Critique

Here's some rambling thoughts on writing, learning, and sort of a "what I've been doing today," post.

Maybe this is a new years thing, but I'm re-upping myself at critters because, it seems like the thing to do. There's no way in hell that I'm going to be able to go to Clarion or Viable Paradise this year or any time soon (frankly, I'm pretty up in the air about knitting camp, even), not that I'd want to, given that both seem really centered on short fiction. This is an aversion that I really have to get over, and maybe joining critters (for real; I started last year while I was busy graduating, and really couldn't find time. Now is a bit different.) will help with that.

I also found Nancy Kress' Blog today and was immediately struck by this post. A few thoughts:

  • She writes--or drafts--long hand. There are a number of great SF writers who do this. Connie Willis, Kim Stanley Robinson, come to mind. I'm in awe.
  • She mentioned in another entry that she had had a number of stories published in Asimov's and that she still liked a few of them. This is pleasing because, she doesn't like some of her stories after the fact, which is sort of how I feel about all my short stories about half way through. If I could just learn to push the onset of this feeling back a month or two, I might be able to finish the story and get it out before the malaise sets in. Interestingly, even though I know it's crap, I still kind of have a soft spot for the novel I wrote when I was 16/17 and the novella that I'm still revising.
  • People can and do draft short stories in a day. Amazing.

I wrote today. The little substory inset that I was working on for chapter two looks like it's going to spill into chapter 3. I'm ok with that, because the spill will be pretty small and my projects always seem to grow between outline and draft. I'm worried because thus far, I've been spending a lot of time in a part of the story that isn't "the core" of my initial plan.

Here's the scoop, I'm telling a semi-parallel narrative, in three different settings. The earliest happens about 30 years before the primary story, which is ~100-200 years after the primary section of the story. I seem to have a thing for doing stories about historiography these days, so having some sort of temporal contrast is important to me (perhaps why I'm having trouble doing shorter work). Anyway, chapter two, with the exception of a brief interlude is set entirely in the earlier portion of the story. The first chapter was probably about half and half. The next chapter will probably be 1/3d early, 2/3ds late. While I think this part are really crucial, and pretty active, I'm not sure that they'll reflect the overall tone of the book. And given the power of early impressions... I worry. My most current thought would be to find something that I could do that would be peppy, use the characters from the "third" phase, and frame the other two stories. But I want to have a more firm handle on that setting before I write about it.

I'm probably a day away from crossing the 10k line, which in my mind signifies a change from an idle project to something that will probably turn into a novel. Given how long the chapters are, and how I expect that I'll be pacing myself for the next two months, 10k increments will probably less of a big deal from here on out (knock on wood,) but this first one is big for me.

I'll be in touch.

Onward and Upward!

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