I’ve given up on Thursdays as a good day to write and post to the blog. It doesn’t work with other things I have going on at all. The weekend is better, so I’m going to shift to Saturdays (earlier if I can manage).
Next month is Nanowrimo, so I might do something different again. I am still giving that some thought. I mentioned last week that my plan is to write a collection of connected short stories in the world of the novella I just finished. I want to do a bit more prep work on that this week, too. (If you want to be my buddy on Nano, just ask.)
This week I had a couple of stories to tidy up before letting other people read them, one for a critique group through Story A Day and one for the short story class (that is almost finished). Both these stories are a little different from what I usually write, so we’ll see what people think.
Of course, that also meant I had stories from other people to look at and comment on, which is such a useful exercise. I know it’s a bit clichéd, but you really do see your own problems reflected so much more clearly in other people’s work.
It has also been interesting to do the critiquing/workshoping at the same time as doing slush reading, because they are so similar yet utterly different.
The critique process is all about providing constructive suggestions to a work that is still *in process* so that the writer can make their work stronger *as they finish it*, whereas slush reading is looking at the finished product and deciding on whether it works (for the market, etc). Of course, it is all subjective, but doing the slush reading has made me think about my own work differently. Are my initial paragraphs super compelling? Do they telegraph what is to come in the story? Am I establishing a world and characters quickly? First impressions really colour how you read the rest of the story.
I also did more work on my not-very-short story “Dispersed” this week, which is really coming along. Last week, I resolved all the current comments I had on it and started to incorporate further sensory details and fussed with language usage and stuff like that. In other words, it’s almost finished. Hopefully, I’ll get it done and submitted by the end of the month.
I read the craft book on self-editing, The 10% Solution by Ken Rand after Cat mentioned it in class. It’s a short book, so it doesn’t take long to go through the whole thing. The basic premise is to make successive editing passes based on specific words and suffixes and such in order to make your writing more accurate, brief, and clear (obviously, within your own style and intent). I tried it out on one of the critique stories I shared this week and it really helped with tidying up the language. Looking at specific usage in isolation made it easier to get rid of unnecessary words and reorganize sentences for clarity.
It does take time, and more so with longer work, but that’s probably not a bad thing.
I’ve been re-watching Babylon 5 (currently half-way through season 3) and I want to write about it (since I have some thoughts), but I haven’t sorted out in my own mind yet how I want to frame it. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched it (although I remember an awful lot of actual, verbatim dialogue), but it’s been a while.
Regardless, it holds up remarkably well for a series from the mid-90s (although the very noticeable lipstick on the female characters is somewhat distracting). I’ve long been interested in what science fiction says about the time period in which it is written and SF television shows offer such a rich opportunity for considering that. What we can imagine for the future is both confined and defined by our current circumstances and experiences (not to mention the budget of a weekly series) in ways that we can only really appreciate in retrospect.
Anyway, that’s all for this week. Take care.