Creation

Writing a story is like having sex… exciting, fun, heart-pounding, sometimes messy and awkward, but always enjoyable when there is passion involved.

Then, editing is like raising the child…

The Orville: Episode 8, into the fold

In the first really boring episode of the series, Dr. Claire and her two sons attempt to go on vacation, but are instead sucked into a fold in space and shot out a thousand lightyears away, and crash land on an alien planet.

It sounds interesting in principle, but instead it’s just endless bickering children and diseased cannibals.

I guess the ‘moral’ of the episode is you should appreciate your parents and how much they care for you. But it is shown in a really dull way.

The kids are separated from Dr. Claire, and have to be taken care of by Isaac, who with his robot ignorance, shows us what parent/child relationships are like by asking very blunt questions like ‘why are you such little shitstains to your mom’, to paraphrase.

In the end the kids feel bad and apologize for being jerks.

Also Dr. Claire is locked up by a survivalist alien who tries to feed her, but won’t let her go outside because of the poison water and hoards of diseased that will try to kill and eat her. To repay him for his kindness, she tricks him into going to her ship to search for medicine (which he does, because he is worried she will die) then when he gets back she kills him. How kind.

On the plus side this episode was real light on the stupid humor.

Word trap

Still listening to Dorian Gray, but I’ve noticed a certain repetition of wording that happens so often it stands out. No one in this book ever sits down, they all invariably fling or throw themselves into their chairs and sofas–sometimes multiple characters in a scene.

I find myself repeating words like that, too. When I read back through something I wrote, I see the same word over and over, and I have to search for replacements for it.

Good to know even the best of authors can fall into repetitive patterns!

Red magic?

 

I’m using Lucent Dreaming‘s writing prompt, because I ran out of ideas today!

What is Red Magic? Red is associated with love, and anger… both closely related. Passionate feelings are given the color red. I wonder why that is? It could be because blood is red, and this primal fact, deep in our brains, causes the association of red with painful, or powerful feelings of life and death.

Fire is also red… and is given the same characteristics of love and anger… consuming, unstoppable, destructive, hot…

What would red magic be? Probably something that flung you into blind, passionate love, set your mind ablaze with a broiling rage, and set you on fire in actual flames, all at once.

Active crows

I’ve always felt drawn to crows, but lately I’ve been feeling more and more interested in them. Something about their eyes and their behavior radiates mystery and intelligence to me. I think my next novel will involve crows in some way…

But, it also will involve active characters. In editing my novel and my novella, I’m noticing that despite how much I espouse having driving, active characters… my own characters are not super active themselves. Sure, they make choices and have consequences, but they could use a bit more passion and urgency. It’s true that not all people are passionate or urgent, but… those aren’t commonly the people one wants to read about…

Write and learn, I guess!

Seasons

I wonder what it would have been like for an ancient people migrating from an equatorial region and seeing seasons for the first time. Winter would seem like the end of the world…

The trees are dying all around, it’s getting colder and even the sun hides beyond the horizon most of the time. The birds are fleeing, animals are disappearing into hibernation… for someone unprepared, it might have seemed like a worldwide catastrophe, or supernatural evil…

I wonder what myths or religions could have originated in that way…

Start at the action

Now that I’ve got a bit of experience slush reading at our new magazine, I can say ‘start at the action’ with even more certainty than ever.

When you’re reading someone else’s story, who you don’t know, and have no preconceptions about, it is a lot easier to see faults. One fault being ‘I have no desire to keep reading this because nothing is happening.’ If your friend or family wrote the story, you want to see what happens because you are curious about the ideas in the head of someone you care about. But, most other people reading that story might get bored…

If your story is about a bank robbery, start at the bank. A detailed account of the afternoon leading up to the robbery is going to lose 90% of your readers, even if it’s really great prose. Short stories aren’t novels, people don’t know what they are about or what to expect, so you have to let them know what the story is about right away and give them a reason to keep reading.

I think I will learn a lot about writing from the experience with this magazine!