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Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me.

Monday, October 23, 2006

How I Spent My Sunday

Well, just had my first critique with my new writer's group for the story "Wild Hunt." Looks like another rewrite. Most were confused with what was happening, some liked the mix of Amish and Celtic, some didn't. Now I need to go through all the notes that I took while they discussed, the notes they wrote on the manuscript, the notes they emailed, sort through them all, come to consensus on the changes, figure out what I want to change and what I want to leave. I do need to rewrite and I think I have a good idea where to head with this one. I need to tighten the language (see earlier post on Epiphanies on editing, there were a lot of those types of edits as I wrote this before that epiphany).

And the title. Nobody really liked the title. That's a good indicator that it has to change. "The Running of the
Deer," was a good suggestion.

All for a story that may make $250 gross. Why do I do this?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Off to the Races

Well, after finishing the attic floor in the storage barn and having all the Halloween decorations up, I have started typing the book. I got a full 300 new words out today! Most of them good. I'm still in the opening scene, setting the tone for the book. I'll still probably skip around and type out jokes out of order, but I've started the front to back writing. Here's a taste.

"Sitting at the next table was a pixie sipping a double-tall espresso and a boggan eating a baguette. "

Not sure if I'll keep the fairies in, right now they're only comic relief. I like that visual though. And they do another (semi) joke later in the opening scene.

Friday, October 6, 2006

Edits Redux


For the edification of everybody, especially those who I've edited, here is a picture of some sample pages from my last story. These are edits for the third rewrite (there were four all together). Notice all the red. Look closely and you'll see even more in a blue pen (I couldn't find a red pen for a weekend). To repeat, this isn't the first round, nor the last.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Two of Us Writing Postcards

I should also make mention here about the book. It's progressing. Not much typing, but lots of organization and brainstorming. Here's where good, smart friends come into play in writing. If you read my post about editing below, I'm also applying that epiphany to this book. Every part of this book needs to be top notch.

Sound-boarding ideas off of smart friends is an excellent way to pound those pieces into shape. To mix metaphors, on Tobias' blog I was commented that rewriting is like forge work, lots of heat, tongs, pliers, hammers and anvils. Sound-boarding with friends is a hammer. In a few IMs with my friends the other day I took a good idea and pounded and tempered the heck out of it until it was a much better idea.

That idea (you may be asking yourself)? A little piece of detail. The Barry Mygnot Funeral Home. If you don't get it, say it out loud and the "g" is silent (or swallowed).

As an FYI, one friend said there is actually an Amigone Funeral Home in Buffalo. Go figure. But that's what you get with smart friends. They also walked me back from the Berry, Meignot & Lon Prairee Funeral Homes. "Too forced," was the comment.

The actual over all theme/joke of the book was done this way as well. Started as a lark, bounced it off some friends. Ideas flowed, pound, changed, tempered, added to, pound, and eventually became what it is. No I'm not posting any more of that idea than I have. Sorry.

Submissions

Scott also obliquely asked this question. At one time I had five stories in submission to different markets. Next month I hope to have three in submission. I just haven't had the time I need to finish up the rewrites.

Last week I took Friday off to take my wife to the Podiatrist. She's good, thanks. But even with only four days on I had more overtime last week (15 hours) than the week before. This week, so far, hasn't been as crazy (only 6 hours).

Breakfast at Epiphanies

Scott asked in a comment thread about what my editing epiphany was this past summer. So I thought I would make this more of a new post.

I polish my prose. I mean polish like you polish a copper plate for printing. It's hard work with different grit levels being used to scrub out minor imperfections in the copper surface before you take a gouge to it. This isn't polishing silverware or buffing the car, this is like sanding wood down to thickness, instead of using a planer. I want those words to sing. I'll reorder, cut, add, shuffle, and do a lot more, but mostly to the language.

Part of my epiphany was I needed to polish the story. I needed to look at the pacing, how many words I used for each part of the story, the larger rhythms of the words (as a part of the polishing I would look at the sentence rhythms). I would check and see if parts of the story could be told in different places, not just a paragraph or two different, but thousands of words different. So I moved those skills of polishing words to the larger model of the overall story.

Another part of the epiphany was editing the story out of order. For "War Stories" I edited each section separately, reading from the last paragraph to the first, editing only the sentences and paragraphs to make them as strong as they could be. That was another first, I looked at paragraphs and made them as individually strong as I could make them. Did each one say what I wanted that one to say. Before, I would look at these issues in context of the flow of the story. This is more of a looking at each lug nut on the wheel to make sure it's properly aligned to the threads and fitted on the bolts, that each met the tear weight criteria etc, instead of just making sure that they're all tight and keep the wheel on the hub. If you think of fractals, one way of describing fractals is that each rock that sits on a mountain mirrors the mountain in miniature. Before this epiphany I was just looking at the mountain and making the rocks pretty. After the epiphany I making each rock as good as the mountain.

Bear in mind, I'm not going to that level with my posts here or elsewhere. Then again, nobody is paying me for these posts.