Tag Archives: Writing

Writing Redemption

As the editor of FiftyWordStories.com, I receive a lot of different submissions from a lot of different people. I publish some of them and turn down others, for a wide variety of reasons. Every time I turn down a story, I try to share my reasons for the rejection in a helpful and encouraging way.

Writing these “rejection letters” sometimes turns into an opportunity to share something that I think more writers should be aware of, or think about. Today I had one of those opportunities, and I wanted to share my response here.

I hope this response will be useful and encouraging to you, whether you’re a writer/author or not.

I wrote this email in response to a story submission that was fairly dark and hopeless…

Hi [author],

Thanks for sending this in. I hope it isn’t too closely reflective of your personal experiences…

With “dark” stories, I always go back to something one of my high school teachers told me. I showed him a dark story I’d written, based on a nightmare I’d had. He asked me where the story’s “redemption” was.

It didn’t have one.

I think this story is in a similar place. Life can be dark sometimes, and writing, as a reflection of life, can certainly go to those dark places, too. But as authors and artists, I think it’s important that we find a way to make those dark spots count for something. There should be meaning, hope, growth, or redemption of some sort in the dark things that we write, some kind of encouragement or a call to action, or even a cry for help.

This story is simply a descent into hopelessness, without any of those redemptive elements I just described. I’d like to encourage you to move beyond the darkness of a story like this and find a way to bring out a positive of some kind. Maybe that means finding something to hope in or hope for. Maybe it means calling people to come and do something to make a change or challenge the darkness. Or maybe the only thing you can do is turn it into a cry for help. (For an example of this, see Psalm 88.)

So thanks again for submitting. I won’t be using this story on the site, but I hope sending this in has allowed you to express what you needed to express, and I hope you’re able to find some redemption through your writing in the future.

Tim Sevenhuysen

Getting Back in the Swing of Things

Remember when I used to write all kinds of stuff and share it on this blog?

Seems like a long time ago, but I’m finally starting to get back into some of that. The ball has been starting to roll again over the last couple of weeks…

Here are a couple of things I’ve got on the go right now:

I’ve also got some thoughts to share on a couple of movies I watched recently, so I’ll try to put that together soon.

My Authorial State of Being

What have I been up to lately? My blog hasn’t been very revealing on that front, so here’s an attempt to shed some light on my current authorial state of being.

You may have noticed that my fiction output has dropped off dramatically over the past couple of months. There are multiple reasons for that. Losing Freight ended, I completed Year Three of Fifty-Word Stories, and I took a break from the Year of Stories to recharge my batteries. Basically, the natural endings of a couple of projects coincided with some creative burnout. Any reasonable person could have seen that coming, probably: writing 12 unique posts per week (averaging over 8,000 words) across four different “franchises”, while also trying to make headway on my novel, was way too much.

I think I can improve on my current output (I’m only working actively on Special People right now), but by the time I’m ready to ramp things up again, some life circumstances may change, and the time I have available for writing may be diminished. So I don’t want to make any promises or predictions about timelines on different projects, but I do want to assure people that I intend to finish off the Year of Stories eventually, and put together Fifty-Word Stories: Volume Three, and do enough rewrites/tweaks to Losing Freight and the early Special People story arcs to make them publishable, and…

Yeah. See my problem?

I’ve also been podcasting every week (and then every other week, except for some recent inconsistencies), but I think it’s time to put that little side project to rest. The effort-to-audience ratio isn’t high enough to justify it right now.

I want to thank everyone for their support and patience while I try to get some of the big items on my to-do list checked off. I hope you’re enjoying the new Special People content I put out twice a week, and as soon as I’m able to start getting more new stories out to you, I intend to do so. Until then, I’ll do my best to keep everyone updated on my progress towards the various releases I’m working on.