The (first!) Kansas stories binder.

June 24, 2011

Well, it’s less than 36 hours before I leave to go to Kansas, now.

As I may have mentioned, all of the participants have sent out their 3 stories to be workshopped now, and the workshop leader, Chris M, suggested that we should have printed them all out and bring the printouts with us. Earlier this week, I started to think about such little practical questions as ‘Do I have enough printer paper? What will I take all these printouts to Kansas in?’ So I stopped at Walmart when doing an after-work practice driving session with my brother on Wednesday, and picked up:

  1. a 500 pack of laser and copier paper.
  2. a 1 inch 3-ring binder.
  3. a new 3-hole puncher.
  4. some binder dividers.

I got most of the stories printed out Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, but I didn’t begin to punch the holes or put them into the binder until tonight, and I quickly realized that the one binder wasn’t going to be enough. I’ve punched out and inserted 245 pages by my count, but the binder’s nearly full, and the 24 stories in all total 475 pages.

I do want to get everything into two binders if I can, especially since the schedule given is that half of us will get their stories critiqued on any given afternoon, in the same split, so I can have one binder for the on-days and one for the off-days. It actually looks like my best strategy will be to get a larger binder, (an inch and a half?) for the group that I’ve started on, since that one has some longer-winded scribes, and keep the one-inch binder for the other side.

It’s starting to settle in on me just how much writing we’re going to be going through, and it’s something very different than I’m used to organizing at one time. I’ve grown accustomed to the idea of running off half a dozen or more copies of my own story to take to one of the critique groups here in town, but Kansas CSSF is obviously a very different kind of thing.

So, I’d better get myself to the store early tomorrow.


Doing another big rewrite

June 3, 2011

I want to rewrite ‘Harry and Mars’ by June 14th, so that I can incorporate most of the notes I got from critters.org before submitting it for the Kansas workshop. (I’m also planning to do a few more revisions to ‘The Landing’ in the same timeframe.)

Unfortunately, it looks like most of the opinions I got from critters.org are suggesting that the story has some good potential, but some serious issues. When I pull up the appropriate tab of my ‘tracking spreadsheet’, some of the first entries for Harry and Mars include:

  • Flesh out the characterization of all characters (except Harry)
  • Explain the roots and the progressions of the phobia better. The reader has to believe in it!
  • Plot relies on unlikely personal issues.
  • ‘Show, don’t tell’ about Harry in particular
  • Write with better style
  • Explore the theme of hopelessness more?
  • The ending is pointless

Now, to be fair, I sorted the list for items that I felt would require a lot of work to get these ones to the top, but still, there weren’t a lot of ‘quick wins’ and easy changes that I thought would improve the story much.

Like the title character in the story, I do feel a bit as if I’m on the edge of giving into despair and fear. I’ve already done a fairly substantial rewrite on my first draft, and despite the potential that I and other people have seen, I’m not entirely sure if there’s a great story in here that I can tell, or that I really want to tell. Still, I haven’t given up, and I’m going to give it one more try in the next two weeks. Going over all the points from that list, I’ve actually just had an interesting idea for reworking the story – getting rid of Charlie as the POV character, beginning the story with Harry attempting suicide and being stopped, and having three supporting characters each interview her to try and find out why she did it – the doctor, the captain, and Charlie, the best friend.

As tempting as it was to work in the ‘phobia of Phobos’ bit, I think that that was leading me astray too. My first draft wasn’t about a phobia, but about a crewmember on a space flight giving into depression and despair in the midst of a crisis, and I think that may be the better way to go after all. The question of why she suffered from that depression, and how no-one had spotted it earlier, can be the central question that I explore.

Wish me luck!

 


Making travel plans

June 1, 2011

I’ve been doing a lot of travel planning over the past few weeks, and the anticipation can be almost as much fun as the actual travelling. (It can also be a bit frustrating.)

  • There’s the big trip, of course, to Lawrence, Kansas for the CSSF workshop, last week of June and first week of July.
  • Dragon*Con 2011, Labor day weekend in Atlanta!
  • Fan Expo 2011, the week before in Toronto. Going up to Toronto for a day or an evening doesn’t really count as a trip on the same level as flying to the states, but when I’m booking a hotel room in the city for the weekend, then I tend to count it.
  • And, I’ve just made the arrangements to go back to San Francisco in November, to attend the Night of Writing Dangerously for my third straight year!
I’m planning to go to Polaris as well, wouldn’t miss my chance to go and see Adam Baldwin, but haven’t actually booked the ticket or the hotel yet. I’ll need to do that soon, as the online ticket sales deadline is in just a few days.
And I think that when all of that is done, I’ll still have some vacation time left, because my boss confirmed that I qualify for four weeks off this year. Where else should I go – any ideas?

There’s no place like… Kansas?

May 16, 2011

So I got into the CSSF Short fiction workshop – I’ll be spending two weeks in Lawrence, Kansas this summer! I’m really excited, and you’ll definitely be hearing more from me about this.

In other travel and vacation news, I found a vacancy in an Atlanta hotel for Labor day weekend and registered for DragonCon 2011!

Been running around all evening, need to go to bed soon. Blog more tomorrow.


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