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  • Writer's pictureElaine Marie Carnegie

A Writer's Journey With Steven Carr

I am a day late posting our Guest Author this week. My apologies... I was out of internet range on a Christmas Hide-away. Wishing you all the very best of Holidays! Without further ado, here is our Guest Author this week. Mr Steven Carr.

This is about my struggles with writing.

Actually, I don’t really struggle with writing. The 360 stories of mine – new and reprints – published since June, 2016 attests to my ability to produce short stories the way a hyper-productive chicken produces eggs. There’s a reason for that. Picture this: me, a teenage boy in high school English class with a heart-pounding crush on the teacher is told by her that I have talent as a writer. Being gullible enough to believe every word she uttered, and not having the money – I came from a poverty-level family situation – to attend college, I enlisted in the Army immediately after graduation and was accepted in the (somewhat) renowned Defense Information School to be trained as a military journalist because, thanks to the aforementioned English teacher, I had the prerequisite skills to spend three years pounding away on a typewriter. I’m as old as dust. We didn’t have computers for that kind of use back then.

I’ll skip over the next forty-one years other than to say that in those ensuing years I honed the craft of writing by majoring in college in English/Theater, spending a lot of years writing grants for non-profit organizations, wrote some pretty decent plays that were produced in several states, including for my own theatrical production company. This brings us back to 2016. I was mentoring a college student who had an interest in writing short story fiction. I hadn’t written a short story since college and I didn’t feel entirely comfortable teaching him the process of writing and submitting a story without having done it myself, so I wrote one and submitted it to an ezine. It was immediately accepted. Thus, the rocket to a modicum of success was launched.

I’m a traditionalist when it comes to writing short stories, which is my niche. I have written and self-published one novel but I hated the entire process. It sorely tested my short attention span. I believe a good short story has to contain most of the elements of what makes a short story work and publish-worthy: characters, setting, plot, conflict and resolution.

A short story writer MUST know how to self-edit their work, meaning have a good grasp of grammar and punctuation as well as how to edit for story continuity and construction and how to do basic research (Google and Wikipedia makes that very simple) for any topic they aren’t familiar with. And writers should read and take time to travel, observe the minutiae of details around them. I have a strict rule that no one sees a story I’ve written until its published because I don’t want another person’s “voice” to influence mine. If there are mistakes, the editor of the publication I submit it to will let me know (that’s why they’re there) or they will reject the story outright. I have no difficulty with having a story rejected. Not intending to sound flippant, but a rejection email does not kill anyone.

BIO: Steve Carr, lives in Richmond, Virginia, and has had over 360 short stories published internationally in print and online magazines, literary journals, reviews and anthologies since June, 2016. Five collections of his short stories, Sand, Rain, Heat, The Tales of Talker Knock and 50 Short Stories: The Very Best of Steve Carr, have been published. His paranormal/horror novel Redbird was released in November, 2019. His plays have been produced in several states in the U.S. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize twice. His Twitter is @carrsteven960.

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