Of Fall and Fine Details

This morning from my kitchen window I noticed three birds clinging to a leafless branch on a treetop, the sight of which inspired this haiku:

how brave those three
birds still clinging —
facing autumn’s gale

Much as we might wish to cling to summer, autumn has definitely made its appearance in our land. The crops are coming off and the golden brown straw left to hold the soil in place; the maple trees are golden already. Nights are cool, and during the last few days we’ve gotten the rains we wanted.

Hopefully now the Fire Ban will be lifted in our township. For a few months now we haven’t been allowed to light any fires outdoors, including in BBQ pits and such. This month local volunteer firefighters have been called out to several grass fires started by balers as farmers were harvesting hay. Sunday Sept 2nd some of our firemen left straight from church, responding to a fire east of here. About 150 acres — half of it in standing wheat crop — burned, along with four round hay bales.

The hummers left us a couple of weeks ago. Last week the second batch of barn swallows came out of their nest to enjoy the clear blue skies. For the first few days the three newcomers played in the air above our yard, then ventured farther, touring the woods and coming back to roost at night. I was out just after supper together with the cats, and the swallows came buzzing around us. Obviously they weren’t happy seeing cats so close to their residence.

It’s been awhile since I posted anything significant but I decided that if I didn’t get something written I might develop chronic blog-atrophy.

It’s not that I haven’t been writing. In fact, I’ve spent hours at the computer this week commenting on other writers’ work. Last weekend I was investigating the possibilities for having my own short stories critiqued and came across a site called Critique Circle. It It looked interesting, so I signed up and started writing comments on the stories posted.

Basically, anyone may join, and post a story they’ve written once every two weeks — but first they must critique others’ stories. In fact the system works somewhat like that old song about working in the coal mines: you do one days’ work and the company store charges two days’ pay for your groceries. 🙂 I’ve gotten .5, 1, 1.5, and 2 credits for doing various critiques, but it cost me 3 credits to post my story. So participants need to keep writing critiques (of 300 words or more) if they want to post anything.

Which is quite fair, really. I’m not griping. This approach keeps people from “taking” without putting anything in. (And it suits me because I enjoy doing editing. 😉 I do try to be gentle, though.) The “rules state that “critters” shall be encouraging and helpful to new writers as well as more experienced ones. No “Your story is blah!” comments.

I’ve posted one flash fiction story already. The first critique I received dealt mostly with grammar and punctuation — some of which I would contest. The second was an overall “Liked the story.” The third one was worth its weight in gold! It was written by a fellow who’s had a number of short stories published in literary magazines and such. He really knows his stuff and pointed out half a dozen things I SHOULD HAVE seen myself.

The stories I’m working on now are for my upcoming book of flash fiction. And now that I’ve registered it and gotten the ISBN, I can post the cover I’ve chosen (from unsplash.com.) What do you think?

The next design issues: choosing a font style and “outside border or no?”

Abstract cover.all

6 thoughts on “Of Fall and Fine Details

  1. Hi – enjoyed your update. I like the term “blog-atrophy” and critique swap sounds like it is set up with a good system.

    The book cover – my humble opinion – it is a little bland. Now don’t get me wrong, I like minimal and simple, but the main title and subtitle seem too far apart. If you leave it – I would drop down the Fine Details – I feel like it Is a little too close to the top edge. However, when I go back, I think the real problem is the soft focus of the sprinkles. The idea of the rainbow sprinkles is wonderful. Also, in the rainbow like that and then how it fits your theme of flash – but the feels
    Lackluster with so much blur – it does not pull the eye in; instead, my eye bounced from title to subtitle to author name and then I kept trying to get the focus of the sprinkles – reminded me of wanting to get flavor from a food item that did not have it.
    This might be because the image you shared is small – so I wonder what the larger version looks like.
    The other thought to share is that the cover instantly felt like the 1970s. Maybe 1977 -when rainbow t-shirts were everywhere

    I also like how you called it mini fiction mix (not flash fiction) and wondered how it would sound as “Mix of Mini Fiction” – the former feels Direct and the latter less so (maybe)
    And then – if you keep it as Mini fiction mix – doesn’t it need a dash because mini-fiction is adjective ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment. Never thought of it as 1970s. Since fashions pop up again about every 40 years I should be all right. 😉
      One problem with this cover is that I don’t have a large selection of fonts in my Paint 3D. I really don’t like the title font I have here — it’s too big and not the right colour. I hope to find something a little more script-ish for the final design. Maybe in blue ink or wine, to tie in more with the colour chips. And a border, either an inch all around or as a line about half and inch in.
      Interestingly enough, the image I have has no border, but when I added it as media here, a white border suddenly showed up! IMO it would look better as mid-blue or burnt orange.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I do not have the critical eye of an artist. I love the color, and never even noticed the things mentioned by Prior, who clearly does have a more discerning eye. If I ever publish, I’m going to let my artistic husband, sons, and son-in-law help me with the cover 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment. Maybe we’re both 70s?
      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, though. A couple of other artistic types liked its clean lines. Still debating whether a border would improve the overall effect. Once I get the fonts chosen and title in its place, I’ll have a better idea. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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