So I have been trying to get my werewolf story written and it has been a troublesome story. I have the beginning of the story on paper and I know how it is going to the end, but I’ve been struggling to find the voice and arc of the middle.
I have finally figured out where I’ve been going wrong and I think now I should be able to finish it. In reality I still hadn’t settled in what the story was really about. I had some ideas and some characters and some events but it didn’t add up to a complete story.
Now it has. I had that flash of inspiration that seems to bring it all together.
And I think I have found a market for it as well.
It’s a print market which is good. Call me old fashion but I still have a bias towards print. (It’s wrong head I know, but I started writing when computers were things writers simply didn’t have access to. I remember as a teenager lusting for an IBM selectric typewriter.)
Anyway I’m going to push and try to have a first draft finished within a week and a half.
So one of the pleasure in being a writer is in interacting with other writers. Writing is often seen as a lonely profession but in fact writers tend to get along well with other writers. We love to chat about what we have read and the hows and whys of our craft. Writers are also invited to review and critique each others work.
Even a lowly semi-pro like myself will have the chance to read and comment on another aspiring author’s work. Frankly I think a writer should be willing to comment and critique as much as he or she is able, (Still, one needs to be careful. It’s easy to watch your valuable time being sucked away until you’re doing no writing at all.)
Today I had a chance to spend an hour or more with a friend and co-worker giving her a critique on a techno-thriller she had written.
I am not going to comment directly on her story or writing, that was for her and now general distribution. However the real value in critiquing is not in the critiques you receive but in the ones you give. Nothing helps you work at and understand the craft of writing then trying to dissect a piece and understand why it does or does not work. I wrote a 3400 word critique of her novel and went over it with her. I referred to it as handing her her head. (Though luckily I did it politely enough she did not feel as though I had handed her her head. I did, just wrapped nicely and present with courtesy.)
I have received the gift of critique from others and from professionals who have donated their time so I am happy to pay it forward whenever I can.
I have a short story that I think is fairly well written. If I submit it to the Writers Of The Future contest I think there is a decent chance it will place better than ‘Honorable Mention.’ The problem is that I am not a patient man and the quarter for Writers Of The Future doesn’t end until September 30th.
They do not begin judging until the end of the quarter and the first results are now averaging three months after that. If I submit it to Writers of The Future I will not hear back until late December or early next year.
I could submit it to a paying market before then, but then I miss out on Writers Of The Future unless I can find a market that replies in less than seven weeks.
Grrr, the worst part of the aspiring writer gig is the waiting.
I’m terrible at it.
Well, I have a sale pending.
I’ve signed the contract and will be sending it back to the editor tomorrow.
Once everything is final and I know the dates the short story will be published in the Magazine site I will let you know.
It is semipro, but my words will getting out to infect people.
A common discussion topic is, what do artists owe their fans?
I am an author — though one without fans at this time — so I am going to chip in my two bytes on the subject.
An author does not owe any far or reader a signature, a signed book a reading, critiques of unpublished stories or ideas. Some author do these things, but it is not an obligation it is what they want to do and I suspect what they like to do.
An author doesn’t owe anyone personal appearances, club meetings, or courtesy any not expected in just normal human interaction. (Sadly, courtesy is falling in disuse among people in general.)
What an author does owe his readers and fans are two things.
One, a complete story.
Two, that the story is written to the best of his ability,
I did not read any of the Harry Potter books until the final one had been published. I did not want to start a story without knowing if the author was going to finish it. (I once read a very good book series where the last book written ended in a cliff-hanger and now seventeen years later it has yet to be completed.)
This is all a writer owes his readers, but unfortunately there are authors who fail in even these simple requirments.
Horror and our fascination with it go back as far as human memory stretches. Ghosts and devils and all manner of evil deeds are fundamental elements in our story telling traditions. While this genre is not respected in main stream fiction or in mass media it has a power that transcends critics and fads.
What horrifies us is a deeply personal affair. The story that chills one person to the bone leaves another bland and unmoved. We all have our different psychological triggers and horror works best when it presses on one of the triggers in an unexpected fashion. Horror is much like pornography; tough to define we know it when we see it. Despite the individualistic nature of our responses there are some comment elements to horror and in these we might find an answer to what is horror really?
At the Baycon 2009 writer’s Workshop one of the points of feedback I received was on the orbital skydiving sequence that makes up the heart of Chapter one of Love and Loyalty. The person felt that orbital skydiving could never be a sport for anyone other than millionaires because of the costs of getting to orbit. That is true today, but I do not thin it will always be true. So as a thought experiment lets look at just the energy costs to lift a kilogram to orbit.
Getting to orbit, and for this post I am just talking about Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is primarily composed of two factors, speed and altitude. Each of these has an energy cost that can be expressed in the lowest possible terms. For speed it is Ke=½MV², and for height it is Pe=mgh. Continue reading Responding to a critique→
The werewolf story now has a title, A Taste of Tears and Blood. I will start writing it on Monday after a bit more period research. This is going to be possible my darkest story yet.
When I think about the ending I am shooting for it unnerves me. It’s an ending that if I read it I think would give me shivers, but I do not know if I can pull it off with my current skill set as a writer. So much about this story is going to go beyond my comfort zone as far as writing goes. It’s going to have a ruthlessly cynical viewpoint about humanity and our relationship with power. This is not something I personally believe but it is something that is required for the narrative.
This I think is a good thing. A writer should write outside of their comfort zone. It’s painless to write where you are happy and safe, it is also death to creativity. This is the trap so many fan fiction writers fall into. We love our shows and we get comfortable in that environment, but only by going beyond your boundaries can you find out what level you are really capable of operating at.
I don’t know if anyone wants a story this dark. I don’t know if anyone wants a story about werewolves that aren’t based on full moons, silver, and transmission via bites, but I am going to write it anyway.
This is part of being bold and a writer should also be bold.