Verify that you’re not insane

I got some feedback on my novella, The Observer, yesterday, and it was encouraging to hear that it was not a completely boring, confusing, self-indulgent mess as I sometimes feel it is in my spirals of confidence.

Getting your writing out into the real world in front of real eyes (not those excessively cruel/worshipfully sycophantic ones of your imagination) is quite helpful, and I highly recommend you find a group of trustworthy people to tell you what’s what about your writing.

Thanks writing friends, for all your help!

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That feeling when you still have half the book left

One thing about audiobooks, is you can’t tell how far into the story you are while listening. A paper book, you can see the thickness of the pages in your hand. A kindle book has that little percentage on the bottom as you turn the pages. But an audiobook, who knows?

I’m still listening to My Name is Red, and I had thought that the narrative was drawing to a crescendo, and that the story would soon be over. Maybe it’s because I’m used to listening to books that are ~10 hours long, and I sort of felt this time approaching, but I actually am just reaching he halfway mark.

It’s a fun feeling to find out that a story you are enjoying is suddenly going to keep going for a lot longer than you thought!

 

Submitting again

I’ve had 4 submissions this year… and am still waiting on two of them, and will be sending out another one next week. Good to be getting back into it! I’m determined to get a couple more sales under my belt, it’s been way too long!

My stories have improved over the years, so I just need to write more of them. That’s part of my goals for this year, along with all the editing I need to do…

The key is to send them out, everywhere, constantly. I haven’t been doing that until recently, and thus… no sales. So I’m starting again, and will not stop! Since now I have the super power of being able to write two things at once, I am going to be sure I always have one or two stories out there waiting to be read by some editor.

It will work… eventually!

Hopefully you can read a new short story by me in a magazine soon!

Which world is the dream world…

What does your mind do while you’re away? Could your dream world be more important and enriching than waking life?

Our days so often seem like meaningless survival, as if our consciousness is just a way to keep us eating and procreating, the same way a section of our brain keeps our hearts beating and lungs breathing.

Is consciousness just an autonomic function, while our subconscious in the dream world is where our important mental lives are?

How could one unite those two consciousnesses for the full experience…

Strange points of view

I’m listening to My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk, and so far there has been a chapter narrated by a dead man at the bottom of a well, and one narrated by a stray dog. These attention-grabbing narrators are fun to read, and I think they might be fun to write, too, so I plan to do something strange like that in my next writing, if it fits the theme…

There are so many ways to tell the story you want to tell, why go for the obvious one?

 

King, Queen, Knave, by Vladimir Nabokov

This fun, funny, and darkly interesting novel is another masterpiece in the seemingly endless line of masterpieces from Nabokov.

This book has made me decide that I will no longer listen to any Nabokov books, and will read them all instead, because I am endlessly wanting to highlight things.

This story is about a woman’s affair with her nephew, Franz, and her husband, Dreyer’s, blissful ignorance of her, the nephew, and anyone’s needs or desires or thoughts other than his own. It’s about the Franz’s, inability to make decisions on his own, and his increasingly autonomous life. It’s about the woman, Martha’s, greed and distaste for her husband that consumers her both literally and metaphorically.

It’s also about the delicious, lyrical, humorous prose that always shines in every Nabokov novel I’ve had the pleasure of perusing.

So excited that I’ve got more Nabokov in my future…

An opening I’m tired of

John Smith did something as another thing happened. “Unexpected statement that sets the tone of the story,” he said. 

Stories that open this way somehow lose my interest in an instant, no matter how interesting the things John is doing or saying are. Why? Because the structure of the opening is so familiar it induces a sigh regardless of the words? Maybe…

Turk Johnston vomited vampire bats out his glowing mouth while the gates of hell crashed open behind him and released a hoard of demons. “What a day to quit my addiction to summoning demons,” he said. 

Is it possible to write an opening in that format that is good? Somehow that structure just tells me the story is going to be schlock.

Debbie Wilson sighed at the crinkled photo of her husband as tears trickled down her cheeks. “I can’t believe it’s been a century and I still love you,” she said. 

Better? Maybe? But somehow, the structure saps everything out of it. I think it is the  name that really does it. Is it so important in any way that her name is ‘ Debbie Wilson’ that it has to be the first words we see?

She sighed at the crinkled photo of her husband as tears trickled down her cheeks. “I can’t believe it’s been a century and I still love you,” she said. 

Why is that suddenly so much better? But still, it could be improved to not be trapped in that simple structure of ‘here’s what’s happening everyone.’ Must everything be so direct?

Her withered finger hovered over his fresh, vibrant face, and she wished that version of him could rise above the crinkled, creased and torn surface–weathered as her own hand–that trapped him. 

Now I’m not being directly told ‘she is looking at an old photo and being sad.’

I guess that is really what it comes down to. Show don’t tell.

And now I know why I dislike that kind of opening!