Another week of writerly wins and woes. Let’s have a look.
Words to Write By
Got two quotes for you today that essentially say the same thing. The first is by Stephen King.
“In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it ‘got boring,’ the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling.”
The quote above dovetails nicely with this one from Elmore Leonard..
“I try to leave out the parts readers skip.”
King and Leonard are two big influences on how (and to some degree what) I write. I agree with King that one of my priorities, especially as a genre writer, is to keep the story moving. For me pacing has always been key to my enjoyment of a book. Leonard essentially says the same thing, just, you know, more succinctly because he’s Elmore Leonard. Now, both of these authors are shooting for a certain style (as am I), and in Leonard’s case that style is very spare. That isn’t the only way to write nor is it the best way to write, but I think the point these two authors are making is a good one. Keep the plot moving, keep your characters doing things, and let your reader feel the momentum building all the way to the end.
The (New) Novel
Well, I meant to start writing last week, but I sent my outline to one of my first readers to see if he might spot some things I could fix before I started writing. I’m glad I did that because my second act was, well, floundering would be one way to put it. He came up with a great way to inject urgency and conflict into that act that’ll keep the plot moving and give me some excellent character moments. He also spotted a few other things that’ll make my life easier if I deal with them now.
I’m not writing this week either because I’m going on a long overdue vacation. I will write, but I’ll focus on shorts and blogging and whatnot. Then I’ll begin the first draft after recharging the creative batteries in the sun for a eight days. 🙂
Short Story Submissions
I had another good week of submissions.
- Submissions Sent: 3
- Rejections: 0
- Acceptances: 1
- Publications: 0
- Shortlist: 0
Three more submissions last week puts my total for February at 6 and my total for the year at 15. That’s a good pace, and I’m on track for my goal for 100 subs for the year. The acceptance was from EllipsisZine for my reprint flash story “Where They Belong.” That’s one of my favorite stories, and I’m glad I’ve rehomed it with the good folks at Ellipsis. No rejections last week, but hoo boy, I’ve already got four this week. I have a feeling that total might climb even higher before the next update.
More #vss365 microfiction, and I really like some of the micros I came up with. I’d say February 13th is one of the better ones I’ve written in a while. As always, if you want to read my microfiction in real time, follow me on Twitter @Aeryn_Rudel.
“I have a #request.”
Getty always listened to the last words of the men he killed. “Go ahead.”
His mark held out a single 9mm round. The bullet had a silvery sheen.
“You’ll need this.”
The man glanced out the window where the full moon was rising. “Trust me.”
“He’s a friend of yours, huh?” Sal pointed at the Russian hitman waving them over to the bar.
“Ivan?” Lucky said. “More #ally than friend.”
“We’re here to kill him, Luck.”
“Guess I should demote him from ally to associate then.”
“Might want to add a ‘former’ to that.”
“Dude, put that thing down. It’s awful.”
“Hey, come on, you know the saying. You can’t #judge a book by its cover.”
“I can when the cover is made of human skin with the words TOME OF INESCAPABLE DOOM spelled out in bloody fingernails.”
“Okay, that’s fair.”
The ruins of their #empire dotted the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, great structures of black stone no light would penetrate. We mistook prisons for tombs, believing nothing could survive cold, vast eons. We learned too late what the elder ones knew: darkness does not die.
The catcher chuckled as Summers walked to the plate and took up his stance. In the majors, a 36-year-old #rookie was little more than a joke, an object of pity. He made his own punchline with one swing, and no one pitied the man circling the bases to thundering cheers.
The invaders looked and acted human in all ways but one. They couldn’t smile. They could only turn their lips up in a gruesome #parody of a smile–cold, empty, humorless. Mandatory screenings of comedies for all citizens improved morale and rid us of the alien threat.
“Too many people down there,” Lucky warned.
“No, I can get him,” Sal said.
Lucky put a hand on his partner’s shoulder. “What’s the hitman’s #creed?”
Sal sighed and laid the scoped rifle aside. “You’re right, Luck. No collateral damage.”
“We’ll get him next time.”
Since I’ll be on vacation for the rest of this week and most of next, I’ll keep the goals light. Write micros, finish a weird western story I’ve been tinkering with, and maybe send a submission or two. The rest of it can wait until I get back. 🙂
That was my week. How was yours?