zachbissett

Archive for the ‘fiction’ Category

Short Story Published

In fiction, writing on 03/17/2013 at 21:42

I am happy to announce that my short story “Killer” is available to read on Eunoia Review.

Check out “Killer” here.

In fiction, future, writing on 11/26/2012 at 18:58

nano

*aaahhhhhhhhh*

With that, National Novel Writing Month is (almost) over. Including today, there are 5 days remaining in November, and I have ~3000 to write. Unfortunately, my story has all but ended, but I’ll be able to fudge the last thousand words or so and enter the winner’s circle.

I did not enter the NaNo “community” as much as I would have liked to, as it seemed to be one of the most helpful aspects of keeping up the 1,667 words per day demand. With a completed novel under my belt, I will definitely enter next year with some confidence and reach out to other writers.

What I am left with now is a pretty dreadful draft of a short suburban/science fiction/magical realist novel. The tag should read something like “Divorce, UFOs and Costume Parties.” Something like that.

However I am proud. It took ~30 days to pump out the draft, and I am more than willing to commit as much time to revising before sending it out. Hopefully within the next 3 weeks or so I will post the first chapter here.

Glad to be back to WP.

Cormac McCarthy

In fiction, writing on 11/14/2012 at 15:19

Head over to and check out my contribution to Alyce’s BEST AND WORST series, a little entry on Cormac McCarthy.

How fast can you write fiction?

In fiction, writing on 11/05/2012 at 21:38

I have not posted much on here as I’ve been hard at work on Nation Novel Writing Month. I did not want to post much as I have flamed out much earlier on far less demanding projects. Five days in and I am just under 10,000 words, slightly ahead of schedule.

Most writers (and creative types in general) don’t like to talk numbers, whether it is word count, economics, time tables, etc. I, as an obsessive compulsive, need numbers to operate. I have never attempted NaNo, but so far I am really enjoying the experience.

The content is not my best writing, but it’s definitely my fastest pace. If I keep this pace up I will have about 55,000 words at the end of the month, which I can then revise and add onto, and hopefully complete my first novel by New Year’s.

Now, onto my question!

Visiting the forums at NaNo, I was surprised at how many people said they could produce the necessary 1,667 words per day in about 20 minutes, with some saying they can do it in just a few minutes. I wonder why these people don’t write a novel per month, every month?

To put it kindly, I would not be that eager to read 50,000 words written in 4 hours. By comparison, most copies of THE GREAT GATSBY come in around 47,000 words and took Fitzgerald over 2 years to write. It takes me about 2 hours to hit the daily goal, and that’s without questioning myself too much on word choice or general structure.

I usually write about 1700-1900 words from 7-930am, and then late in the afternoon spend 45-90 minutes revising, cutting about 100 words and adding 400 or so.

So my question is, how many words can you produce in XX minutes? XX hours? How long do you write for, how long do you edit, WHAT IS YOUR DAILY WRITING ROUTINE!?

I will post an excerpt once I feel like I have one ready. Cheers.

“The Halloween Tree” by Ray Bradbury

In fiction, TV, writing on 10/29/2012 at 16:27

I recently concluded my list of 30 Halloween TV specials (read it here) and featured The Halloween Tree. It’s a great TV special, but it’s an even better book.

“It was a small town by a small river and a small lake in a small northern part of a Midwest state. There wasn’t so much wilderness around you couldn’t see the town. But on the other hand there wasn’t so much town you couldn’t see and feel and touch and smell the wilderness. The town was full of trees. And dry grass and dead flowers now that autumn was here. And full of fences to walk on and sidewalks to skate on and a large ravine to tumble in and yell across. And the town was full of…

Boys.
And it was the afternoon of Halloween.
And all the houses shut against a cool wind.
And the town was full of cold sunlight.
But suddenly, the day was gone.
Night came out from under each tree and spread.”

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A scary story

In fiction, writing on 10/16/2012 at 21:06

Here is another horror story I’ve cooked up for the Halloween season. This one I’m very proud of, it’s the largest scoped story I’ve finished in several years. I’m calling it “Man Hunt and Moon Men” for now, but it’s changed a great deal in the year+ I’ve been working on it, so that title doesn’t work as well now.

*I’m considering: “Man Hunt, Moon Men and Mania”, “House on Moira Lane”, “The Tale of the Manic Man” and “The Tale of the Empty Houses.”

Like , I’ll be submitting this, so it will only be up for October! Please read, and SUGGEST A TITLE.

“Manhunt and Moon Men*”
The summer I saw aliens was spent, in part, groping for words to explain the language of idle bike chains cruising down Heather Hill passed unknown new neighbors watering old gardens, planted forever ago, like 1988. That summer was a lot of groping. Read the rest of this entry »

How do you arrange your bookshelf?

In fiction, poetry, writing on 10/16/2012 at 18:53

Beautiful books

A few weeks ago I rearranged my room, including moving my bookshelf a few feet to the left. My ceiling high bookshelf containing an elephant’s weight in books. Quite the undertaking.

I had this grand idea that I would replace all the books by how much I liked them; “top shelf” books down to books I have but hate. Then I wondered a beautiful, color-coordinated arrangement would be better. My OCD kicked in and the books had to also work by size as well. A month later and I still switch a book’s place at least once a day.

But the source of most contention involves which books to display, cover facing out, leading me to my question how do you arrange your bookshelf?

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“Magicicada”

In fiction, gay/lesbian, poetry, writing on 10/16/2012 at 00:17

This is a draft of a horror/magical realist story I wrote, inspired by Julio Cortazar’s “Beastiary.”

“Magicicada” tells the story of Riley, her cousin Maggie, and their bizarre return to Perth, where she spent summers as a child. She finds her grandmother’s ranch a changed place, her cousin Eric a mysterious man and the return of a legendary brood of insect looming over the town.

I’ve sent it out, so I can only keep it up for a few days. Enjoy it during the Halloween season.

“Magicicada”
In the dark the children squealed, delighted by the roiling earth between their toes, those moist, glistening grubs. “Bring the light over here! The light over here!”
“Magicicada,” the elders uttered from rockers on the porch, singing the song, tzitzika, tzitzika, tzitzika. “They get bigger every cycle,” one speculated. “Big? These? Wait for the brood to rise.”
From the porch the children were evidenced only by shrill voices and the long arms of flashlights, extensions of their always pointing fingers, racing around the prairie…one stood apart, a girl in a dress that was glowing, it seems, the loveliest amber. She stood by the swing set under pale garlands of the old willow, examining the husks still holding to the tree, ghost shells, not living or dead…she might turn one to dust with a finger—she had magic like that—but the wind had not dislodged them, nor had bat or bird or either of the girls’ deranged cousins. They’d fall on their own, she knew, or else the willow tree would be a jaundiced mountain of shells from all the broods before, ten thousand summers old. They’d fall.
She shrieked, excitement keying up her throat, and rejoined the race, not willing to miss another second. Read the rest of this entry »

Writing Characters Who Aren’t You

In American Radio, fiction, gay/lesbian, music, writing on 10/11/2012 at 20:43

I’ve been spending October revising a few horror stories, which I will post soon, while my “American Radio” project sits on the back burner of my brain. But it’s there, never fully tucked away. So I decided I’d share one of my ongoing battles with the book.

Creating a unique voice for my narrator and/or protagonist is always a challenge–if I slip up for even a sentence, I’ve started down a path in the company of a voice that is, simply, my own. To me, there is nothing more boring than a forgettable narrative voice.

In an effort to distinguish myself from my narrator, I made Aleks Records (among other things) black and bi sexual. I came to this decision with two good reasons: 1) the narrator needs to be “the other” in every single scenario, so any conceivable definition of “otherness” should be attributed; 2) he is based off Donald Glover and Kele Okereke.

However, I’m unsure of how far my ability will allow me to explore these areas of his person…Zora Neal Hurston was criticized by her peers for not giving enough attention to the struggle of African Americans in White America. Hurston, while proud of her heritage, felt she was merely a writer, and would write about whatever pleased her; she felt no obligation to any cause or race.

At the same, it seems wasteful to write a gay or black character and not give some attention to their place in the social landscape. A novel taking place in the present day, for example, with a gay narrator would surely comment on the current election, which could turn out to be historical for same sex couples in America. But how does a straight author access that place?

Interviews, research, guesswork?

I’ve surrendered to the fact that this book will likely take me four or five more years. It’s natural to want your first book to just be finished, but “American Radio” will not allow it. The book is continuously condensing via layers–shorter and deeper, shorter and deeper. At least I’m finishing a few stories, and have a poem to be published this winter.

Hit the jump for an “American Radio” excerpt.

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“The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides

In fiction, writing on 10/04/2012 at 15:37

I just finished “The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides. I read “Middlesex” over the summer and plan to read “The Virgin Suicides” once I get through Tom Wolfe’s “I Am Charlotte Simmons.”

The story of the marriage plot involves the subversion of the classic English novel–otherwise known as the marriage plot. Hundreds of years ago, the biggest thing a young woman could do with her life was marry a man of high station, and “until death do you part” was taken a bit more seriously.

Eugenides cleverly examines whether or not–in the age of divorce and prenups–the marriage plot can have the same impact. In short, Eugenides answers: kind of.

my cover

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