Jane and the Crows is a dark fairy tale that I originally wrote for a contest in 2019. It did not do well in the contest. In fact, it knocked me out in the first round. But there was something about it I liked. So I went back to it several times over the years to expand and revise it before it eventually found a home at LSQ.
It was a lot of fun to revisit that story for this interview. It was my first attempt at writing a fairy tale (I’ve since written several others). They’re one of my favorite types of story to write. I love the way they combine elements of humor, horror, and fantasy.
LSQ’s interview questions are very in-depth. They plumb the story’s characters, plot, and themes. I had never analyzed one of my own stories like that before. It felt kind of like dissection (which I love! former biology major here), and, at the same time, like hanging out with old friends (Jane and John).
I am now up to 10 published microfiction stories, with several more due out over the next few months. Check out my latest stories below!
Bad Kitty (Storytwigs, August 2021) A cat ruins a party in this tale of accidental terror.
In Concert (100-Word Fiction, July 2021) A pianist turns a birth defect into a fame-maker.
Exposing the Truth (Instant Noodles, July 2021) A diver shows off more than just her backflip.
I joke that I’ve had so much success with microfiction because I don’t have time to write anything longer. When you have two young kids and a full-time day job, the struggle to find writing time is real!
But the truth is, I enjoy micro for its own sake. It’s a fun challenge to squeeze a whole story into a tiny word count. It’s great for readers, too, especially ones who read on their smartphone in five-minute chunks while waiting at the dentist’s office or in line at the grocery store.
Readers, what books or stories did you love this summer?
In this modern world, could you survive without computers for an entire day?
My very own mom asked me that question when she read my latest story, Technically Speaking. My response? “Yes. If I were off in the woods. In my house it would be difficult!” Our home is pretty gadget-heavy, with at least a dozen devices connected to the wi-fi at any given time. Little House on the Prairie, we ain’t.
In the story, a couple bets each other that they can’t go a whole day without looking at a screen. The winner will choose the couple’s next vacation; the loser will pay for the trip. The stakes are high, and so is the difficulty, when they realize how dependent they are on devices.
There’s a lot of me and my husband in this story. He’s the gadget guy; I’m the Luddite who pooh-poohs new gadgets at first, until I realize how extremely freakin’ useful they are. Honey, I may have to be dragged into new technology sometimes, but I’m grateful to you for keeping me up to date. Without you, I might still have a flip phone and a mobile plan that charges for each text message.
Thanks, Fiction on the Web, for awarding the story “Pick of the Month”!
Are you annoyed by people who refuse to wear masks during a pandemic, but still want their surgeons and dentists wearing masks? So is Asclepius, the God of Science, and he’s got a few things to get off his brawny Athenian chest:
So I wrote 50,064 words in November, logging them at the National Novel Writing Month website, http://www.nanowrimo.org. Writing more than 50,000 words means that you “win” National Novel Writing Month. What do you “win”? Bragging rights, of course! Naturally, I have to show off my badge:
Do I have a finished, submission-ready novel? Definitely not. In fact, I stalled out on the novel mid-month and pivoted to writing several short stories instead. But the whole point of NaNoWriMo is to buckle down and crank out the words. The words can be edited later.
I had never written anything even close to 50k words in a month. Up to now, I’d only written short stories, a handful of essays, and the occasional not-too-sucky poem. It was a crazy ride and a lot of late nights, but it was worth it.
An author I met through a “flash mentoring” session earlier this year suggested I try NaNoWriMo. If it weren’t for her, I might not have tried it. If it weren’t for the pandemic, which meant no Thanksgiving travel, I might not have tried it. If it weren’t for my online writers’ groups, which is where I first learned about it, I might not have tried it. But I’ve risen to other writing challenges and got a lot out of them. So I tried it.
By about the third week, I was determined to succeed, sneaking in writing sprints at random times of the day, setting my alarm early to write even more, my night owl nature be damned.
Lessons learned: I wrote a novel-length quantity of words in a month while being a parent and working a full-time job. If I can do that once, I can do it again. The novel I worked on last month may not be the novel I ultimately finish. I have one or two others in my head. And now I’m a notch more confident that I can actually write a whole novel one day. Thanks NaNoWriMo, and to all the other writers who’ve been part of my world so far – I couldn’t have done this without you.
Hi, I’m Jen. Welcome to my writer’s blog! (Uh-oh, “writer’s blog” sounds a lot like “writer’s block”…)
As the next step in my writing endeavors over the years (Edit This Blog and Lawless Letters having come first), I’m now starting up this website as a portfolio of my writing and to establish an online presence as an author.
This site will provide:
Links to my published writing
Back story for some of my published pieces, e.g. how many times they were revised or rejected
News, contests, and other happenings
Any other writing-related stuff I come up with
This is the first site I’m building using WordPress rather than Blogger, and I gotta say, I am unimpressed by the clunkiness of the interface. It took me like 5 minutes just to figure out how to create a bulleted list. I find the “blocks” annoying and the navigation unintuitive. It is possible that I am a dinosaur (as the C64 image above will testify). It’s all good. Jen-o-Saurus Rex will figure it out one of these days.