Winter is coming to Southern California! It’s a brisk 47 degrees Fahrenheit this morning. I’m sure those of you in the midwest are are turning your collective nose up at me now. 🙂
Before I proceed, I need to shake my fist at WordPress. I noticed that I was no longer receiving email notifications for comments and Likes. Odd, but after locating that switch, I flipped it back on and all was well again. Then unfortunately, several hours after my previous post, I noticed comments were not allowed. I had to enable a menu that was hidden just to find the box to actually enable comments again. It was like menu Inception.
Water The Flowers!?
Comments have always been allowed and suddenly they’re turned off? Another thing I’ll be verifying every time I post now…
Last weekend, I attended one out of the three days at Loscon 40. Why just one? The two biggest reasons:
- Parking blew, bigtime. Thanksgiving weekend near LAX and most of the lots were at capacity. I had to park a mile away in a shady neighborhood and walk in the rain. Not fun.
- There were several agents and editors to meet, but I’m not at the point in my career yet where that’s useful to me since I don’t have a finished manuscript to pitch.
On the bright side, I sat in on a couple of interesting panels and shook hands with one of my writing heroes. All in all, the hassle wasn’t worth another 45-minute drive each way, so I spent the rest of the weekend on things more beneficial – like NaNoWriMo!
I’m one scene away from completing my first draft of The Soul Hook. This one looks like it’ll come in around 65k words. It’s interesting to compare the experience of writing my second long-form story with my first. I certainly have a greater degree of confidence in putting the words down. They come easier and they appear “cleaner.” I don’t think I’ll have to break out the industrial strength bleach when I begin my edits.
Then again, that’s easy to say now. The red pen is still tucked away where it can do little harm and won’t come out for The Soul Hook at least until January, most likely February.
I already know Wolf’s Tail won’t have it easy. I’ve printed out the first draft and am preparing to mark it up. During the past couple of weeks, I’ve also picked up where I left off on my research reading. It’s affecting a lot of what I’ve written. Just as researching too much can handicap your writing, I’m discovering the opposite has its own perils. Writing something before you truly know the setting (physical and cultural) can keep your story from having enough veracity to be convincing (this is something I read a great article about recently and will share with you next week).
So do I consider having written those 45k words a waste of time? Surprisingly, not really. I may have to rewrite 90% of the thing, but I learned a lot about characters and writing in general. I gained experience, and to me, that’s worth any amount of words I may ending up tossing in the garbage.
And since I’m preparing to wield my critical eye, I was pleased to come across this highly recommended exercise. The idea is to critique a piece of short fiction that was written by a published author, but rejected by several publications. Once you’ve given your own feedback, hop over here to see how a group of professional editors did the same. I was surprised to find not only how many of the same faults we found, but how many different ones crept up. It just goes to show you that a large portion of how we view stories is based in taste and opinion and that the same story rejected outright by one editor may be given a chance by another.
After you’ve finished your assigned homework and you need a break from being so darned productive, check out the amazing Akinator. Go ahead, try and stump him. Some of you may be familiar with him, but I thought I’d share this time obliterator with everyone else.
Have a great weekend everyone!