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Archive for March, 2012

Progress Report, in which I reflect on smart writers

Spent last week scribbling in my notebook, in search of ideas for the rewrite of “Just a Game.”  I had hoped by this time to have some idea of how to proceed.

Yeah.  Not so much.

If you read last week’s exciting installment, you know that I was pretty harsh in my assessment of the story.  Even so, there are things worth preserving.  I like my protagonist, and the relationship he has with his father.  And the basic premise still has its appeal.  I also see clearly some obvious missteps that I know how to remedy.  But the story just isn’t there yet.

A smart writer would walk away at this point, and maybe try again later.  A smart writer would recognize when he’s just poking the cold coals of a fire long since extinguished.  A smart writer would turn his attention to more productive activities.

Yeah.  Let me know if you hear from that guy.  Meanwhile, I’m going to keep poking a while longer.

No updates for Write Club.

Current Music: "We Hold On"--Rush

Progress Report, in which I make a comparison to a black hole

Plowed through a bit more paperwork last week, then figured I’d done quite enough stalling.  So I dug out my next rewrite project—a novelette I drafted last year, titled “Just a Game.”

I wasn’t sure I would ever get back to this one.  Even right after I finished the first draft, I knew it needed a lot of work.  To be brutally honest, it sucked.

Yeah, I know we writers are the worst judges of our own work and all, but really, there are black holes that don’t suck as much as this story.  So much so, in fact, that I considered just leaving it and moving on to something potentially more fruitful.

However, fate intervened, circumstances changed, and I found myself with occasion to at least take another look at it.  So I opened the folder and started reading, thinking that perhaps a year’s worth of perspective would temper my dislike for thing.

Nope.  It still sucks.

As I continue reading, I become more convinced that I might have to scrap this draft and redo the story from the ground up.  That might sound harsh, but it wouldn’t be the first time.  I had to almost completely rewrite “The Alternate History of Arthur Eisen,” for example.  I threw out the entire first draft except for one scene, and pretty much rebuilt it from scratch.  More recently, I got 500 words into the first draft of “Right Before Your Very Eyes,” tossed them, and started over.  I managed to sell both of those stories, and am quite proud of them.

So hope for “Just a Game” remains, but the next draft will more than likely bear little resemblance to the current version.

Write Club update:  A personalized bounce from a reprint antho.  Response time, four days.

Back to the word mines . . .

Current Music: "The Battle for Hadrian's Wall"--Black Country Communion

Progress Report, in which I discuss grunt work

A lot of thankless grunt work goes undone while I’m working on a novel.  (Of course, there are times when writing itself feels like the thankless grunt work . . . but you’ll never hear me admit it.  In fact, forget you ever read this parenthetical.  Let’s move on.)  I try to keep up with the basic maintenance tasks, really I do, but after a while, just getting the words out becomes such an effort that the rest kinda piles up.

Which is why I spent my first post-Apocalypse Pictures Presents week updating  my submissions tracking database and getting manuscripts back into circulation.  Got a bit more of that to do yet, and some other correspondence to take care of.  A couple of rewrite projects loom on the horizon, both of which figure to be major challenges.

In other words, after this grunt work, I have different grunt work to do.  (OK, forget I said that, too.)

No updates for Write Club.

Let’s move on.

Current Music: "Numb As a Statue"--Warren Zevon