"

Life, or something like it

Aug 4, 2015   //   by Christina   //   General, Latest News  //  No Comments

As I said in my last post, life has risen up and engulfed me in its gaping maw. I’ve started a full-time job, along with various other activities that eat away at any free time I have left. Don’t worry, I haven’t stopped writing. That would be like refusing to eat when there’s perfectly good food in front of me, just not done. In fact, I hope to share some good news with everyone in the next few months, so stay tuned for that.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to update this website as often as I’d like. I have squirrelled away a lot of resources, writing thoughts, and potential topics of discussion, but they take a back-burner to my actual writing. I’ve shelved my updates to Channillo. I still love those boys from “The Job”, and I’m dedicated to writing a mini-series just for them full of angst and brotherly love and snark (in fact, it’s all outlined), but they too will have to wait. And my Write 1 Sub 1 challenge may just end up being a whole lot of submittals.

What, then, am I doing on the writing front? I’m editing my novel, working title: Trinity, and by editing, I mean rewriting the entire thing (again…). I also have three stories I’m attempting to finish up, all of them clamouring to be three times the size from what I originally intended. These are my focus, along with the stories that are still out on perpetual submittal.

I had a discussion with a writer friend who bemoaned his lack of writing ideas. I, unfortunately, have the opposite problem. Too many half-finished, half-outlined, half-thought-out stories and novels. At least I know I’ll never run out of work!

So, keep the faith, my friends. Until next time!

Published: Dialogual + The Digital Writers’ Festival

Feb 10, 2015   //   by Christina   //   General, Latest News, Published  //  No Comments

While it was accepted last year, I didn’t get to see my story “Brotherly Love” published until the end of January. It was written specifically for Dialogual, which is a online literary magazine which specialized in dialogue-only stories. I was surprised by how difficult it was to write an entire story told through dialogue, to make the speakers obvious without dialogue-tags, and craft a semblance of a plot without descriptions of action. I was pleasantly surprised when the editor, Adrian Nicolae, spent multiple back-and-forth sessions helping me to tighten my writing and making it the best version it could be. It meant a lot to me, knowing an editor saw enough potential in my work to spend time guiding me. If you want to read my story on a young pair of brothers (I love brotherly interactions), check it out here.

I came across the Digital Writers’ Festival recently. It’s a conference out of Australia that is livestreaming all their sessions. There’s some interesting ones throughout the festival I’m very interested in, so I’ll try to catch some of the sessions. It starts February 11, 2015 – February 22, 2015, at AEDT time. Be sure to make the proper time conversion (for US folk, it technically starts today). Enjoy!

Happy New Years & Write1Sub1 Results

Jan 13, 2015   //   by Christina   //   General, Latest News  //  No Comments

Whew! 2014 was a super-fun but crazy ride, especially the last few weeks of it. Lots of family responsibilities, holiday celebrations, and general gearing up for 2015.

As promised, I wanted to share with you guys the results of my Write1Sub1 challenge, I started in February 2014. As a quick recap, here’s my original post detailing the rules for the challenge.

The numbers:

Written: 29 pieces

  • 14 short stories (1,000 words or more)
  • 4 flash stories (<1,000 words)
  • 4 creative non-fiction
  • 3 twitter fics
  • 3 poems
  • 1 other (column submission)

Submissions: 94

Publications: 5 (3 stories, 1 CNF, 1 poem)

Success: 5.32%

Analysis:

As you can see, I really tried to branch out of my comfort zone this year. I’d never really tried seriously writing creative non-fiction before, so I’m still finding my own particular style there. Also, learning to condense and create complete stories that are less than 1,000 words (and in the case of twitter fics, less than 140 characters) proved a HUGE challenge for me. I find my comfort level is between 1,000 and 3,000 words. Any less and I end up creating scenes masquerading as stories. Any more, and I start writing a lot of filler material or the story becomes unfocused and confusing. On the other hand, all my novels are gargantuan, and I’m having a hard time cutting a lot of excessive material. What can I say, I’m a girl of extremes. Also, I’ve really enjoyed writing poetry this year. I find it refreshes my mind, because editing poetry is hugely different from editing stories for me.

I didn’t quite make the “Write1” part of it. Part of it is that I refused to count pieces that are half-written. I have lots of half-formed ideas I hope will be fleshed out in 2015, and they’ll contribute to the count then. Also, I’m not surprised that there’s so many more submissions than written pieces. I can submit a piece multiple times, but I can only write it once. The thing about submitting more, though, is that one receives a proportionately-sized amount of rejections along with it. However, I’m quite proud of my success rate (Frankly, I thought it would’ve been lower). Plus, I had more pieces published this year than the two years before combined. I’m hoping this trend holds steady in the next few years. 

I decided that I’m going to try the challenge again. I’ll let you know the results next year!

Happy (belated) New Years! Hope 2015 is filled with fun, adventure, blessings, and lots of love!

Update on Nanowrimo

Dec 9, 2014   //   by Christina   //   General, Latest News  //  No Comments

Since it’s almost 10 days into December, I thought I’d give you an update on how Nanowrimo went, as promised. October 31st always starts off so wonderful, full of promises and potential. Tomorrow would be the glorious beginning to the year I would finally reach that resplendent word-count goal. It’s how I always feel at the beginning of another Nanowrimo, and it shows in my post here. However, like all previous years, I’ve failed to reach the requisite 50,000 words. I sabotaged myself on the very first day, when I actually forgot it was November 1st. By the time I realized that Nanowrimo had started, I was already a day behind, playing catch-up. It spiraled downwards from there. I think I made it to the end of the second week, realized I was over 10,000 words behind schedule, and gave it up for a lost cause.

Congrats to those who actually reached their word-count! And for those of us who didn’t quite make it, you’re awesome for even trying. The hardest part is always the beginning, after all.

We’ll see if I make my sixth attempt next year or not.

Nanowrimo

Oct 28, 2014   //   by Christina   //   General, Latest News, Personal  //  No Comments

It’s almost that time of the year. Nanowrimo (or National Novel Writing Month) is getting ready to kick off November 1.

What is it?

Nanowrimo is a time when people all across the country and all over the world gather together to try and churn out 50,000 words by 11:59pm on November 30 (about 1,666 words/day).

Why?

So what’s the point of Nanowrimo? Nanowrimo is meant for those who feel like they can’t write a book. The task can seem so daunting. So, it encourages those who participate to not only get into the habit of writing everyday, but also to see that writing a novel-length manuscript isn’t so crazy. Sure, as my husband pointed out, you can write complete gibberish to meet the word count. In the end, like anything we spend time on, we get out what we put in. Besides, during the course of the event, published authors send out emails of encouragement and advice, and people from all over offer their own support. If you sign up for a specific region, there are often writing events you can attend. Writing alone isn’t for everyone, and being surrounded by everyone participating in the same thing can be exhilarating.

So, why am I doing it? I write everyday already. I’ve already written novel-length manuscripts. And I’m pretty comfortable writing alone (again, I do it everyday). I’m using Nanowrimo as impetus for me to force through the novel I’m working on. It’ll be good motivation. I’ve already tried Nanowrimo multiple times over the years, but I’ve never completed the requisite 50,000 words (the week of Thanksgiving always derails me). But, I’m determined to try one more time. I’ll be using a new profile this year, one that’s more in-line with my brand. If you’re planning on signing up for Nanowrimo, come check out my profile, CTBIdeas, and be my writing buddy. It’ll be a fun way to encourage each other’s writing dreams. See you there!

Update on the State of my Life

Sep 14, 2014   //   by Christina   //   General, Latest News, Personal, Published  //  No Comments

My husband and I are back from our 10-month 12-country trip around the world. It’s been crazy settling back into the normal routine of life, and my writing has been a bit disrupted because of it. While it was frustrating at times, I’m glad I spent the necessary time and energy. Now I can focus back on my writing without having too many worries lingering in the back of my mind.

I hope to also get this writing blog on a semi-regular schedule now that I actually have the time to spend on it. I’ll be introducing a weekly feature which will be explained in my next post. And for those of you who also pop in to  Imaginor, I’ll be trying to get my mini-series’ there back on track also. So, many things happening on this website that I hope you’ll like.

In other writing news, my story, “The Job”, was published back in June in Issue #4 of Beyond Imagination. I’m particularly fond of the brothers that inhabit that story. I may even expand their story out into a full-fledged novella one of these days. You can check them out here.

I also had my poem, “Immortality”, published in Issue #5 of Dark Matter Journal, which was a welcome surprise. Poetry was my first love. I have a soft spot for the rhythm and flow of poetry. I also have a deep and abiding interest in science, though I’m more of a dabbler. These two interests came together into this poem, which you can read here (available in PDF, EPUB, and Kindle versions).

My Write1Sub1 challenge has had its rocky moments. I have to say it’s been easier to submit at least one story out each week than it’s been to write a completely new piece. But, I’m still slogging on.

My novel has gone through about a million changes (I’m not even sure if I’m exaggerating here) but I think I’ve finally got a handle on things. My goal is to finish a first-ish draft by the end of the year and have it submitted out to agents by June of next year. But, then again, you know what they say about best laid plans.

All in all, though, I’m happy and writing everyday. And, really, that’s all I want out of life right now anyways.

Prompts: Introduction

Sep 8, 2014   //   by Christina   //   General, Latest News, Prompts  //  No Comments

When I’m stuck in a writing rut, I like being challenged to write a story that fits a certain theme or follows a specific prompt/challenge. It makes me sit back and try to think of a unique angle to approach it. Whether or not it works out doesn’t matter so much to me. I have a lot of fun writing and get the creative juices flowing. And, sometimes, I write something I’m really proud of that wouldn’t have existed without that first push.

So, I thought it might be interesting to challenge other writers who might be in a rut themselves or want to have some fun with their writing. I’ll be posting weekly prompts on Thursdays of my own devising or calling attention to literary magazines that have their own prompts.

If you do use a prompt and your work is 2000 words or less, feel free to post up a link to it in the comments or email it to me at christinatangbernas@gmail.com with the subject: “Prompt: <Title of Prompt>” (ex: “Prompt: Love Story”). Please post the story in the body of the email. I won’t open any attachments. I’ll try to get back to you with my thoughts on your piece. If it’s longer than 2000 words, you can still post a link to it. I just can’t guarantee that I can read the whole thing, and it would be unfair for me to comment on it if I can’t give it a good reading.

NOTE: Please keep in mind that if you post anything on a website, even a private blog, it counts as “published” to many literary magazines and, therefore, not eligible for submittal.

Write 1 Submit 1

Feb 5, 2014   //   by Christina   //   General, Latest News  //  No Comments

While falling down the black hole of the internet not long ago, I stumbled upon the illuminating blog of L. Lambert Lawson.  He’s a speculative fiction writer who has the bravery to post not only his acceptances, but also his rejections for the whole world to see.  While I’ll never be as brave as him (though it’d certainly mean I’d post more blog posts over the course of a year), I admire him.  Plus, his list of rejections salved my soul.  I’d been getting a spate of rejections lately.  I kept telling myself that it’s a good thing because it means I’m persevering, but it can be rather soul-dampening after a while.  So, thanks L. Lambert Lawson! 

Also, he introduced me to the concept of "Write 1 Submit 1" which led me to an annual writing experiment  based around the writing habits of an author I seek to emulate, Ray Bradbury. 

According to the Write1Sub1 website, here are the rules to the experiment:

  • Write and submit a short story or poem every week (or month), starting the first week of January and ending the last week of December.  Goal: 52 new submissions in 52 weeks (or 12 in 12 months).
  • You don’t have to write and submit the same story within the same week — although that’s what Bradbury did. Often it pays to set a story aside for a while and come back to it.
  • The length of your story can be as short as Twitter fiction (140 characters) or as long as a novelette (15,000 words). Any style, any genre: whatever you write.
  • Every week, we post a "check-in" where you can tell the world about your progress. Share your triumphs and disasters — we’re all in this together.

I stumbled upon this concept a bit late (4 weeks in), so I’m aiming for 49 short stories written in 2014 and a minimum of 49 submissions.  And, sorry, I’m not quite courageous enough to post a weekly update.  I will, however, post up an update at the end of the year.  Hopefully, this will help me get into the habit of churning out new writing on a regular basis instead of becoming mired in the swamp of tedious editing or wandering in the deserts of overperfectionism (is this even a proper word?  Oh well, I’m going to pull a Joyce and say it is).  *cross fingers*  Wish me much luck and send me virtual cookies to keep up my strength!  If you’re a writer, join in on the fun and post your own updates!

Happy (Belated) New Years!

Jan 29, 2014   //   by Christina   //   General, Latest News, Thoughts  //  No Comments

I can’t believe another year (+ another month) has passed.  I think this same exact fact every year.  Yet, even though I know I’ll think the same thing next year, I’m always caught off guard each time I realize that a full 365 days have passed and we’ve entered yet another year.  I mean, I still think the 90’s were just a few years ago. 

This past year, in terms of my pursuit of a nascent career in writing, has been decent.  I’m currently in a time of building & refining, distilling my style down to something that’s uniquely mine while at the same time trying to raise the quality of my writing.  I know I have a long way to go before I can reach a point where I can say to myself, "Hey, you’re pretty darn good!"  But, hey, everyone starts from somewhere.

I’m honored to have been featured in two fantastic publications, Still Points Arts Quarterly and a Siren’s Call anthology.  However, I’ve received a fair amount of rejections to go along with my successes.  Both states of success and failure are equally important in my life.  Of course, I love to be published.  What writer doesn’t?  I love that I can share my views and stories with others, and I hope that they can bring pleasure (or, at least, thoughtfulness) into someone’s life.  On the other hand, rejections are an important part of the refining process.  I especially appreciate the rejections I’ve received that offer specific comments, so I can see my stories with new eyes and tweak them to bring out their own strengths.  I love the learning process.  Looking back at how my writing has progressed over the last few years makes me giddy, because I feel like it’s such a worthy pursuit. 

I’m still working on my novels, of course.  I’ve finished two, but they’re in coldsleep for now due to some fatal flaws I haven’t quite figured out how to fix.  Perhaps, in the future, armed with the right techniques, I’ll resuscitate them and release them into the world.  For now, I’ve begun a new novel which I’m quite excited about.  I’ve developed the plotline so it works around any potential fatal flaws.  We shall see what develops over the course of 2014. 

Lately, I’ve realized how limited my time on the Earth is.  Of course, I’ve always known humans don’t live much past 100 years old.  I just never realized how quickly 100 years pass.  I get my one chance at life, and I want that chance to be pretty darn amazing.  That’s why my husband and I are currently travelling around the world.  That’s why I’m seriously pursuing the things I love to do.  That’s why I’m learning to be comfortable in the person I am and the person I’m meant to be.  There’s no time for anything else.

Upcoming Weekly Series

Oct 23, 2012   //   by Christina   //   General  //  No Comments

It’s a generally held belief that in order to excel in a chosen skill, no matter the innate talent, that skill needs to be practiced and studied extensively. So, in order to excel at writing, it is imperative that I write. Over the last few years, I have seen my writing improve in leaps and bounds but, I feel, it’s not at the level it could be yet. I fear that these feeling of competence or lack thereof may always be with me, I can combat them by working harder and smarter

I have decided to do two series of what are essentially drabbles, both of which will start posting weekly on Imaginor. One, the In-between Alphabet Series, will allow me to play with fresh literary language. The other, Train Inhabitants, will allow me to explore characters. Not only will I be able to work on improving my skillset, I will have a forum to just write without fussing with proper grammar or the million different things I need to normally watch out for in pieces deemed potentially publishable. Or, in other words, a form of free expression disguised as practice exercises.

There will be more information on these series on Imaginor itself if you’re interested

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