Another week of writing, submitting, revising, the works.
This week we return to the bottomless well of writerly wisdom that is Elmore Leonard.
“All the information you need can be given in dialogue.”
If you’re not particularly adept at describing people, places, and things and you don’t want to commit the sin of dropping massive chunks of exposition on your readers, well, then dialogue might be your best friend. My work is often dialogue heavy–it’s the first thing I hear when a story starts to take shape in my head–and I often use it to shore up some of my writerly weaknesses. Like Mr. Leonard says, you can give a lot of information in dialogue, and if you do it right, it doesn’t feel like you’re hitting folks over the head with the ol’ exposition hammer. My characters often move the story along by talking to each other, and the pacing of my longer works is dictated by dialogue. Of course, I can get a little self indulgent at times and write chapters that feel like two people nattering away without much purpose. That’s usually a sign that the chapter needs to be written in a manner I’m not comfortable with (those writerly weaknesses I mentioned) or that I just need to cut the whole thing. In my current novel revisions, I’ve done a bit of both.
Had a good week with revisions, and I made it through some 120 pages of Late Risers, tightening the prose and cutting a fair bit of material to improve pacing. There’s still more to do, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. My goal is to be finished with this revision by March 2nd, then start shopping the book soon thereafter. Then I’ll move on to an interim project–a novella I’ve been wanting to write. After that, it’s back to revision land with my other novel Hell to Play.
Not exactly killing it with submissions in February
Only a single submission for the second week in a row. No rejections is nice, but I should hear back on some of my pending submissions soon, and there’s bound to some no’s and not for us’s in there. I’m sitting at fifteen for the year, which is still on pace for 100 submissions, though I should get three more out by the end of the month if I want to start March on the right foot. The lack of submissions is largely due a lack of new stories, compounded by the fact that I’m spending a lot of my writing time on other projects. That’s not a bad thing, but it does have consequences. Once Late Risers is finished, I expect my submission pace to pick up.
In case you missed it or don’t follow me on social media, The Molotov Cocktail is publishing my first collection of flash fiction this spring, titled Night Walk. Recently, Josh Goller, the publisher at The Molotov Cocktail, interviewed me about the collection, my take on flash fiction, my writing process, and a bunch of other writerly musings. You can read the interview by clicking this link or the cover for Night Walk below.
The big goal is to finish the revision of Late Risers this week. If I get a couple of submissions out too, great, but the book will be my focus.
And that was my week. How was yours?