become an editor, absolutely FREE!

Here's the deal, amigorinos: I need to pick short stories for a book I'll be putting out in a couple months as part of a kickstarter campaign. I was going to wait on this until I had all fifty-two stories in the can, but as I need to get to editing right away, I am asking you to help me in the selection process by commenting on which stories you feel absolutely have to make the cut. If you've been following along, I'd love your input.

So far, I've written forty-six stories (one of those was a two-parter, but we'll let that slide), totaling around 106,000 words.

In random order, these are the stories I'm considering for inclusion...

  1. Sept. 16: The Hookup (A farm family is changed forever when the internet man comes to town) – 435 words
  2. Mar. 26: Spoiled (An author, depressed over perceived failure in writing and relationship, hallucinates and attempts suicide) – 1,705
  3. Mar. 11: The Day the Bear Ate Pappy (A tall tale in which brothers go treeplanting to prove their manliness to their father, and end up watching him get ‘et) – 3,245
  4. Mar. 4: Blackbird Train (A Vonnegut-esque story in which two people make a connection whilst stuck on a train careening toward derailment) – 3,785
  5. Feb. 25: Red Gold (A young tribal boy dies in a conflict brought about when an oil man impregnates his sister) – 2,384
  6. Feb. 11: Zaphod (In a Douglas-Adams-esque sci-fi parody, an undercover duck participates in the chicken-takeover of the Universe) – 1,878
  7. Feb. 4: Love, In a Taxi (Two lovers are re-united in a taxi, only to plunge – with the driver – to their deaths) – 1,410
  8. Aug. 9: A Thinly-Veiled Grey (A third-culture kid goes to a class reunion hoping to show how much things have changed, and ends in a fistfight after being sucked back into his highschool self’s headspace) – 2,056
  9. Jul. 29: When Twice Again they Died (The death of a child, told through the eyes of his teddy bear) – 2,157
  10. Jul. 22: Hydra (A guy who is death-to-automobiles recovers his stolen car, only to watch it ruined – and the thief killed – in a lightning strike) – 2,008
  11. Jul. 15: The Hunt (After shooting a squirrel, a kid finds that the glories of hunting aren’t all he’d dreamed) – 2,266
  12. Jul. 8: Plink (An uprooted boy just starting to find joy at his new boarding school is brutally disappointed when the girl he is with has a terrible accident) – 2,223
  13. Jun. 24: Muted (A man who’s saved his whole life to buy a farm finds his dreams dashed in one, fateful night) – 1,274
  14. Jun. 17: A Grizzly Bear on Columbia Street (A societal satire in which a marauding grizzly bear is ignored until he diverts his attention from a city’s homeless to one of its wealthier denizens) – 2,356
  15. May 17: Immortality (A treeplanting superstar saves his brother’s life by sacrificing himself during an encounter with a grizzly) – 4,563
  16. Oct. 7: The Apple and the Oak (An apple and an oak tree become friends, and then deal in their own ways with the separation entailed by their mortality) – 1,163
  17. Sept. 30: The Strange Case of Benson T. Hueson and the Morning Paper (Everything gets turned around for Mr. Hueson, until his future-telling paper ceases to prognosticate) – 3,084
  18. Sept. 9: Bottlecap Billy (An autistic guy, confused about where money comes from, attempts to rob a bank and is tragically killed) – 2,980
  19. Sept. 3: Vocation (A painter, frustrated at the perceived failure of a show, destroys his own work) – 1,612
  20. Aug. 26: Perspective (A weird, existentialist experiment in which a guy who’d fantasized about the cowboy life dies from being shot in the gut) – 1,528
  21. Oct. 21: The Horsefly (A treeplanter eats a horsefly to amuse a young boy, and finds meaning in suffering) –
  22. Apr. 15: Loyalty (Some hutterite boys learn a lesson about loyalty, grace and forgiveness while shoveling pig manure as punishment) – 3,146
  23. Apr. 29: Exist (In an existentialist, story-within-a-story experiment, a young man gradually realizes that he is a figment of this author’s imagination) – 2,903
  24. Oct. 28: Butterball (A streetwise, train-hopping kid returns to his grandparents' house looking for a leg up and instead finds a dog skeleton and a cold reception) – 2,351
  25. Apr. 8: Extranjero (A kid gets hit with a stone while freeing fish from a net in Peru) – 1,382
  26. Nov. 25: Parabolic (The Good Samaritan on the beach dies saving a Mexican) – 2,320
  27. Nov. 10: Sanctuary (A lapsed church attendee walks out of a megachurch for good, after surviving a choking incident) – 1,784
  28. Nov. 4: Crossing the Border (A guy discovers his own racism when he goes to Mexico and gets a root canal on the wrong tooth.) – 1,858
  29. Dec. 2: Two-Winter’s Fall (A story of elves, in which a boy and a girl shoot the same bird in a time of hunger) – 3,456
  30. Dec. 9: Into that Good Night (A high school teacher sacrifices himself to save a student from a shooting) – 2589
  31. Dec. 16: It Has No Future but Itself (A treeplanter finds hope, while weathering a storm of affliction, through an unexpected vision on a stormy day) – 2,616
  32. Dec. 30: Sliced in Two (A young boy deals with the agony of discovering that the girl he loved is no longer the person she once was) – 1049
  33. Jan. 6: The Epiphany (A boy, bored out of his mind in church, gets a welcome reprieve in the form of a whistler, a bat, and an angry bible-swing) – 2,350
  34. Jan. 14: Conventional (A politician, two dogs, and a stage manager from the sky collide in this story of angry rhetoric and the downfall of western society) – 3,300
  35. Mar. 18: Supernova (An actor is accidentally put in a coma by an extra, who goes to jail for a crime he didn’t really commit) – 3,070
...and these are the stories I'm already planning on cutting.

1. Apr. 1: Fear Itself (A game designer discovers enlightenment after living through a weird alien apocalypse) – 2,822
2. Feb. 18: Obey (A hyper kid is drugged into submission) – 605
3. Jul. 1: Curious George Gets Angry (A satirization of the inaccuracies in children’s literature, based on the characters in the Curious George books) – 729
4. Jun. 3: Pongo (A teenage boy proves himself to his father on a rafting trip in the Amazon) – 6,965
5. May 20: Supernova, chapter 2 (Told from the film star’s perspective as she is waking from her coma) – 1,142
6. May 14: Hoppit: or Just There, Mostly (A mashup of children’s stories, about a rabbit whose wisdom saves his life, but not his brothers’) – 2,892
7. May 6: Cheesecake (Short film script) – 1,519
8. Oct. 14: Shiggles McGee the Biting Tree (A man buys a biting tree to rid himself of squirrels and gets more than he bargained for) – 2,336
9. Aug. 19: Big Fish (A journalist, investigating a shark found in the woods in Maine, uncovers a disturbing story) – 2,524
10. Nov. 18: Open Seating (A server in a restaurant quits because of racist patrons) – 2128

For now, what I'm looking for is fresh eyes in the selection process. Is there a story I'm cutting that you really liked? One I'm thinking of including that you really didn't? If so, please tell me why in the comments. It's hard for me to be objective at this point, so if you can help me out, I surely would appreciate it.

Sincerest thanks,

The Management.


  1. 1,5,8,9,15,21,25,26,27,28,29,31 are my favorites. I actually kinda liked 10 (on the cut list). I confess there were a few I never finished reading. I can say more soon, baby was sick all week so am very behind on computer stuff.

  2. Thanks! I actually waffled on 10, myself, and eventually switched it over, because the only response I got to it was confusion - and I've a weak, easily-influenced personality.

    I'll keep it in mind, and I'd love to hear any other thoughts you might have.

  3. parabolic and the one where the bear killed joben.

  4. Hi Josh, the perpetrator :) Am I too late to tell you my favorites? I liked 8,15,26,28,29,30,33. I didn't get to read some of your earlier ones and haven't yet finished reading "Conventional." What happens after you're finished writing all fifty-two?? I'll miss your fiction if it goes away!

  5. Josh, I had been nursing this hope that your next project would be to pick your top 12 or so stories from this past year and spend the next year editing them up to a high polish - glad to see you are doing something along these lines! :-) I have a specific input on the first story on the list about the internet comes to town - I think fundamentally I'm suspicious of the sharp dichotomy you set up there, because there's a continuum - did this family not have TV? Most rural/farm families I know have had TV forever, often even satellite dish. My grandfather used to fall asleep watching PBS in the evenings. My uncle never misses the 6:00 news because of the weather reports. What is fundamentally different about the internet vs. TV? The pre-internet world you portray looks more to me like a pre-TV world. Just my 2 cents.

    1. Obviously I don't mean literally "forever," but ever since TV was invented.

  6. Thanks, Leah. In answer to your question... nothing lasts forever (thank God!)

    I'm actually not writing one this week. Grades are due, and I just couldn't swing it. I also decided to stop at the end of the year, rather than going past just to make the 52-mark. I'm sure I'll eventually get back to it, but I'm getting really, really tired of writing them, and I realized that even though I'll have missed a few weeks, I've done as much as I could given the circumstances.

    Elizabeth, I appreciate that thought. I'll keep it in mind. I also remember your (correct, I think) hunch that I needed to hack the first paragraph off the beginning of that mexico root canal story. I've got a superb offer of some copy-editing by a couple of professionals, so I'm looking forward to seeing what they have to say.

    I'm going to try to hyper-polish a bunch of the stories, then pick my absolute favorites and blitz the journals - maybe this summer - in hopes of getting some publication credits to get some attention maybe for my memoir, or for a collection, or at least an agent for the novel I'll eventually write in between movies. Right now I'm pretty swamped with producing a short film, and studying and writing screenplays.

    Plus, I need to be giving more attention to my actual job.

    Anyway... thanks for the feedback.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts