What Makes us Confabulators

When we embarked upon this experiment a year ago, I’m not sure any of us were sure exactly what we were doing, or where we were going. The Cafe has evolved a lot since then, and we continue to define what it is we do with every assignment. I’ve learned something new about myself and my writing each week, not only because I’m forced to look closely at my process for each assignment, but also by reading how my fellow writers approach their craft. I think I’ve learned as much from them as I have from myself.

One or two specific assignments stand out in my memory, but my absolute favorite category has been Confabulation. Before last year, I had focused primarily on novel-length works. I hadn’t written a short story since my creative writing classes in college. I hadn’t any experience writing anything shorter than around ten-thousand words. When I was introduced to flash fiction, I was both intrigued and intimidated. The economy of words you have to use to get your point across and tell a complete story in a thousand words has enabled me to hone my writing skills to a level I never would have reached before.

Not only that, but I actually have a body of completed work. I was introduced to the world of short story publication last year, and I even had two of my short stories accepted since I began the submission process. It’s been a rush similar to that of a gambling addict, has given me more confidence in my ability as a writer, and has netted me about $17 so far.

The weekly assignments have challenged me as a writer and resulted in a lot of introspection about my craft, but aside from that, it has also kept me in touch with writing. In previous years, I’d write my novel every November, but then I’d put it away and only think every so often how I really should keep writing throughout the rest of the year. The Cafe has insisted I do so, even on those days I didn’t think I had it in me.

My two favorite assignments, other than every flash fiction prompt, have been the character interview – which for some ended up being another sort of flash fiction – and the discussion about our editing process.

For the character interview, Ashley’s post Everything In Its Place stood out the most to me. It was an amazing little teaser that made me want to read the rest of the story. For the editing process assignment, Rachel’s post How to Self-Edit for Non-Pantsters stuck with me the most. I have no editing process to speak of, so I was very interested to see how one of our published authors approached it. I took copious notes and will be following her process this year as I stumble through two of my novels and develop my own process.

I’m so proud of our Confabulators for whole-heartedly committing to this website for the past year, and I am so excited to see what we all come up with this coming year: the stories that will be told, the processes shared, the opinions discussed, and the relationships we have built with each other.

Yes, we are all confabulators by nature – we make things up and write them down – but our commitment to this website and each other is what makes us Confabulators.

Sara is a Kansas-grown author of the fantasy and horror persuasions. She is convinced that fantastical things are waiting for her just around the corner, and until she finds the right corner, she writes about those things instead.

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