Arsenal of Words

The Writing of Arthur Klepchukov

Category: Writing

“Why I Write” Published in Fiction Southeast

“Why I Write” is a brief reflection that earned me the Kevin Smokler Scholarship to the 2016 San Francisco Writers Conference. Today it takes on a second life over at Fiction Southeast, as part of their Why I Write series.

Why do you write? Read my answer in just 250 words over at Fiction Southeast.

Chris Tusa, the Editor, was quick and easy to work with! Though this piece was accepted almost eight months ago, I appreciated the follow-up email announcing it’s publication—on a holiday no less!

Fiction Southeast is also open to submissions in numerous categories.

“bleedin’ peach” Published in KYSO Flash

a red peach

Photo by Charles Deluvio 🇵🇭🇨🇦 on Unsplash

What can a newborn teach his father about shaving? To find out, read my latest flash fiction publication, “bleedin’ peach” in KYSO Flash.

What amount of effort went into getting “bleedin’ peach” published?

  • 3 drafts
  • 2 submissions
  • 1 encouraging rejection

These were exceptionally small, lucky numbers. I have stories that are approaching 30 submissions, so it’s lovely to experience quick publication magic in this case.

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Starting Shut Up & Write! D.C. Meetup

I’ve attended and hosted Shut Up & Write(!) meetups in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2013. Shut Up & Write(!) is a powerful concept. Whereas most casual writing events are focused on socializing, we get together and write. Our meetups are free and open to everyone. There’s no obligation to share or network; just do the work.

Shut Up & Write at Mo Joes

A few writing friends in Berkeley.

I’ve missed the writing community I left in San Francisco. But the Maryland suburbs by D.C. have their own creative charms. I’m reaching out to a local arts center, attending nearby writing meetups, and exploring what The Writer’s Center in Bethesda has to offer.

But there’s no Shut Up & Write(!) here. So I’m starting one.

I reached back out to my Bay Area friends, Cat and Rennie, the masterminds behind the concept. They were happy to help set up a new meetup group. As of this post, there are already 39 members. We have the first location happy to host us—the lovely Barking Mad Cafe in Gaithersburg (right next to a Little Free Library, no less). I’m eager to grow our writing community here.

barking-mad-pano

A glimpse of where I’ll be shutting up & writing for the first D.C. area meetup.

Are you in the D.C. area or know someone who is? I’ll be hosting the inaugural meetup near me in two days (Feb. 22) and then every foreseeable Thursday. Let’s make words together.

The Cost of Accomplishment

What do you focus on when you make New Year’s resolutions or broader goals? I tend to fixate on what I’ll gain. It’s less motivating to acknowledge what you’ll have to give up to make those gains, but it’s just as crucial. Consider all your goals. If they are to become accomplishments, they have to happen in some order. Order implies priority. Priority implies a few things first. What won’t make it over the finish line?

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My anti-resumé.

Speaking of sharing rejections, check out this anti-resumé.

monica byrne

landscape2

Within an hour of our IndieGogo campaign meeting its goal, I got a call telling me I’d been awarded a North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship. It’s a huge, huge honor. It’s also the fourth time I’ve applied for it, and to me, that’s part of why it’s an honor.

A couple years ago I was having dinner with a playwright, Bekah Brunstetter, and her director David Shmidt Chapman. We talked about how rejection is just part of the landscape for all beginning artists, no matter how talented or hardworking they might be or how successful they might appear. David said he’d love to publish his “anti-résumé” someday—a list of all the things he didn’t get.

Ever since, I’ve wanted to publish my own. So I’ve gone through the last six years’ worth of spreadsheets in both prose and playwriting, to literary journals, workshops, conferences, theaters, graduate schools, play…

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How I Declared Myself a ‘Rejection Expert,’ and Other Stories of Creative Reframing

Given my 78 submissions and 57 rejections this year, I found this timely reminder about the power of reframing.

The Rejection Survival Guide

I had a conversation with a friend recently where she told me that my whole “self-doubt demon” personification thing doesn’t really speak to her. She said it feels shallow, almost cutesy, and not like real coping.

It made me realize that if that’s all I was doing–personifying the voice of doubt in my head and making light of it–it probably wouldn’t work that well for me, either. There’s something deeper that has to happen.

Getting Comfortable with Failure

In my first post on Rejection Survival Guide, I wrote the following (emphasis from now):

I know what it’s like to be in the trenches. I’ve been there. I’m still there. I may be there forever. So I’m getting comfortable, setting up shop, and mapping this place out for those of you who haven’t gotten to know this place like I have.

And in my post for The Artist Unleashed

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Make Money with Your Fiction: Tips for Publication

A thoughtful take on short story submissions with specific cover letter advice.

I Just Want To Write!

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make-money

If you choose to work as a freelance writer, most of your work will be commissioned and dictated by other people. It still beats the hell out of other jobs, believe me, but the job sets inherent boundaries. You have to write content relevant to a client’s blog. You have to turn the client’s words into a coherent post, article, or book. If you choose to take the entirely traditional route and only pitch stories to magazines, you have far more control over the subject of your writing, but you probably aren’t pitching fiction or poetry. If you are, please tell me in the comments where and how you’re doing that because I would love to know.

Essentially, as a freelancer, your bread and butter comes from nonfiction pieces driven by the needs of a client. But there’s a high likelihood that if you’re a writer by trade, you also…

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Why I Write

The following is my winning entry to the Kevin Smokler Scholarship for the 2016 San Francisco Writers Conference (SFWC). The conference began yesterday and I’ve already gleaned a lot from a first day of connecting with insightful writers, editors, and agents! A huge thanks to Kevin Smokler for sponsoring the scholarship and SFWC’s Barbara Santos for sharing the great news.


 

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Listen to LitQuake 2015’s The Art of the Novel

Last month I attended LitQuake 2015’s excellent panel, The Art of the Novel. Thanks to Alex Green for moderating Cristina GarcíaBruce BaumanAlexis Landau, and Tiffany Baker. This panel was the same format as my previous post, The Art of the Short Story.

Interesting questions posed to the panelists:

  • How do you know an idea is a book?
  • Why are synopses so hard? How do they compare to outlines?
  • Are the character voices you hear simply your voice?
  • Where does the research end and the art begin?
  • Do your characters process what you’re trying to process?

Listen to the audio of the panel below.

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LitQuake 2015: The Art of the Short Story

This weekend I attended LitQuake 2015’s excellent panel, The Art of the Short Story. Thanks to Mark Peterson for moderating Jodi Angel, Tom Barbash, Grant Faulkner, and Siamak Vossoughi. This is a summary of my largely paraphrased notes.

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Why I Shut Up & Write

Where are you at 10:00am sharp on Saturday mornings? Sleeping in? Waking up? Waiting for brunch? I’m usually grabbing a seat at Mo Joe’s Cafe for a Shut Up & Write! marathon. To make it on time, I have to wake up before 8 in sleepy San Francisco to catch a just-shy-of-9 train that whisks me away to Berkeley and a spot at Mo Joe’s. Why do I bother? That first check-in.

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Worldcon 2015 Highlights

Last week, I took a pair of trains from San Francisco, CA to Spokane, WA, for Worldcon / Sasquan, my first big writing con. Two local writing friends spearheaded the trip and I jumped on an opportunity to have another scenic journey and soak up what I could!

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Nomad, my first short film

A couple meets for coffee on the last day of their relationship.

Funnel

The only sound was the creaking of the escalator. The platform was sparsely populated for a late Monday afternoon in September. Everyone was looking for tomorrow with quiet eyes. But me. I gazed away from where the train would emerge, not caring when it would come because I couldn’t control it.

A short guy in a tattered sweater descended on the escalator. He wore old shades and looked like Christian Slater in some forgotten 90s flick in the back row of a video store. Stubble all the more pronounced in the afternoon sun squeezing through the rusty, unwashed windows. I checked my chin for a five o’clock shadow. Still clean shaven.

A voluptuous lady in a summer dress stared back at me, wondering if I was staring at her breasts. I wasn’t. Just looking for signs of life. Heart beating under dark dress shirt.

A homeless man wandered around, scanning the ground for shimmering value. Eyes skimmed my polished shoes. Nothing in my pockets that I felt like sharing. Couldn’t save him. Or vice versa.

The train came. Vomited a few souls and then swallowed ours. Dusk faded on the dancing landscape past the windows. The airport was loud, or so I imagined at the sight of planes. Ticket check. Pocket check. Weapons check. And up. And down. Arrived at my first funeral and wondered how much longer I’d be traveling.

I’m Not a Writer, I Write

The question “Are you a writer?” always makes me uncomfortable. Some days I don’t write. Does that mean I’m not a writer on those days? Where does the expectation of writing every day come from? Did I find it true for myself? Did I unconsciously assume it as part of some vague notion of what a writer is? What benefit have I derived from that expectation? From saying “I’m a writer?” At this point, I usually scoff in frustration at this black hole of semantics, philosophy, and identity and settle for the simplest answer that makes the most sense: I write. And I write, without worrying about what I am.

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The Medium of First Drafts Doesn’t Matter

I was recently seduced by a typewriter. It happened while I was watching Finding Forrester. The typewriter came on screen and it intrigued me the way a record player or an old computer might. Something inside me said, this is how they did it before for years and years. No sexy, overpriced multitasking machine with tweets, browser tabs, chats, games, and a thousand other lovely modern distractions. Just the keys, the pages, and me. I could almost feel my fingertips resting on the loud and ancient keyboard. I pictured setting up a new writing area in my apartment somewhere in a comfortable corner by a window overlooking the foggy hills. How many more drafts could I finish if I just had this dandy distraction-free machine?

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The Data Hiding Inside Ebooks

I recently met with one of the founders of a startup pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in ebooks. We discussed what impact more technology and better insight into reader behavior would have on publishing. Could books be more like web sites or apps in that regard? Would that be a better experience for readers, writers, and publishers?

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