Wake Up and Smell the Fiction

Coffee Beans, Lares, Puerto Rico ©2016 Ronald C. Flores-Gunkle

I have been wandering around Medium trying to find a place where I fit in as an aspiring serious writer of fiction (Full disclosure: I also write poetry and non-fiction pieces, but have found homes for them.) It has been really difficult.

I have read many comments, rants, raves, opinions, anecdotes, memoirs, musings, advice, etc. etc., but fiction, good fiction, literary fiction, stories that capture my attention, captivate me, make me feel “I wish could write like that” or “I want to learn from that” are rare.

Example: click on fiction on almost any publication on Medium and most of what you will see is anything but fiction. A story about your grandmother’s baking is not fiction. The truly amazing thing your son said or your cat did is not fiction. A heartfelt recounting of your failed relationship is probably not fiction.

I write for The Weekly Knob and enjoy the challenge of creating a story — fiction — based on a prompt. I really enjoy reading the often brilliant variations on the theme some of the writers come up with.

I am writing on 100 Naked Words, because I enjoy this kind of “story,” it flexes my thinking muscle and helps me keep in shape. Also: I thrive on deadlines. But this is not fiction.

Writing to a prompt or a creative column is one thing (well, two); creating an original story, born in the miasma of my mind, carefully crafted over a period of time, polished for presentation to careful readers — that is something else.

It may very well be my newbie status (is that the right word? I am old). I have not been on Medium very long and most of that time I have spent writing, browsing and reading the good stuff I have found, and (too often) commenting on things I like or don’t like. I simply may not have been looking at the right places.

If that is true, hear my plea and steer me straight. What is it exactly I would like to find? Here is my one and only list…or listicle — that funny word writers use on Medium.

  1. A publication for fiction writers: flash, literary, other genres, any length from flash to (short?) novellas. Requirement: the submissions must be fiction. It doesn’t have to be the whole publication. It can be a tab on the publication that reads something like “Fiction Only.” But it should be fiction only.
  2. A place where readers react to what they read, in private notes, comments, stories on the stories. Active reactions, corrections, questions, contradictions.
  3. A group of beta readers, people who read each other’s work and comment thoughtfully, helpfully, critically, but kindly.
  4. A workshop where like-minded fiction writers come to work.

That’s it. Can someone tell me where I should look?

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Shameless self-promotion: Here is a shortcut to all my stories on Medium.

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