Four Green Squares

the tiny little blog no-one will ever read

Bloodchildren January 22, 2013

Filed under: clarion,writing — FourGreenSquares @ 5:34 pm

Bloodchildren. A heck of a name–perfectly fitting for one heck of a collection of stories.

Put out by recipients of the Octavia Butler Memorial Award given to a Clarionite from a minority each year, this book is a celebration of the wonderful writers who’ve benefited from the award–which makes a pretty great memorial to the incomparable Octavia Butler. Proceeds are being given to the Memorial fund for future scholarships.

You can get a copy here. Read some up-and-coming writers and support a good cause. Can’t get more win-win than that.


Notes from the cutting file, pt 1 in an occasional series January 12, 2013

Filed under: clarion,writing — FourGreenSquares @ 3:00 pm

The crit group had their way with the new new draft of the novel this week.  As a result, this has joined the (ever growing) file of Things That Have Been Cut From the Draft:

Nothing might eventually become something but something also knew how to become nothing. Sometimes it happened whether you fucking kicked and fought the whole way down. Other times… Shit thing about those were how hard you had to work at it. 

The whole group agreed this had to go. I like it. Yes, it’s a tad overwritten but it expresses the main character’s mindset. Still, if something snags all your betas, then it’s worth scrutinizing.

As they talked, I began to see why–and not for any of the reasons they had said. They basically felt that they didn’t understand what it referred to and that it took them out of the moment.

Looking at it with my crit -goggles on, I could see that it’s a different tone and register than the rest of the chapter. It didn’t quite fit the character after all (this line had hung on from an earlier draft). Its placement at the end of the chapter disrupted the suspense and dissipated the reader’s urgency.

Needless to say, I don’t think I could have figured this out so clearly pre-Clarion.

So, a clear case of kill your darlings. As I doubt it will ever be resurrected elsewhere, I’m content to let this be it’s moment in the sun.


A new leaf (of paper) January 4, 2013

Filed under: writing — FourGreenSquares @ 10:50 am

Nothing lets me procrastinate guilt-free more than research and organisation. So researching organisation and productivity tips–jackpot!

My one New Years resolution was to keep better track of my freelancing and writing time.  I found my procrastination motherlode in David Seah‘s site.

Yup, printouts. Sorry, Luke, but I need paper even in my office of one. He does offer a few interactive PDFs, if you want the paperless version.

I have found The Progress Tracker and The Concrete Goals Tracker to be most relevant to my needs. You can find the entire set here.

Anyway, I printed them out and start filling some in (a procrastination triple word score). But they are designed for programmers and designers, not writers. I had to spend more time (had to, you understand, imperative that my new system is, well, systemised) figuring out the relative values of various writerly activities.

I gave research (markets or content), drafting queries, outlining etc. all one point. Drafting, revising, editing and critiquing all got two points for my own writing, 5 or 10 if for clients. Submitting or sending a query are 5 points.

I don’t intend to be pedantic in terms of keeping track of all this. I just want to keep an eye on the patterns more than tally up every waking moment. It’ll be a good way to check if I’m neglecting this poor old blog more than usual, for example.

We’ll see how it works out. Why not, eh?

Anyone out there have any good writerly organisational tips?