Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Write, Trash, Rewrite

So now I'm finding I need to do at least one complete rewrite per story.

It takes me at least a draft or so to see what the story is like and to flush out some interesting details. Then I can go back, choose a good POV, develop a voice, and let her rip.

I've also noticed that a short story can really only hold one idea. So I'm learning if I want to write a story about a big giant lizard, I don't want to also write about re-animating the dead. There simply isn't enough room.

Even so, I'm working more efficiently than my 10 draft past. What I did at the beginning was write the story, then go back and rewrite using it as a template. However, this locks in a certain voice and structure that may not be necessary.

With my novel in progress, at around 15,000 words, I've come to the conclusion that my main character is boring. It's a problem when the secondary characters are more intereting (actually, there are two main characters, but the primary one bores me). So what am I going to do?

Trash and rewrite.

The question is, will I be more successful this way? Right now, I've still had a grand total of 0 acceptances (althought I do have a short list, so that is something).

On the bright side, 1 acceptance will improve my rate by infinity!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Back in the Saddle, Pulp Style

I'll admit, getting 21 rejections in a row was a bummer.

I needed to take some time and tend to my wounds. By which I mean, focus more on writing that submitting. I must admit that my writing is improving my leaps and bounds. I'm officially in Story 2.0 mode now. My next generation of stories is about to go flying through the submissions process, which means I'll likely end up with 21 more rejections.

But that's okay. Rejections do sting less when they become an accepted part of life. Like bugs and camping. You go camping, you get bit. That's the price of camping. You write and sub, you get rejected. That's the price of being an author.

I think my next teachers will be the pulp authors of old. I was reading a pulpy story on one of my critter sites, and it sure looked like fun. The snappy attitude, the larger than life characters, the twists and turns to keep things moving.

So I'm trying Lester Dent's master formula on my current story. The rub is, the story started as a sort of sci fi think piece. As such, it was getting boring. With Lester Dent's magic forumula, it suddenly seems more interesting.

The pulp tip of the day: When your characters are talking, have them doing something.

"You bring the map?" Charlie asked.
"Sure I brought the map. Why wouldn't I?" Nick said.
"Because you never bring the map."


Now, add action:

"You bring the map?" Charlie ducked as the flaming arrow whizzed over his head.

Nick aimed his pistol over the wall and squeezed off a shot. "Sure I brought the map. Why wouldn't I?"

"Because you never bring the map," Charlie said. He slapped a fresh clip into his .45.