Been real busy lately, what with school coming to a close and the garden ramping up. It’s satisfying to be able to literally put food on the table (that you grew yourself).

I got a rejection on “Kythera”, and sent it out again. Been doing an interesting class on FM, studying openings to novels and having the others in the class analyze your own.

Also working on a fantasy novel crit for a friend. Put up “Heart of a Demon” for crit on this new short story crit circle I joined, also on FM. Love that place.

Anywho, that’s what’s been happening here. What’s up with you?


I just got hold of Page-Turning Scenes by Holly Lisle, which will be available at her site tomorrow. I’ve had a chance to look at a few excerpts and so far so good!

Hopefully I can get a review up here in the next day or two.

Instead of posting all over creation what I’m up to (like I’ve been doing), everything’s going here. I’m seriously out of time for the luxury of posting the same thing in multiple places.

That said:

Did a bit of a story (911 words) over at FM today as a final assignment example for the class I ran this month on designing a non-human MC. I liked doing the class, some people came up with things I’d never considered.

If you’re a writer and haven’t heard of Forward Motion, you really should go check it out.

Almost done reading a novel for my crit group (also over at FM), but today I did a bunch of admin stuff for the group. Fortunately it only needs to be done every so often.

Haven’t heard back on the short stories out there. I only have two out; my goal was one per month this year. Grr, that means I need to edit the ones I’ve had critted too. But I won’t get any good at editing if I don’t edit.

… that while I can write for weeks straight, I can’t do that with large-scale editing (as in dealing with plot, sub-plot and the like). My brain just shuts down until it has enough time off.

So it seems editing is the limiting factor as to how productive I can be.

I’ve read books on writing productivity, any ideas (or books you recommend) on editing? Because this is starting to bother me.

My next project. I’d like to start in on April1st … a few days away.

What sounds better?

  • Freedom, part 3, which I have a partial outline for.
  • Clan Twelve, part 2 (aka Diary of a Monster), for which I have a subplot but nothing else.
  • edit People of the Earth (fairly straightforward, but feels difficult right now)
  • edit Test of Time (need to analyze this first but I like the idea)
  • finish a children’s SF story I started last year, called “The Adventures of Achilles Thornbottom”.
  • time for something completely different …

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.”

Justine Larbalestier has a great article on how to rewrite. Go read it.

(Found it by way of John Scalzi’s blog. If you’re not reading that one, you should be.)

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