Day 20 – You Can’t Always Get What You Want

I’m posting this a bit earlier because it’s Friday, and usually I get distracted by Friday night, and therefore forget to post. At any rate, I’ve already gotten my writing done for the day, so might as well! 

Before I get into that, though, I’d like to recommend everyone who’s an aspiring author (or heck, even a semi-pro or established author) to check out Peter M. Ball’s post linking to two of Jim Butcher’s blogs about Scenes and Sequels. I just finished reading these two posts, and honestly, they just blow my mind. I feel like the information Butcher presents is–to some degree–something I’m familiar with, but only in that fuzzy, nebulous “it just felt right” kind of way. Having read this, I feel like I’ve got some logical tools at hand to really amp-up future fiction projects. And I’d like to add, that while Butcher’s examples of Scenes are somewhat pulpy (which I actually enjoy, most of the time), the thing that struck me particularly was how accurate his breakdown was even for The Silver Spoon by John Galsworthy, which I finished a month or so ago, and that‘s a social society-strife novel with very little physical action (and yet still keeps you on the edge of your seat–for precisely the reasons Butcher mentions!)

It seems so obvious, now! :) Definitely check it out if you’re interested. Fascinating stuff!


WRITING/EDITING PROJECT: Far-future lifeforms! Pulsars! Sentient robotic trees! Seedling space-travel! Massive radiation poisoning! It’s all here, and being converted to flash fiction from 3,600 words.

Working Title: ”The Miracle of Jane”
Added Words: N/A
Total Words (to date): ~2000

Happening Today in the World of Fiction!: Death by solar flare! Despondent wards and moral questions! Vaporized minds! 

Notes: Rawr. Just…rawr… Today, I woke up with a massive fix to this story, one that pretty much solves all the weakness from the first draft and really amps it up to something that says something. Unfortunately, that meant rewriting one previously trimmed-down scene. Besides that, I also wrote the opening scene and the finale, and lo and behold: it’s 2k. To say I’m frustrated is a slight understatement. I can imagine chopping out an additional 150-200 words, but 500? That’s not happening. The story’s already down to bare-bones, and cutting 500 will effectively render it soulless. 

I’m a big proponent–usually–of letting a story be the length it wants to be (within reason). This one, it turns out, is just not a flash fiction story. I won’t force it. I’ve brought it down from 3.6k to 2k-even, and that’s a huge, huge improvement. The plot is better, the characters are more developed, the setting is richer, and the emotional conflict far more interesting, but I just…cannot…cut…out…more. Not without gutting the climax. Not without chopping down some of the few things that give this story heart. It’s just not a 1,500 word story. 

I will eventually get over the frustration of not being able to fit this one into the submission guidelines for a market I particularly wanted to try for, but at the moment, I’m feeling a bit defeated. This particular story isn’t one I haven’t sent out before. In fact, it’s been rejected quite a few times, occasionally from markets I’d really, really, really like to break into with very kind, encouraging rejections. One specified that it was very close, but didn’t *quite* do everything they thought it could have. Another said it made the final cut, but just didn’t beat out the other stories being considered. The problem is, I’ve already sent this story to my top/favorite markets, so even revised to 2k (and it’ll probably be a bit less than that once I’ve smoothed it out and polished it again) there just aren’t a whole lot of places I feel I can send it. There are some–don’t get me wrong, there are–but all those favored markets are already done with it, and I know won’t want to see it again, even rewritten. So it’s on to new markets, but where? Where?! Ugh, and then wasting a whole week on a revision for a project that can’t even go to those favored markets~! 

I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself, if you can’t tell, and I know this feeling will eventually pass. It was good that I got around to fixing this one, because I do think I solved a lot of the issues my favored markets had with it. It’s good that I edited this one, because I need the editing practice, and this experience has taught me how tight I can write when I want do. 

I can intellectually see the many pro’s of failing the initial goal on this one, but for right now, I think I’m going to wallow in it a bit and go watch a Project Runway or something. :0\ 

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