October 23, 2011
Good morning, everybody! Even though http://www.sixsunday.com/ is apparently on hiatus for the week, I’m going to share this excerpt anyway.
This is an opening that I’m pretty sure I’m going to change. It’s for ‘The Wyverns of Werness’ – the draft that I rewrote while I was at the Kansas workshop.
First, Michael Briely went to the cargo hatch of the small plane and loaded the plastic cage with the baby wyvern inside. “Hey, little guy, you’ll be okay,” he muttered as the little blue creature hissed at him and tried to nip at his fingers through the plastic bars. “I just want you to meet a few friends of mine back at Base Camp.”
He took a few moments to check the other animals he had trapped and make sure that nobody would be short on food or water for the trip. Then he closed the hatch, climbed up into the pilot’s seat, and turned on the communicator set.
“Falcon One to Base Camp, Falcon One to Base Camp – come in Base Camp.”
August 16, 2011
One of the features over at the Stringing Words community that I’ve never participated in is the Consistent Reader’s Club – until today. I’ve been telling myself ever since I got to the Kansas Workshop that I need to make more time to read, and it hasn’t added up to much, so I figured that an ego challenge might help. 😉
There are a few Consistency Clubs over at SW, and I’ve joined in most of the others from time to time. (There’s Consistent Writers, Consistent Editors, and Consistent Bloggers; I think that’s it.) Aside from Bloggers, which plays around to give participants the chance to choose their own schedule, the rules are pretty much the same.
You set a minimum goal that you want to accomplish every day – writing 500 words, reading for a half hour, or editing a page, maybe. You keep track of your progress, count up how many days of a streak you can make it up to, and post that count on the thread as often as you like. If you fall short of your pledge for one day – only writing 350 words, say, you can choose to lower your pledge for the entire streak if you like. But if you go a day with nothing to show for it, then you have to end your streak and start a new one.
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July 2, 2011
So, I’ve been working hard today on a quick rewrite of a 5900-word science fiction story. And, just because it’s supposed to be done by tomorrow – I’m starting fresh from a blank page.
In a weird way, devoting myself to writing and science fiction for nearly every waking hour all week has convinced me that such crazy feats are possible. And, also, they’ve convinced me that this story really needs a blank-page rewrite anyway, so I might as well start that way instead of going with the superficial patches that I’ll have to pave over anyway.
I’ve learned an incredible amount about writing so far in the workshop, and the effect on my self-esteem has been indeterminate – like a quantum particle, the act of measuring how I feel about my writing seems to change it these days.
I’ve more or less caught up on my critiques – still need to do some prep-work for Monday, though that can be after tomorrow at 5pm, (the deadline for the rewrite.) I got the new chapters written for the two Roswell crossovers that I wanted to finish in June – Children of the Molecule, which is Roswell/Doctor Who, and Dragon’s Prey, the Roswell/Pern one. The third fandom story that I wanted to update in June – just wasn’t going to happen, I didn’t leave myself enough time for it, though at least I started it before I left Ontario.
And I’ve actually managed to watch some fun science fiction television – I caught two ‘Torchwood’ episodes yesterday, and watched a ‘Sarah Jane Adventure’ and an episode of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ in the dorm laundry room this morning, staring into my iphone while waiting out the wash and dry cycles.
June 9, 2011
Big thanks to everybody who left encouraging comments last week when I told you about my plans to do a third draft on ‘Harry and Mars’. It really helps to get such supportive thoughts from total strangers!
So – I started the rewrite from scratch last Saturday, and now I’m up to 5824 words, and I think that the climax has just passed. To my surprise, it’s all new stuff, too, I never got to a point where I thought, “okay, here’s where this bit from the first draft fits in” and copy/pasted it. I definitely had a lot of the same general scene ideas – the engineer finds out about the leaking tank, the captain issues orders to everybody, Harry and the engineer bond and talk about childhood fears, the fire in the reduction lab, Harry trying to get out the airlock – but I had different things I wanted to get out of each passage now.
I’ve also done some interesting character work, I think – I was wanting to establish the crew as being really multinational, and that didn’t come through on the last draft, so I started looking at all the countries who’ve had space programs, no matter how small, and looked around coming up with really distinctive names that obviously signify a nationality or ethnicity – and those names have informed the secondary characters and helped me flesh them out as individuals, in an odd way.
I feel a bit like I’ve been doing ‘discovery writing’ with this draft; I haven’t been trying to come up with a polished product, just get some good stuff in there, especially since I know that the Kansas crew will be able to help me figure out what works and what doesn’t. But I like the story more at this point than I thought I might.
Which is good, because there’s about five days left to finish and polish it before sending it out to my fellow CSSF workshoppers – not to mention any last changes I want to make to the Landing. Tic-toc!