February 2008


Esfera Valerosa is basically done, all but the filling in.

People either tend to write short or long, not too often right to their target wordcount. I tend to write short, and have to go back and fill in scenes, expand scenes, put in description, show rather than tell, etc.

The good part is that I like the story, so it’s not a burden. The bad part is that all the ‘candy scenes’ are written, now I’m figuring out how to get to them so the transitions are smooth. Which takes more time than just writing the story.

I imagine for those who write long it’s easier to cut things out, and I also imagine that I’ll write longer as time goes on and I actually (erm) learn to write. 😉

I just sent “Wrapped for the Market” out again. 10-20 day turnaround at this place.

My first fiction reject. It got put in their spam pile by mistake … LOL

Either they like the story I sent ten days ago (with a 5 day reject time …) or my reject has gone to the wrong email addy. Can’t find out which for another six weeks.

Argh.

I’ve written a few first drafts now and I’m starting to see a pattern here.

First drafts are to finished books as a bag of groceries is to a finished dinner.  You have to make sure you have all the ingredients you want in the story, but no way are you shoving the cake mix in your mouth right out of the box. You have to work with it first.

In the same way, writing the first draft is about getting the elements of the story down. No way is this going to be or even supposed to be readable.

The difference is (at least for me) that I often don’t know what the elements of the story are until I write that first draft. I have some ideas, sure. A plot, an outline even sometimes. (that’s a bit like your grocery list, to continue the analogy) But how a character will react, the interactions they’ll have with a minor character, an encounter with their families … all these define a person on one hand and illuminate their personality on the other. I don’t see these coming sometimes until they get written.

I see too many people struggling to make their first drafts ‘perfect’. They won’t be. Stop trying.

Or as Tom Clancy put it, “Just finish the damn thing.”

6528 words this week. The story is going pretty well, even though I’m sure most of it is unmitigated crapola. First drafts are like that.

Which reminds me of some things I want to say about first drafts. Stay tuned.

I ran across this quote and I had to share it with you:

“Plotting is like sex. Plotting is about desire and satisfaction, anticipation and release. You have to arouse your reader’s desire to know what happens, to unravel the mystery, to see good triumph. You have to sustain it, keep it warm, feed it, just a little bit, not too much at a time, as your story goes on. That’s called suspense. It can bring desire to a frenzy, in which case you are in a good position to bring off a wonderful climax.” — Colin Greenland

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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