You’ve sweated, plotted and struck the nubs of your fingers into your keyboard enough times to wear indentations into the keys. The first draft is in your hands. What do you do now?
You fix it.
Even best selling authors have to repair their story structure. Kevin Hearn gives a nice accounting about the process between his editor and him. But you, I’m going to guess, don’t have an editor, at least not a developmental editor, because those puppies are expensive, so it’s a DYI exercise.
You: Hey, I’m a spiffy writer and nothing is wrong with my pretty baby.
Here is the dividing line between an amateur writer and a professional one (at least in intent)–you are willing to tear apart your work ruthlessly in order to make it better. There is no emotion involved in this except the “aw shucks” when you have to kill one of your darlings, or cut a character or scene you love but doesn’t add to the story.
This week’s chapter is another of Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge this time titled Ten More Sentences; Round Two. That’s self explanatory. You should be able to read this as a stand alone, but let me know if you can’t. 🙂
TO FORBIDDEN PASSENGERS
In the end, they ran. The group of them, now four, when before they were three, were spotted by one of the slavers as they slipped from the maze of cages that had held their prize. This was the young man they had stolen to conscript as crew on their ship.
The young man they “rescued” stayed close, his legs pumping as hard as theirs under the blazing white sun of a planet who life expectancy was comparatively short. But humans resided on it now, low and crass as this class was, and they only cared about the air, water and sunlight on it. It was a haven in the vastness of a Universe that served up few of the necessities of life.
But right now, Arekan’s and his fellows necessity was to make their ship, board it, and hope to hell that the captain or the pilot could make way before an Oshijian Empire war cruiser could shoot the pirate ship out of the black.
But the run was difficult. It was hot, humid and the air a touch too thin for physical exertion. But more than that the predations of life aboard the pirate ship—his ship, thought Arekan regretfully—took a toll on his body. He gasped for breath as his legs pumped against gravity that was a full half gee above what the captain set for gravity on the ship. And that little economy move, Arekan realized now, weakened his body.
No wonder the others didn’t want to leave the pirate ship.
You’ve plotted or pants your way through your novel, spent long months of taking your hero or heroine from there to back again, and then you read it. And die a little inside. Because even though you’ve created engaging characters, put them in gut twisting situations, and gave them a resolution that makes you weep, something is off. Terribly, terribly off.
Your novel drags in places. Goes too fast in others. The beginning is solid, but the middle is soggy. The ending seems rushed. One character seems to overtake scenes they shouldn’t. You think it’s the plotting, but you look at all the elements, and yep, everything is there that you intended as a plotter, or discovered as a pantser. Maybe this is the place you stall. You aren’t sure what to do. Or maybe you suck as a writer (hint: you don’t) and you shove the whole thing (figuratively, because you use a computer) into the furtherest corner of your desk.Continue reading The Art of #Writing: #Plotting and #Pacing Using #Scrivener
Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction challenge was to pick one of ten titles and write a story to it. At first, my inner muse said “write something pretty,” but then that old dog, Arekan whispered, “You’d been looking for a entree into the next chapter of Pirate’s Luck.” Though it is part of the larger work, I’ve tried to make it as standalone as possible. So, here is the next chapter of Pirate’s Luck. Warning: Adult themes though more a suggestion than action.
Discount Skin Ticket
The main drag of the spaceport town flashed and jittered with bright lights, blinking signs and sharp sounds that sprang from nowhere. Walking side by side to Arekan, Obon gawked at the women and boys standing or sitting seductively behind their plasglass windows. One young boy licked his lips salaciously as the men of the Rogan walked by.
“We should grab that one,” said Obon. “He’d be fun.”
“So you like boys?” said Egren who stood on Arekan’s left.
Obon shrugged. “I like them all. A touch of skin, whiff of their hair, tasting them.”
The Rogan’s crewmember ran his tongue across his lips and Arekan shivered. Unlike many of his shipmates, Obon was a pirate born into the trade. That he crewed on the shitehole of the Rogan was a testament to his degenerate nature. (Click here to read more)
Arekan didn’t want to face the crew or Grokin or Etharin. His stomach rolled queasy cramps, and he had a blazing headache. He stumbled past the entrance to the crews quarters. no occupied the this time of day, but anyone of them was likely to pop in so he couldn’t stay there. He grabbed his blanket and the weak excuse for the pillow from his bunk and staggered down the hallway. He tried the hatches of passenger cabins on either side but found them solidly locked. Finally, a hatch creaked open and Arekan slid his body into the compartment.
He hit the light switch at the compartment’s entrance to find a cabin as wide as the crews quarters. Fuzzily Arekan remembered Grokin had mentioned a torn up recreation room. Apparently he found it. Pieces of furniture lay upside down with the fabric on them cut with deep slashes. Some crew member or members had themselves a hell of a time destroying this place. The compartment was grimy, with the deck and walls smeared with what looked like dark brown of dried blood. But Arekan was rapidly getting accustomed to filth, and he was too tired to care.
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Oh no. No one actually interviewed me. But over at Fantasy-Writers.org a member posted a thread asking us about how we started as writers and then added a few more questions. It evolved into an interview of sorts so here goes:
1.How did everyone get their start in writing fantasy?
It was a confluence of cultural influences that led me to science fiction and fantasy. When I was eleven Star Trek first hit the small screen. But before that there were a bunch of popular SF themed shows. Land of the Giants, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea are two. When I was even younger there was a Saturday morning kid’s show Fireball XL5 about the missions of spaceship Fireball XL5, commanded by Colonel Steve Zodiac of the World Space Patrol. The characters were produced through puppetry, and had the cheesiest of production values, (sometimes you saw the wires) but to my five-year old mind it was fascinating.Continue reading Interview with the #Scifi #author
Pain accompanied every movement as Grokin pushed him up the ladder that led to the engine room.
Arekan stared stupidly at the long cylinder of the null space displacement unit that ran through the center of the compartment. Except for a few class tours on his home ship, he’d never seen one. But this piece of equipment as everything else on this tub looked in disrepair. Its paint cracked and peeled along its casing, and the rust brown of corrosion marked the unit’s seams. Arekan grew queasier at witnessing the poor condition of this major aspect of the propulsion system.
The engineer whipped his head toward Arekan and Grokin and frowned. Tinnen was extremely lean and white-haired. A deep scar cut into his cheek running from his ear to his jaw, which deepened with the scowl he gave both men.
“This is who you brought?” said Tinnen incredulously.
Note: I wrote the following piece for a Fantasy Writer’s.org monthly challenge three years ago. I haven’t found a market for it, so I’m publishing it here for Winter Solstice. There is a little fantasy/science fiction mix here, so bear with me. I’ve always like this story and whenever I read it–well, you’ll see.
THE INATTENTIONS OF MR. WEATHERBY
In advance of the coming cold front, thick flakes swirled and hit the muddy street. Ari’s boots slipped in the mud and the thin coating of melting snow. Her basket in hand, she looked up as the flying ice batted her eyes. She pulled up her scarf over her nose and pushed on, making her way to the little store before her. The storefront was dark, but whether it was because Mr. Weatherby closed the store early, or the sudden storm dampened the light of the sun, she did not know.
She pushed at the door, and it yielded, opening on the slight warmth of an enclosed space holding back the greater cold of the outside world. There was a fireplace off to the left, but it was not lit. The rafters were dark from a lack of light in the shop. She stomped her feet before she entered loosening some of the mud from her boots.\
“Weatherby,” she called.
Typically, there was no answer. She often remarked he was the worst storekeeper ever, but Weatherby would only scoff.