Stage Fright: Getting Over My Fear of Letting Others Read My Writing

One of my New Year's resolutions is to get over my fear of putting my writing out there. Another is to be more active on social media, so here I am blogging. One of these resolutions is much, much easier than the other.

This fear of exposure via writing is not unique to me. Among writers it may be the second most basic of writer problems, coming in second place to "make writing your job" (which will definitely be my resolution in 2017, cross my heart and hope to die [before 2017]).

So I have decided to use social media to keep me honest on the harder resolution: to expose my writing. Thankfully, The Bradbury Challenge podcast over at Literary Roadhouse can help me without knowing they're helping me (unless they read this; hi, guys!). During the month of February I will write a new short story every week with them, and track my progress on here and Twitter. In March, I will spend one week revising each story and then publish the four stories every Tuesday. You can keep me honest.

Though my honesty has limits. I'm writing four stories and there are five Tuesdays in March. You'll notice I have a built-in cheat system. Real talk: I can only work on my flaws four out of five weeks at a time.

I would be very excited if other writers took this challenge with me. You can cheat for one week too!



Literary Roadhouse: Podcast Micro Network

Let's get this out of the way: I have not blogged in over a year. I am bad at blogging.*

Good news: Literary Roadhouse is better at podcasting than I am at blogging.

Just shy of a year ago Literary Roadhouse started publishing weekly discussions of literary short stories. Today, LRH has expanded into a micro network with three shows.

  1. The original, the grandpappy (at only a year old), Literary Roadhouse: One Short Story Once a Week.
  2. Literary Roadhouse Book Club, a monthly discussion of full-length novels. Listen on February 5th to hear Maya Goode (@quotidianlight), Gerald Hornsby (@AuthorGerald), guest host Roz Morris (@Roz_Morris), and me discuss Lauren Groff's Fates and Furies.
  3. The Bradbury Challenge, where Maya, Gerald, and Crissy Moss (@crissymoss) attempt to write a new short story every week, then share their experience with you.

And keep your eyes peeled for a fourth show coming soon in 2016.

Do you need a hint
About what the topic is?
Honolulu calls.

For more information about the Literary Roadhouse micro network visit

*among other things, like tweeting. read my non-tweets and bad-tweets @anaisconce

What is The Fair World?

A working title for my novel; and the nickname given to a massive super power in our near future (if our future decides to mimic my alternate universe.) It may not be the novel's final title, but for now this is the name the project has possessed in my head.

I started writing The Fair World in September 2014. Before attempting this project, I always assumed that when the time came to write a novel, I would write magical realism. Then I started writing, and I found myself speculating into the near future. It wasn't very magical, but I loved it just the same. I started with setting. Before characters, I had new forms of government, new borders, but not much of a story. A slow start to my novel. I do not recommend this process!

Eventually I did find characters, and a plot too, of course.  After all, character is plot; plot is character. I started outlining and plotting scenes. I drafted my first few chapters, and several late scenes. But as I wrote, I realized that much of my political prewriting, that original setting, would barely surface in my story. I hit Hemingway's iceberg.

Plot will only employ the ideas that help tell its story. Plots can be fickle like that. But I want to tell stories that cover more of my world than my novel can. In the novel, a young journalist, native to The Fair World hegemony, is sent on assignment beyond its borders to a floating city with questionable political ideals and plenty of enemies. I'll write more on the novel in future posts. But what of those left behind? What of the retired? Or the laborers? Nurses, politicians, prisoners, drug addicts, teenagers, city planners, soap opera stars, and dog show enthusiasts?

I created this blog to tell those stories, set in the same universe as The Fair World, but hidden from the novel's narrative. I hope you enjoy them as much as I love telling them.

Birth of a Podcast - Literary Roadhouse

Christmas came twice this season, the second time in the form of Maya Goode.

I "met" Maya late last year through an online writing community. She reviewed a couple of my WIP's chapters. I skimmed a few of her posts on the website's sprawling message board. We exchanged a handful of private messages, but hardly formed any sort of working relationship.

Yeah, I'm being coy about the website's name, but I couldn't tell you why. My coyness is instinctual. While I tend to trust my instinct, I never had much of a knack for explaining it. It's smarter than me. It certainly recognized talent and wit in Maya long before I could assign those descriptors to her. I just liked her, from the gut. And then I went about my first Christmas. Normal, fun, nothing to see here, carry on. 

And then last week Maya posted a message on the coyly-guarded site's forum asking for cohosts for a literary fiction podcast. It didn't have a name yet. It didn't have a structure. It only had Maya's passion and experience producing other podcasts. She had one other cohost in mind, but I could tell she was sailing this ship solo.

Undeterred by my lack of experience, I immediately sent her a private message. As I waited for her response, I engaged in an ugly cost-benefit analysis of whether or not I should post on her thread. On the kind hand, it's the generous, collaborative thing to do. On the bratty hand, the more people who read her message, the more people with whom I must compete for the post of literary podcast host. I wanted it that badly.

Maya got back to me so quickly that I didn't have time to do the wrong thing. We scheduled a video call for the following Monday - as in, yesterday. Maya, unsatisfied by the readers' podcasts available, told me about her vision for a weekly podcast that would discuss literary short stories. The goal is to introduce readers at all levels to smart fiction, in bite size pieces.

The call went so well that I started daydreaming about my role in the podcast even though she hadn't quite given me the greenlight. Doesn't matter! Fantasy doesn't bother with facts. I was already touring writing conventions with Maya, in my head if nowhere else.

Today we connected over video again. This time spontaneously, and for hours. We brainstormed, signed off, then kept chatting over Twitter and Gchat for the rest of the day. We have a podcast name: Literary Roadhouse. Domain name? Bought. Twitter handle reserved. YouTube channel created. Other cohosts scouted. I made this site.

So ready. So excited.

Watch this space.