Published on July 14, 2007 by

Today was the annual Odyssey Slam at the Barnes & Noble in Nashua, NH. Each student had to read a flash fiction piece in five minutes or less (although there was some flexibility on that point.)

The stories were very entertaining, and it was great to see the improvement in people’s writing.

My original plan was to read a revised version of the 1000-word story I wrote a few weeks ago, but in the last few days I started leaning against that. So last night I began working on a more humorous piece, as I’ve noticed that humor tends to go over very well at readings.

This morning I got up and decided that piece wouldn’t work, because it was too cliched (It was a punchline-type story, and I Googled the punchline and saw a couple of similar stories.) and because the story itself would be too serious before the punchline.

So I looked at revising some of my unpublished flash pieces, and none of them appealed to me. Then I looked at the possibility of chopping down my story “Bird-Dropping and Sunday,” which always gets a good reception at readings, but decided there was no way I could cut half the story.

Finally, before deciding to just go with the original plan, I went over my lists of titles and story seeds, and came across “dragon accountant,” which was a seed I had jotted down sometime in the past couple of weeks, based on a comment by someone (I think it was author Michael Arnzen) about dragon accountants.

So I wrote an 800-word story entitled “Accounting for Dragons,” and read it at the slam. It went over pretty well, and got a few laughs in the right places, which is always a good thing.

Oh, and it’s the first story of mine that was mostly written using Dragon Naturally Speaking (Hah! I had not noticed the dragon coincidence until just now) voice recognition software instead of typing. David Weber, author of my favorite book series, uses Dragon Naturally Speaking to dictate his novels, and so I bought the software a week before coming to Odyssey. I’ve used it for bits of some of the earlier stories I’ve written here, and for most of the written critiques I’ve given to the other students. I think I’ll be using it fairly extensively in the future.

Filed under: General

5 comments on “Slam”

  1. RoAnn says:

    Whew! I’m so glad that you managed to finish a short story you were happy about for the reading.

    Your post was so suspenseful that I became very anxious–will EJS manage to revise or write something suitable in time for the slam, or not?!? Does the title of the post mean that he hit a grand slam at the reading, or was “slammed” because his reading fell flat.

    If you can make a blog post this gripping, I’d say that humor is not your only forte. :)

  2. Wish I could have been there for the flash slam. Sounds like you had a hair-pulling last-minute moment of stress…that resulted in cool new work and a successful reading! Deadlines can do that. Congratulations! And happy to hear that some bizarre sound byte from my visit helped out in a teensy way.

    You need to read that \”Accounting for Dragons\” story dictated over Dragon Naturally Speakint at Dragon*con to come full circle…muhahaha.

    I had a fabulous time at Odyssey with all of you guys. Please pass my well-wishes around to everyone.

    Cheers Eric,
    Mike Arnzen

  3. Alethea says:

    Cool beans Eric! Anything that forces you to write more is tops in my book. ;)

    I’m glad the slam went well…boy, you must be exhausted!!

  4. […] for Dragons” is the story I wrote for the Odyssey Slam last […]

  5. […] wrote "Accounting for Dragons" at the Odyssey workshop last year, to read at the Odyssey Slam. Published Thursday, April 10, 2008, at 12:48 […]