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!

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!

Our New Creative Writing Magazine is Open for Submissions — Lucent Dreaming — Jannat Ahmed

Many moons ago, before the summer slung itself haphazard over the shoulders of Britons, and as easily fell away, my friends and I dreamt up a new creative writing magazine. The journey to launch has been an interesting one. Frankly, of course, we have no idea what we’re doing. And I imagine that will be […]

via Our New Creative Writing Magazine is Open for Submissions — Lucent Dreaming — Jannat Ahmed

Gerunds

I hate them! I am going through my novel and highlighting all of them. Of course, not all are bad all of the time, but I think they are a good indicator of where a sentence can be improved.

Ing, with, still, again, had been, began to, was, etc. Lots of words that can be perfectly fine, but often are not. I see them as red flags. And a lot of red flags in one area means I should probably improve that area…

Chop chop!

Dual mind

Writing takes love, self confidence, optimism, and hope in order to complete anything. But editing, I am coming to believe, takes hate, pessimism, and self-disgust.

A writer has to be two people, two halves isolated from each other–the writing half is an excited person full of energy and love for the words they are creating (ideally). But when its time to edit, you better hate those words enough to slash them to pieces and bury them in an unmarked grave, all while laughing and spitting on them for how terrible they are.

Have I mastered this? I don’t know. But it helps, I think, to imagine the words as someone else’s. Some other me who is a terrible writer and I can scoff at their incompetence and point out every single flaw. Then once everything is highlighted and marked and notated, I can turn back into the creative optimist and fix it all up.

That’s the plan anyway. It is pretty hard!

Rejection

I often feel like I’m in an unresolved quantum state of love/hate toward my own writing. It fluctuates so quickly sometimes that I can’t even read it. Nothing cures that like a rejection. Rejections magnify all faults and mute all positives. Now, maybe I can actually look at this story long enough to work on it. It’s been a while since I’ve been in the submission game, got to get used to this distressing waiting and constant disappointment again!

Submitting again

I submitted that story I wrote on Thursday, to Fireside fiction. I fixed it up some and got a bit of feedback, but there isn’t much time as they are only open for submissions for a week at a time here and there. Excited to hear back from them! I have a good feeling about it.

It feels good to be submitting stories again, even if just here and there. I also sent an old story I rewrote to a couple places and have been rejected, but it still feels good to get back into it. Write, submit, repeat, get back to it!