|Noon: Rest from Work by Vincent van Gogh|
|Noon: Rest from Work by Vincent van Gogh|
We’re About a month out from the June 11 deadline to turn in your work and sign up for the Armadillocon Writing Workshop (of course you can turn in your piece early – hahaha! No, seriously, the door’s open). If you’ve been following this boot camp program you should have a messy zero draft in hand. (If you just found this, it’s not too late to catch up. Scroll back to boot camps one and two for gathering and developing ideas, and week three for writing your zero draft.)
Oscar Wilde’s handwritten manuscript
page of The Picture of Dorian Gray
It’s been a crazy, busy summer with lots of travel and time with family. I’ve managed to do some writing. I thought I’d take a quick break from the novel by writing a short story, but the story grew (as my stories seem to do nowadays) into a novella. I’ll finish revising it and return to the novel just as soon as I get back from WorldCon!
I have an early flight tomorrow, which is a good thing as I have a busy day coming up.
I’ll be reading at 1:30 in room 2202
I can’t wait to share a story or two live and in person.
From 5:00 – 6:00 I’ll be moderating “Knock on Wood: From Squirrel Girl to Lumberjanes” (room 2207) with fellow panelists Jason Stanford, Catherine Lundoff, Adam Rakunas, and Tom Galloway.
“What the junk?! In the last couple of years we’ve seen the growth of comics that might superficially appear to be aimed at a YA audience, however these titles are hitting the mainstream with a vengeance. Marvel are leading the pack with Squirrel Girl, Ms Marvel and Captain Marvel, but there’s also a vast amount of Indie work coming through such as Lumberjanes, Space Dumplins, Khaos Komix and Footloose. Our panel discuss why these titles are so popular, and what they have to offer both new and established audiences.”
From 6:00 – 7:00 you can find me participating in “Cleaning Up Your Prose” (room 3501B) with C.C. Finlay(!), Randy Henderson, Rob Chilson, moderated by Alan Smale.
My love of revision is no secret. I’m looking forward to a lively discussion about how writers go about improving their work once the first draft is finished!
Then on Saturday from 4:00 – 5:00 back in room 2202, I’m thrilled to participate in Flash Fiction Online‘s group reading. This one is going to be tons of fun. Hosted by Anna Yeatts and Chris Phillips, come by to hear stories from Sunil Patel, Kelly Sandoval, Laura Pearlman, Beth Cato, and yours truly!
You can check out my schedule and more here. Hope to see you there!
On its most basic level, preparing a story for critique provides me with both an informal deadline and a great intermediate milestone for a work in progress.
If all goes according to plan, getting a story critiqued is one of the last rungs on the ladder to completing it and sending it out for publication. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always come out that way.
So, how do I know when something is ready for critique?
I don’t submit first drafts to critique. In fact, I don’t show my first drafts to anyone. I need the security of “only my eyes will ever see this mess” in order to write bravely and take chances. The second draft is all about the big picture, major character adjustments, and fixing obvious plot holes. In the third draft, I clean things up and attend to style paragraph by paragraph and sentence by sentence.
At this point, I’ve arrived at the place where I feel I’ve taken the story as far as I can by myself. This is when comments from others feel most useful. Sometimes, I know there is some aspect that isn’t quite working, or some element that is out of balance, but I can’t figure out how to fix it. This is where a nice range of comments can really help me get unstuck.
I usually feel that the story is close to being finished, and I’m itching to wrap this project up and get on to the next one. Of course, sometimes my story isn’t close at all. See my post: Story Fail, Critique Win. Yeah, it’s disappointing. Writing stories requires a certain amount of ego, like when an actor takes a part; I really have to commit emotionally to the story I’m working on. It’s tough to find out that I’m farther from the finish line than I thought, especially when there isn’t always a clear fix.
Writing a good story is complicated, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. A good set of critiques will not give you a single solution but many. It can be frustrating. Sussing out several opinions and ideas about a broken story is hard work. But finding a way forward and revising it is also a creative act; one that has led me to take my stories to places I hadn’t imagined at first.
And that’s a good thing.
|OK, my writers’ group doesn’t look exactly like this… Dance of Apollo with the Nine Muses by Baldassarre Peruzzi|
|Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly|
If there is no wind, row
~ Latin proverb
|Does anyone else think it’s odd that in Michelangelo’s version, David is the giant?|
After chipping away at a block of marble for months, when exactly, did Michelangelo know that David was finished? We might see perfection, but did Michelangelo? Or, could he still see little rough spots, spurs of stone? Did he feel like he could have kept going? At some point Michelangelo had to decide to put his hammer and chisel down.
|Michelangelo sketches an early draft|