Four Green Squares

the tiny little blog no-one will ever read

The good, the better, and the ugly May 10, 2014

Filed under: clarion,the way it is,writing — FourGreenSquares @ 6:23 pm
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May, May, May. What are you trying to do to me?

 

First, I suppose I should share the good news: My week 3 Clarion story “Stranger has Disconnected” will be in the first issue of Wicked Words Quarterly out in June. It’s about a customer service chatbot attaining sentience and contains the epic line “Eggs are made of chickens and darkness”. You know you want to read it.

 

I’ve also got another story passed up from slush to editorial board (informed by email), and another that (fingers crossed, going by the time frame, though I’ve not been told explicitly) I think is in the same boat. Fingers crossed.

 

Except to type. Or write. Yes, you can uncross your fingers for that.

 

Congrats are also in order to Clarion classmates Sam J. Miller for his Shirley Jackson Award nom. (Cross those fingers again—way to go, Sam!) 2012 is on a roll.

 

All of which makes me wish I didn’t have a day job so I could spend all my time writing.

 

Even when that writing is, in fact, editing. I love editing other people’s stories (my day job is an editor and copyeditor, after all) but my own…we hates it, we do.

 

At least when I edit other people’s manuscripts, I can make all the suggestions then…not actually have to tear up the text, muck up dialogue that interleaves perfectly, hack apart descriptions that evoke the right mood, disrupt pacing that hits all the right emotional notes yet ends at just the perfect point…Argh. Now I have to do all that again?

 

(Of course, revisions are also when I realise I actually failed to do any of those things the first time, so at least I get another chance. So maybe edits are a Good Thing Really.)

 

Nope. Still hate ’em.

 

I really like this novel. I wrote the first draft in a few weeks, and amazingly for me, it came out essentially structurally sound. I quickly realised, however, that I’d set it entirely in the wrong place and too close to present day. I also had the wrong job for one main character. Once I got those sorted, I dashed out another first draft, also in a few weeks.

 

Then, despite my gut instinct—because years of experience had drummed into me that nothing I write is ever structurally sound the first time around—I proceeded to fiddle endlessly in outline until I completely messed up the story. A friend pulled me back from the brink and the story, with a few minor tweaks, was restored to its second-first-draft form.

 

But there are still enough changes that I have to edit rather than simply polish. And actually edit, not just write new scenes from scratch, which tends to be easier for me most of the time.

 

Grr. Edits. Hiss. Did I mention I hate them?

 

Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaattttttttttttteeeeeeeeeeeeee them.

 

Just in case there was any confusion.

 

I’m at least trying something new. Rather than leave typing them up to the end (because I also saddle myself with the ridiculous need to write everything longhand first), I’m going to type and second-round revise as I go. Maybe not leaving myself with all the hated parts at the end will help? Maybe?

 

If only I had time. I can write a first draft anywhere: bus, café, hurricane… The story is in my head, and I just need pen and paper to let it fall out. But editing…I have to cram the story back into my head to work on it, and that takes more time and concentration. And silence.

 

And May, merry month of May, what are you doing to me?

 

Grand opening of the new Writers’ Studio premises (yay!), dance recitals, many, many  family birthdays, board meetings, and the tail end of dissertation season. Plus regular work…

 

In the grand tug of war between sleep and writing, the latter wins. Until the former takes revenge in the form of gibberish.

 

Have I reached that point yet?

 

Can’t you tell?

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