Small Thoughts Review: Chisel and Chime by Alex Irvine

Chisel and ChimeĀ by Alex Irvine is a low-fantasy novella published inĀ The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction’s, Jan/Feb 2020 issue. It is both a cunningly crafted framed story, in which one story is told, bracketed by another–both of which are equally enthralling. In the end, both tie together in a satisfying conclusion of beautiful storytelling.

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January/February 2020 ...

It’s rare for a piece of fantasy to tackle subjects of artistic beauty. The difficulty is stories about artists that are not writers can devolve into cliche descriptions of their paints, sculptures, etc, etc. While the protagonist of this piece is, indeed, a sculpture, the narrative of the artist at work is broken up into sections that alternate with an action-oriented story. I don’t mean action as in action-movie, but rather, a person moving from place to place, trying to confront their problems and find a place in the world.

The piece centers on two people of vastly different life experiences and throws in the third type of life on their periphery, though it is that peripheral life and the privilege it is provided that sticks the whole story together like with glue. In this way, Chisel and Chime is an exposition on the way the privilege of a few, or in this story’s case, one, dictates the life course of so many. It’s a timely and thought-provoking piece, wonderfully told. It’s definitely one of my favorite novellas I’ve ever read, and I encourage everyone to check it out if they can.

Summer Writing Project Now Live

Hello! I’m happy to announce that the first two chapters of my novella, The Night Sputnik Flew are now available to read on as part of the Summer Writing Project. I’m hoping to publish once every-other day or so. Each post is a new chapter/minichapter of my novella. Readers are encouraged to comment, critique, ask questions about the story, and more. I’m all for constructive criticism, so lay it on thick if you have the time/chance to do so. I have thick skin. If you do enjoy the piece, please leave a +1 behind and a comment as well. I don’t know what that accomplishes exactly, but whoever is picked by Jukepop and 1888 Center (a publisher) at the end of August, will have their novella published as a paperback. I don’t expect to be picked, but I’d love to have some exposure and if you like the piece please pass the word on to friends.

Here’s a little synopsis of what The Night Sputnik Flew is about:

The first night Sputnik flew, Sadie lost her faith. Now 18, she stands her ground against the only person she has left, her father, Michael. However, Michael is an old man from an old world–technology is an frontier he’s unprepared for. The confrontation reopens old wounds and as the past and present meld, both Sadie and Michael stand on the brink of the future, an oblivion neither of them are ready for.

Sure–that’s a bullshit synopsis, but it sounds alright–it’s got a nice flow, maybe. So, anyway, please do check it out if you have the time. Just click this link here, vote for me (pretty please) and pass along the word–Oh, and comment, let me know if you have a piece up for the Summer Writing Project also, so I can vote up your story as well.

It’s good to be back at the writer’s desk–I have some big news, or at least good news on its way tomorrow, so stay tuned.


Summer Writing Project

So, after mulling the pros and cons, trying to understand the value of publishing something online, I’ve decided to give it a go. Today marks the beginning of the Summer Writing Project, which is a collaboration between 1888 Center (a publisher) and Jukepop, an online story telling social network that allows writers to publish their stories in a serialized version online where readers can comment, critique, or just simply read along as the story develops. From June 1st-31st, the writing process/posting session is open in the Jukepop website. From July 1st-31st is the workshop sessions in which each story is looked over and 25 top stories are selected. Then, in August, one story out of all the others is selected as the winner and is published by 1888 Center as a stand alone novella. Oh yeah, this is all for novellas.

Now I was a little skeptical about this situation. I felt as though publishing something I’ve worked for a year or two on, or more, on the internet seems to devalue it in some ways. But this isn’t necessarily the case. Not if I enjoy writing it. Of course I’d love to send my novella to a publisher and have them pick it up and publish it through conventional channels. But the difficulties of the form doesn’t lend itself well to traditional publishers, or the avenues they work in. So, I ask myself, why not? It will be an interesting experience to put something up and see if it gets the backing it needs to survive. I don’t particularly like competitions when it comes to fiction. I much rather encourage others, build relationships and enjoy a community that benefits everyone. Symbiotic. And while this project might pit writers against each other, a little, I think it’s more important to remember that the whole thing is about having fun writing what you love and reaching SOME readers, rather than ALL the readers. If one person likes your piece, my piece, any piece enough to then check out what else that author has written, then it’s probably worthwhile. That’s how important fiction can be to people. And that’s why one reader should be more than enough for any author.