Yeah...I'm back here yet again. But I think I'm going to stay around with this one for some time. I've been working on a decent sized grouping of short stories for some time now that thematically intertwine and I think it's best to consider grouping them into a collection. Especially since I have a number more of them that have been bumping around in my head for quite sometime. But less talk on this attempt at a progress journal, and more physical movement. I know it won't progress fast due to time, but that's okay. Literary fiction writing takes a considerable amount of time to get all the elements down in. I'm happy to move this along at a snail's pace. 1). "Hunted in Reflection" (4626 Words): This one hinges on setting the atmosphere right and using it in conjunction with the characterization to draw out its theme. It also takes on the little touched on subject of male-to-male mental support, which is often skipped over as "get tougher." By far my best written story, but I have to fix a number of items. The interaction between the MC and his new friend needs to be a lot longer to give more plausibility in his trust. Then end needs to be cut down because it derails the theme slightly. Needs a full critique after. Third-person with non-linear plot. Likely closer to the collection. 2). What Lines the Walls of Our Hearts" (4976 Words): Badly needs a re-titling. This is my most complete piece, but the front end is a bit weak because it tries too hard to inject theme. Has been critiqued a few times, so the polish isn't terrible. Needs a few more read-throughs. Third-person. 3). "Troubleshooter's International" (843 Words): This one is experimental, but I want to include it because it shows the love for the pain of the job, which is an overall theme behind the dark or distant tone shrouding most of the collection. It's a louder voice. What needs to happen is the line lengths need to be more staccato and take the form of beats. The narrator is tremendously upbeat and I want to keep that. It will remain very short, probably shorter after edits. Needs a lot of re-structuring though. Second-person. 4). "Seeking Sadism" (currently 1431 Words): This is unfinished at maybe only a third to a quarter written currently. Very possibly the opener, as I want it to hit in the same kind of way Ralph Ellison's "Battle Royale" hits in The Invisible Man, but for very different reasons. It's supposed to be a shock value point of the self-destructive nature of the military, but not in the overdone suicidal sense. It's wild an very likely offensive to those who really don't get the military sub-culture, which is the point. Title is likely to change. Third-person and aiming for 6000 word range. 5). "Confessional" (Unwritten): I have this plot half-formulated in my mind. Uncomfortable story that deals with desperately trying to believe in a higher power, yet not being able to. Perspective is critical to this story. It will be first-person because the narrator is to be unreliable. He's lying to himself as much as to the reader. This one is going to take me a lot of time to get right. Aiming for 3000 word range 6). "Recruiters" (Unwritten): This is a third person take behind a female character that actually did the misdeed that everyone is taking credit for but didn't do. And she doesn't want anyone to know about it or stop it. This is a morality and addiction story hidden behind a whodunnit sort of atmosphere to start. Plays the whodunnit by reversing it. This is also meant to reveal uncomfortable truths about recruiters in real life. Aiming for the 4000 word range. That's what I've got to start with. It's not much, but it's something. Thanks for tagging along.