Monthly Archives: March 2014

Needz Moar Cowbell

Having finished my short story as much as possible before getting feedback, I’ve moved back to the revisions on the last couple of chapters of the novel. On the up side, I can tell I’ve grown as a writer since I first wrote these chapters. On the down side… Damn.

Because of the revisions to earlier sections of the plot, by the time I got back to the ending, several things obviously had to be adjusted. The chapter I finished reworking yesterday had to be ripped apart, and stitched back together Frankenstein-style. Certain chunks remained, though often in quite different sequence from before, and many others had to be added in from whole cloth.

That proved a grueling exercise, though I got something mostly useable by the end. Once I moved onto today’s chapter (Ch X), though, it was a different story.

Ch X is, by and large, still viable as written in terms of plot. However, there’s little or no tension in the text. As I read through it to re-familiarize myself with it and determine what needs revision, I realized the climax—the bit that the entire rest of the book leads to—had been utterly glossed over in a couple of sentences. There’s no sense of effort, of the protagonist’s struggle to accomplish this huge deed. Just “Voop! There ya go!” and it’s all over but the exposition.

Obviously, that needs to change. Who wants to read “voop!” at the end of all that other stuff? There needs to be a payoff for whatever emotional investment the reader has made. I count myself lucky that I figured that out before handing it off to my CPs; as I said above, it’s proof of my growth.

So, note to self: needz moar cowbell. Get on that.

Destruction Time

Today I feel like maybe this go-be-a-writer idea of mine wasn’t such a bad one I after all…

Having learned about Women Destroy Science Fiction! via Twitter, I backed the Kickstarter campaign. I can’t honestly remember now how early I backed it, but it was definitely before the first extra-issue stretch goal (Women Destroy Horror!) had been met. I watched with avid interest as the funding level crept upwards, and told myself if they funded the Women Destroy Fantasy! issue, I’d write something to submit.

Well, the other backers sure called my bluff. The original WDSF! goal was only $5000. To unlock the WDH! issue, the campaign needed $25k, and for the WDF! issue it needed $35k. By the time the funding period ended, backers had blown another $18k past that final stretch goal. Time to ante up.

So I sat down for the first time ever with the express intention of writing a short story I could submit for possible publication. I brainstormed from my idea nugget, pleased that I’d had an idea outside of my novel’s universe. Before I knew it, though, those pesky dryads had finagled themselves back into this story, too. I threw up my hands and capitulated. They rewarded me with expanded ideas.

Throughout the drafting process, I continually surprised myself—sometimes pleasantly (I really like one of the main conceits in the middle of the story), sometimes less so (I started by plotting it ahead of time, but within minutes I was pantsing my way into the first act). By the time I’d finished a working draft I could send to my CPs for workshopping, I felt like I had the start of something worth submitting.

Heaven only knows whether or not the thing will ever see the light of day. I’ve about a newt’s chance in a supernova of it making it into the WDF! issue (there are four slots available, and they’ll be getting hundreds—if not thousands—of submissions), but I don’t plan to stop there. If Fantasy Magazine gives it a pass, and so does Lightspeed (to which all submissions that don’t make it into WDF! will also be sent for consideration), I’ll spam it out to other publications. It’s about time I started racking up rejections.

Then I can truly claim to be a Writer.