Friday, January 23, 2009

Today's assortment of thoughts

(Note: Entry edited a couple of hours later, when I realized I made a leap of transition and neglected to actually, you know, write it down.)

I'm still feeling more upbeat. Thank you to everyone who made me smile or offered me a hug or prodded encouragingly. I love you guys.

The science fair is over for this year. (Next year, both boys will be doing projects.) Joey brought home a third place ribbon for his class. I am tickled, and I think he is, too--although he is, as we all know, thirteen and too cool to do anything silly like jump up and down or crack a smile. Congrats to my eldest son on a job well done.

In today's Murderati entry guest blogger Tim Hallinan discusses what not to do when you get stuck on a story. (Even though I don't write mysteries or thrillers, the folks over there have a habit of offering sound writing advice and thought-provoking entries.)
The Second Thing Not to Do (for me, anyway) is to launch a new plot strand. Suddenly discovering a deeply moving, compelling parallel story that demands to be told is often an advanced form of the same kind of dithering that produces all those adjectives and all that dismally witty conversation. This is dangerous territory, though, because sometimes a new plot strand is exactly what you need.
This sounds semi-familiar. It's pretty much what my efforts to "fill out" my first draft of Crowmaker garnered me. To go with the new, possibly better direction, or to force myself to stick the straight and narrow path? Hmmmmmmmm...
The Third Thing Not to Do is to walk away. Give myself a break. Learn to whittle. Decide I need a few days off.
I don't necessarily agree with this. Sometimes I think the days off are what I need to restore the objectivity necessary to decide if the tangent is really a good idea or just a tangent. Although I do agree that you have to be careful that the couple of days don't turn into a month or a year. And that sometimes you really don't need the days off, you just need to suck it up and get back in there. One of my writer/first reader/sweet/funny/awesome friends put it much more succinctly for me yesterday, in a manner which involved a directive in all caps and ended with the phrase "GO GO GO!"

OK, yes. You're right, Bada. The Loki story can wait. (It objected strenuously: "But you just found that COOL BOOK on Norse legends, and the library might not have it again if you wait until later!!!" So I ordered a copy of the book for myself with my Christmas Amazon gift certificate, at which point Loki sighed and shrugged and said, "OK, kid. Fair enough," and went back to sleep for now.) I do think the time away from Crowmaker helped me see it more objectively, I do think I need to pursue the tangent which is not really a tangent, and I do think I still have an immense amount of work left on the story. But it's back at the top of my to do list.

I collected a rejection on "Wings" from Clarkesworld Magazine. The form rejection letter was worded in a polite and kind manner, and they got back to me very promptly. (Three days!) In keeping with the "GO GO GO" directive, I have regrouped and sent the story along to the next market on my list of potentials. Rejections are, after all, nothing personal, and they are good because they are an indication that I am working. Right?


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