jacey: (Default)
There's a meme going round writers at the moment to recast the opening lines of your novel as poetry. I'm not sure any of these really work. The first one is the opening of 'The Winterwood Choice' currently with my agent.

The stuffy bedroom smelled
of sickness,
old lady, stale urine
and unwashed clothes,
poorly disguised
with attar of roses.

I'd never thought to stand
here again
in Plymouth,
in the house I'd once called home;
a house
with memories so bitter
that I'd scoured them from my mind
with salt water
and blood.

-o0o-

And Empire of Dust is just plain weird as poetry:

Cora
glanced into the tray
of delicate components
on the slowly moving belt
and thumbed the pad.
All present.
Tick.
Next one.
Yes.
Tick.
And again.
Tick.
She stifled
a yawn.

“Hey, Carlinni, I got one.”
On the other line
Bergman
punched the air
and grinned.

-o0o-

But Spider on the Web works slightly better, I think:

The Wavel Bell tolled
the death knell of a king.
It sounded
from high on the Gora
and echoed
across the city of Biela Miasto.

Hari Faron
felt the sound
in the back of his skull.
He leaped to his feet
clattered a flagon to the floor
swayed unsteadily and
flattened his large square hands
on the wet wooden tabletop
trying to sober up
between one breath
and the next.
And failing miserably.

-o0o-

But what do i know? i'm rubbish at poetry
jacey: (Default)
Yet another rewrite of Spider on the Web - or should I say, another pass in the ongoing revision process. Some name changes and minor tweaks following a mapping revelation including a little geographical juggling and some photoshop-assisted cartography. I'm just doing another read-through for consistency.

I think it's really coming together now.
jacey: (Default)
Yet another rewrite of Spider on the Web - or should I say, another pass in the ongoing revision process. Some name changes and minor tweaks following a mapping revelation including a little geographical juggling and some photoshop-assisted cartography. I'm just doing another read-through for consistency.

I think it's really coming together now.
jacey: (Default)
Huge thanks to [livejournal.com profile] brownnicky  for being the first to read Spider on the Web and giving me some great feedback, It's keeping me busy hence I've not been posting much over the last couple of days. I'm one of those writers who actually likes the process of revision and - given the opportunity - I will polish and polish and never call a piece finished. I'm going through it now to check each one of [livejournal.com profile] brownnicky 's comments, doing a quick revision pass and then it's going to three volunteer beta-readers for comments. I was worried about a few squick factors but I may have been over-sensitive. So far, so good.

I sent my deposit cheque off this week for the Milford SF writers' week which this year is the end of October. It's still a long way off, but I'm really looking forward to it. [livejournal.com profile] mevennen  is the current Milford secretary and [livejournal.com profile] bluehairsue  the chair.

Other than that it's been a weird week on TV starting with Saturday and the return of Robin the Hoodie on BBC TV shown against Primeval on ITV. Bad planning, guys, but at least Primeval is repeated on Sunday. I'm only watching Robin the Hoodie to see if it improves. Yeah, right. I've been saying that for two seasons already. It hasn't yet, but Richard Armitage is still great eye-candy. Heroes (Mondays) is improving since its dire Season Two, though. Sadly I keep forgetting to switch on for Smallville on Tuesdays. It has its good moments but they are fewer and further between these days. And I've gone past caring about what happens to Sam and Dean in Supernatural. Sorry, guys. When's the first of the Doctor Who specials? Easter, I hope.

The car went in dock for a service and its MOT check. It passed, but on the way home the new joint on one of the steering thingies started clunking. Turned out it was faulty so we were without it for another day.

BB tried to take the end of his finger off with a hammer on Tuesday resulting in a nasty spell of him almost passing out and me doing the instant first aid thing with him laid out on the kitchen floor in recovery position. Oh joy. I still think it needed a once-over by someone with more knowledge than me, but - unusually - there was no doctor, nurse or first aider available at our local surgery that day, and a ten mile trip in a car (presuming I'd been able to borrow one - see above paragraph) when he already has a tendency to car sickness at the best of times (as a passenger) and is feeling woozy, faint and sick from the accident was something that didn't seem to be in his best interests. But I spent the rest of Tuesday watching him like a hawk. He seems fine now, but he's changed the dressing himself so I haven't seen the finger. Any sign of infection and he gets no choice about that trip to the doctor's.

He's working out in the garden again, so he can't be feeling that bad. The first raised bed is almost ready to plant.

I went to see 'Knowing' on Wednesday with H. It's one of those movies you don't want to know too much about before you go and see it. Also it reminded me how good Nicholas Cage is. As for the movie itself - well - it's not a laugh a minute and I had issues with the ending, but parts of it were spectacular and the tension really cranks up. On balance I'm glad I went. The first 3/4 of the movie gets five stars.

I finished reading Kari Sperring's Living With Ghosts but I haven't digested it enough to write a Book Log on it yet. It deserves more than a quick recap of the story - if indeed you could recap it quickly! Must do that tomorrow or Saturday. I picked up China Mieville's Un Lon Don for my next read, but then got sidetracked by a historical that someone (one of my visiting musos) had left in the house. I ordered [livejournal.com profile] brownnicky 's 'Shadow Web' from the local bookseller in Denby Dale and must remember to collect it tomorrow or Saturday.

It's such a long time since I've read a Regency romance that I decided I should read some Georgette Heyer... just to remind myself of the specific genre and because I'd like to compare and contrast with some of the SF novels heavily influenced by her - such as Bujold's 'A Civil Campaign'. The local bookshop has none, Waterstones in Wakefield only had three and they were expensive (eight pounds for a skinny paperback). I figured a charity shop or used department of the local bookshop might be my best bet - but not a Heyer in sight. Is she going / has she gone out of fashion?

I spent part of yesterday pricking out seedlings and potting on cuttings. The tomatoes (2 varieties) have all sprouted. Some are nearly six inches tall while others have only just thrown up their first pair of leaves, but they're all viable. The lettuce is rampant. The purple sprouting broccoli has grown, but doesn't look very well. The fuchsia cuttings are brilliant

Other than that I have a touch of toothache (which considering I only had a dental check last week (all clear) seems a bit unfair) and an entirely self-inflicted stiff neck from falling asleep in a chair compounded by bad typing posture. Will I never learn?

Oh, and I did some day job work, too.

jacey: (Default)
Huge thanks to [livejournal.com profile] brownnicky  for being the first to read Spider on the Web and giving me some great feedback, It's keeping me busy hence I've not been posting much over the last couple of days. I'm one of those writers who actually likes the process of revision and - given the opportunity - I will polish and polish and never call a piece finished. I'm going through it now to check each one of [livejournal.com profile] brownnicky 's comments, doing a quick revision pass and then it's going to three volunteer beta-readers for comments. I was worried about a few squick factors but I may have been over-sensitive. So far, so good.

I sent my deposit cheque off this week for the Milford SF writers' week which this year is the end of October. It's still a long way off, but I'm really looking forward to it. [livejournal.com profile] mevennen  is the current Milford secretary and [livejournal.com profile] bluehairsue  the chair.

Other than that it's been a weird week on TV starting with Saturday and the return of Robin the Hoodie on BBC TV shown against Primeval on ITV. Bad planning, guys, but at least Primeval is repeated on Sunday. I'm only watching Robin the Hoodie to see if it improves. Yeah, right. I've been saying that for two seasons already. It hasn't yet, but Richard Armitage is still great eye-candy. Heroes (Mondays) is improving since its dire Season Two, though. Sadly I keep forgetting to switch on for Smallville on Tuesdays. It has its good moments but they are fewer and further between these days. And I've gone past caring about what happens to Sam and Dean in Supernatural. Sorry, guys. When's the first of the Doctor Who specials? Easter, I hope.

The car went in dock for a service and its MOT check. It passed, but on the way home the new joint on one of the steering thingies started clunking. Turned out it was faulty so we were without it for another day.

BB tried to take the end of his finger off with a hammer on Tuesday resulting in a nasty spell of him almost passing out and me doing the instant first aid thing with him laid out on the kitchen floor in recovery position. Oh joy. I still think it needed a once-over by someone with more knowledge than me, but - unusually - there was no doctor, nurse or first aider available at our local surgery that day, and a ten mile trip in a car (presuming I'd been able to borrow one - see above paragraph) when he already has a tendency to car sickness at the best of times (as a passenger) and is feeling woozy, faint and sick from the accident was something that didn't seem to be in his best interests. But I spent the rest of Tuesday watching him like a hawk. He seems fine now, but he's changed the dressing himself so I haven't seen the finger. Any sign of infection and he gets no choice about that trip to the doctor's.

He's working out in the garden again, so he can't be feeling that bad. The first raised bed is almost ready to plant.

I went to see 'Knowing' on Wednesday with H. It's one of those movies you don't want to know too much about before you go and see it. Also it reminded me how good Nicholas Cage is. As for the movie itself - well - it's not a laugh a minute and I had issues with the ending, but parts of it were spectacular and the tension really cranks up. On balance I'm glad I went. The first 3/4 of the movie gets five stars.

I finished reading Kari Sperring's Living With Ghosts but I haven't digested it enough to write a Book Log on it yet. It deserves more than a quick recap of the story - if indeed you could recap it quickly! Must do that tomorrow or Saturday. I picked up China Mieville's Un Lon Don for my next read, but then got sidetracked by a historical that someone (one of my visiting musos) had left in the house. I ordered [livejournal.com profile] brownnicky 's 'Shadow Web' from the local bookseller in Denby Dale and must remember to collect it tomorrow or Saturday.

It's such a long time since I've read a Regency romance that I decided I should read some Georgette Heyer... just to remind myself of the specific genre and because I'd like to compare and contrast with some of the SF novels heavily influenced by her - such as Bujold's 'A Civil Campaign'. The local bookshop has none, Waterstones in Wakefield only had three and they were expensive (eight pounds for a skinny paperback). I figured a charity shop or used department of the local bookshop might be my best bet - but not a Heyer in sight. Is she going / has she gone out of fashion?

I spent part of yesterday pricking out seedlings and potting on cuttings. The tomatoes (2 varieties) have all sprouted. Some are nearly six inches tall while others have only just thrown up their first pair of leaves, but they're all viable. The lettuce is rampant. The purple sprouting broccoli has grown, but doesn't look very well. The fuchsia cuttings are brilliant

Other than that I have a touch of toothache (which considering I only had a dental check last week (all clear) seems a bit unfair) and an entirely self-inflicted stiff neck from falling asleep in a chair compounded by bad typing posture. Will I never learn?

Oh, and I did some day job work, too.

jacey: (Default)
I've had a bit of difficulty researching the Polish background to Spider on the Web, but today I found a wonderful site with everything I could possibly want to know about Krakow. Yay. It will give me some sorely needed little details for the background, especially since it gives a brief history of various buildings.

But...

It appears the Kings of Poland were all interred in the cathedral. Bummer. My opening chapter had the King's cremation. I know mine is a fantasy Poland not the real Poland - but in 1650 it should have been a burial not a cremation. I knew that, really, but for other reasons the cremation fitted my plot-line so I was trying to ignore it.

An unbroken line of kings each entombed in their own royal sarcophagus in the cathedral is a bit harder to ignore.

Back to the drawing board.

jacey: (Default)
I've had a bit of difficulty researching the Polish background to Spider on the Web, but today I found a wonderful site with everything I could possibly want to know about Krakow. Yay. It will give me some sorely needed little details for the background, especially since it gives a brief history of various buildings.

But...

It appears the Kings of Poland were all interred in the cathedral. Bummer. My opening chapter had the King's cremation. I know mine is a fantasy Poland not the real Poland - but in 1650 it should have been a burial not a cremation. I knew that, really, but for other reasons the cremation fitted my plot-line so I was trying to ignore it.

An unbroken line of kings each entombed in their own royal sarcophagus in the cathedral is a bit harder to ignore.

Back to the drawing board.

Finished

Mar. 26th, 2009 01:47 am
jacey: (Default)
I managed to finish the first draft of Spider on the Web after prevaricating for a couple of weeks over the last two chapters. There are one or two things that happened in the final showdown which surprised me and which I had to hurriedly ret-con earlier in the text, but by and large folks ended up where they were supposed to.

I know there are still some things I need to change, but for now I probably need to just leave it and let it settle for a week ot two. It's come in at 117,000 words and I was intending it to be no more than 100,000, so I'll be thinking very carefully about attacking it with pruning shears.

It's definitely the most gritty and adult book I've ever tackled. Whether it's too coarse/explicit or not remains to be seen. It's not porn-level explicit, but it is a fantasy book and there's an optimum level of expectation from fantasy readers that it would be well to take note of.
:-)

Finished

Mar. 26th, 2009 01:47 am
jacey: (Default)
I managed to finish the first draft of Spider on the Web after prevaricating for a couple of weeks over the last two chapters. There are one or two things that happened in the final showdown which surprised me and which I had to hurriedly ret-con earlier in the text, but by and large folks ended up where they were supposed to.

I know there are still some things I need to change, but for now I probably need to just leave it and let it settle for a week ot two. It's come in at 117,000 words and I was intending it to be no more than 100,000, so I'll be thinking very carefully about attacking it with pruning shears.

It's definitely the most gritty and adult book I've ever tackled. Whether it's too coarse/explicit or not remains to be seen. It's not porn-level explicit, but it is a fantasy book and there's an optimum level of expectation from fantasy readers that it would be well to take note of.
:-)

jacey: (Default)
I had a weird weekend - some routine but yukky hospital treatment that neccesitated a day of starving on Friday and a day of not being able to be left alone - not even allowed (supposedly) to operate a cooker or kettle (yeah, right!) on Saturday.  Followed by a day of feeling sorry for myself on Sunday.

But they didn't say I couldn't write.

So with only about 6k words to go to finish the first draft of Spider on the Web I got this idea for a childrens/young YA novel about magic with horses (not magic horses) and ended up writing 18k words or it.

But today I managed to get back to Spider, I solved one of the problems I had leading into the ending, with a bit of rewriting, and managed another 2k words on top of that. It's now at 96k words and I have the all-action ending and the epilogue to write. I was anticipating bringing this in at 100k, but I may overrun a little. 105k max.
jacey: (Default)
I had a weird weekend - some routine but yukky hospital treatment that neccesitated a day of starving on Friday and a day of not being able to be left alone - not even allowed (supposedly) to operate a cooker or kettle (yeah, right!) on Saturday.  Followed by a day of feeling sorry for myself on Sunday.

But they didn't say I couldn't write.

So with only about 6k words to go to finish the first draft of Spider on the Web I got this idea for a childrens/young YA novel about magic with horses (not magic horses) and ended up writing 18k words or it.

But today I managed to get back to Spider, I solved one of the problems I had leading into the ending, with a bit of rewriting, and managed another 2k words on top of that. It's now at 96k words and I have the all-action ending and the epilogue to write. I was anticipating bringing this in at 100k, but I may overrun a little. 105k max.
jacey: (Default)
84,017 words so far: one explanation, one attempted murder, two killings in (more or less) self-defence, one rooftop escape, one cathartic conversation.

Am I going to write more tonight? Maybe... I seem to have got the bit between my teeth.
jacey: (Default)
84,017 words so far: one explanation, one attempted murder, two killings in (more or less) self-defence, one rooftop escape, one cathartic conversation.

Am I going to write more tonight? Maybe... I seem to have got the bit between my teeth.
jacey: (Default)
I'm up to 80,577 words today.

</td> </tr> </tbody></table>
But I have the feeling that I may have to extend the final word count to 100,000 because I just went back and used up a couple of thousand words for a new scene back in chapter two which suddenly became necessary.

jacey: (Default)
I'm up to 80,577 words today.

</td> </tr> </tbody></table>
But I have the feeling that I may have to extend the final word count to 100,000 because I just went back and used up a couple of thousand words for a new scene back in chapter two which suddenly became necessary.

jacey: (Default)
</td> </tr> </tbody></table>

Adding 60,000 words to Spider on the Web during NaNoWriMo has given be a tremendous boost. I'm now up to 76,797 words out of a potential 90,000. I'm going to write a deathbed scene now.
jacey: (Default)
</td> </tr> </tbody></table>

Adding 60,000 words to Spider on the Web during NaNoWriMo has given be a tremendous boost. I'm now up to 76,797 words out of a potential 90,000. I'm going to write a deathbed scene now.

NaNo Finish

Dec. 1st, 2008 03:58 am
jacey: (Default)
I hit my target 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo in the middle of the week and just decided to keep on going. Result? at 11.54 p.m. Sunday with 6 minutes to go to the finishing time I clocked up 62,081 words on Spider on the Web.

I'm now on 71,027 words in total because I had the first two and a half chapters in the bag before I started.

This is definitely the beginning of the end that I'm writing now. Maybe another 20,000 words and it will be finished. It's unlike me to finish any novel in a mere 90,000 words, of course, but I live in hope.

NaNo Finish

Dec. 1st, 2008 03:58 am
jacey: (Default)
I hit my target 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo in the middle of the week and just decided to keep on going. Result? at 11.54 p.m. Sunday with 6 minutes to go to the finishing time I clocked up 62,081 words on Spider on the Web.

I'm now on 71,027 words in total because I had the first two and a half chapters in the bag before I started.

This is definitely the beginning of the end that I'm writing now. Maybe another 20,000 words and it will be finished. It's unlike me to finish any novel in a mere 90,000 words, of course, but I live in hope.
jacey: (Default)
Spider on the Web

34,600 words so far in November!
jacey: (Default)
Spider on the Web

34,600 words so far in November!
jacey: (Default)
I've revised the 'Murder of Crows' story thanks to comments from first readers: BS from rasfc, [info]pariyal , [info]brownnicky (spot on as ever with the focus comments) and [info]ferlonda  (thanks for the bird-flight stuff ). A couple of my first readers thought that this was suitable to extend into a novel and I'm inclined to agree with them. The world is interesting - and combines SF (space-fiction with aliens) with magic, which is a challenging combination.

I've done a bit more work on 'Spider on the Web,' my potential next novel project, but I haven't quite got the bit between my teeth yet and I keep bumping up against the problem of magic.

So far I have the first two chapters and part of a third (about 8k words altogether), plus a fourth that needs some revision because I've already made an emphasis shift since I wrote it. I've got three main viewpoint characters, Hari, Lind and Miro, and I'm intending that the VP be kept tightly focused (tight third) on each one in turn, giving them (probably) a short (2 - 3,000 word) chapter at a time. Only one of them - Miro, the third we meet chronologically and even then not until the fourth chapter - has any kind of magic. The other two don't have much patience for it so it barely impinges on their consciousness.

I'm chasing myself round in circles at the moment. It's my natural inclination to show that magic exists (rather than mentioning it in passing) in this world earlier rather than later - certainly before the fourth chapter - but in order to do that I have to artificially insert some show-not-tell magic into either Hari or Lind's first chapter which is essentially two sides of a successful assasination of Hari's king by Lind and the aftermath of same for each man. Magic just doesn't fit there.

The earliest I would be comfortable bringing it in would be Chapter Three, Hari's second chapter, by which time he's on the run from the new king and for the first time realising that good as he was as an army officer, he's become institutionalised and isn't used to being on his own. So even if I bring in 'country magic' as a concept at this stage it won't appear until about the 9,000 word mark. It will be closer to the 11,000 word mark if I wait until Miro's chapter.

I'm really going to have to think hard about this. I think I may have to put the actual writing aside for a bit and go chew the plot over in a little more detail. the focus comments from [livejournal.com profile] brownnicky  that worked for 'Murder of Crows' probably apply here too. I feel as though the focus is still a little off-centre.

I'm probably going to submit this to Milford, so if all else fails I'm going to be able to chew this problem over with writers there. You're welcome to comment, but I'm just talking it through in my own head at the moment rather than begging for help.

Dammit, I've got a couple of other novel ideas in the queue as well. I've passed over Hari once in favour of writing the magic-pirate-adventure-quest novel, 'Sea Witch and Rowankind', and if I can't pin down what's bugging me about this and fix it, I can see I might easily be tempted to jump to one of the other ideas instead.

Right. Decision. It's 2.15 a.m. so I'm going to go and sleep on it.

jacey: (Default)
I've revised the 'Murder of Crows' story thanks to comments from first readers: BS from rasfc, [info]pariyal , [info]brownnicky (spot on as ever with the focus comments) and [info]ferlonda  (thanks for the bird-flight stuff ). A couple of my first readers thought that this was suitable to extend into a novel and I'm inclined to agree with them. The world is interesting - and combines SF (space-fiction with aliens) with magic, which is a challenging combination.

I've done a bit more work on 'Spider on the Web,' my potential next novel project, but I haven't quite got the bit between my teeth yet and I keep bumping up against the problem of magic.

So far I have the first two chapters and part of a third (about 8k words altogether), plus a fourth that needs some revision because I've already made an emphasis shift since I wrote it. I've got three main viewpoint characters, Hari, Lind and Miro, and I'm intending that the VP be kept tightly focused (tight third) on each one in turn, giving them (probably) a short (2 - 3,000 word) chapter at a time. Only one of them - Miro, the third we meet chronologically and even then not until the fourth chapter - has any kind of magic. The other two don't have much patience for it so it barely impinges on their consciousness.

I'm chasing myself round in circles at the moment. It's my natural inclination to show that magic exists (rather than mentioning it in passing) in this world earlier rather than later - certainly before the fourth chapter - but in order to do that I have to artificially insert some show-not-tell magic into either Hari or Lind's first chapter which is essentially two sides of a successful assasination of Hari's king by Lind and the aftermath of same for each man. Magic just doesn't fit there.

The earliest I would be comfortable bringing it in would be Chapter Three, Hari's second chapter, by which time he's on the run from the new king and for the first time realising that good as he was as an army officer, he's become institutionalised and isn't used to being on his own. So even if I bring in 'country magic' as a concept at this stage it won't appear until about the 9,000 word mark. It will be closer to the 11,000 word mark if I wait until Miro's chapter.

I'm really going to have to think hard about this. I think I may have to put the actual writing aside for a bit and go chew the plot over in a little more detail. the focus comments from [livejournal.com profile] brownnicky  that worked for 'Murder of Crows' probably apply here too. I feel as though the focus is still a little off-centre.

I'm probably going to submit this to Milford, so if all else fails I'm going to be able to chew this problem over with writers there. You're welcome to comment, but I'm just talking it through in my own head at the moment rather than begging for help.

Dammit, I've got a couple of other novel ideas in the queue as well. I've passed over Hari once in favour of writing the magic-pirate-adventure-quest novel, 'Sea Witch and Rowankind', and if I can't pin down what's bugging me about this and fix it, I can see I might easily be tempted to jump to one of the other ideas instead.

Right. Decision. It's 2.15 a.m. so I'm going to go and sleep on it.

jacey: (Default)
For the last couple of months Milford Writers' Conference has been looming on the horizon and with a place booked since spring I've known I needed up to 15,000 words in one or two pieces to submit for crit and discussion. In olden days, we used to have to take copies of our stories with us and the week consisted of a very heavy reading workload (mornings) critting workload (afternoons) and socialising workload (evenings), but with the advent of high speed internet we now send out our stories in advance to lighten the morning workload by enabling those of us who can to make a start on the reading.

Unfortunately this has had the effect of advancing the submission deadline to at least the week before the conference and many people submit a couple of months before, making those of us who are laggards feel doubly-tardy.

It's handy when Milford coincides with having a piece you're working on right now, of course. Last September I took the first section of my magic-pirate-adventure-quest novel 'Sea Witch and Rowankind' (then under the working title of 'The Elf-Oak Box') and, lo, I actually finished writing most of it in November, polished off the rest after Christmas, put it through beta readership in the spring, did the polish and... and... and I'm currently waiting for an agent to get back to me. Yeah, right! Same old, same old...

But this year I didn't have an obvious piece to take.

Yes I know, having got Sea Witch to an agentably submissible stage I should be leaping ahead on to a new project... but...

I have a book project which I took to Milford a year or two ago, got some generally positive, but constructive comments that made me change the focus from quest novel to political fantasy and I'm thinking of resubmitting that as one of my projects (It's Hari, FYI [livejournal.com profile] mevennen , [livejournal.com profile] bluehairsue and [livejournal.com profile] maeve_the_red , I think you've all seen him before)

I'm not a natural short story writer, but I do like to also take a short to Milford because the feedback is so fantastically helpful. I've had a story beginning on a back-burner for a couple of years. I really liked the beginning, but I couldn't quite get a grip on it. Well, yesterday and today I did it. I had about 1500 words in the pot already and now A Murder of Crows is complete at 7,500 words. (sigh) Yes I was hoping for shorter, too. I thought I might be able to do it in 4,000 words, but it got more complicated than that, and then the characters started to say: Yes, but what's my motivation?

Why am I not surprised that this story ended up at 7,500 words? Almost every damn short story I write ends up at least that long and in order to get them down to 5,000 or even 6,000 I end up cutting and stitching and polishing over the cracks. O, hell, I should just admit that I'm happiest at novel length, but I do keep trying.

Though luckily all the short stories I've sold have been similarly longish ones.

Anyhow I'm really pleased with 'A Murder of Crows' but I'm going to sit on it for a few days and re-read and further polish before sending it. So you'll get it in about a week, guys, OK?

In the meantime, now I know how long Murder of Crows is, I can prepare the first section of Hari (now provisionally entitled 'Spider on the Web') to use up the rest of my 15,000 word quota.

jacey: (Default)
For the last couple of months Milford Writers' Conference has been looming on the horizon and with a place booked since spring I've known I needed up to 15,000 words in one or two pieces to submit for crit and discussion. In olden days, we used to have to take copies of our stories with us and the week consisted of a very heavy reading workload (mornings) critting workload (afternoons) and socialising workload (evenings), but with the advent of high speed internet we now send out our stories in advance to lighten the morning workload by enabling those of us who can to make a start on the reading.

Unfortunately this has had the effect of advancing the submission deadline to at least the week before the conference and many people submit a couple of months before, making those of us who are laggards feel doubly-tardy.

It's handy when Milford coincides with having a piece you're working on right now, of course. Last September I took the first section of my magic-pirate-adventure-quest novel 'Sea Witch and Rowankind' (then under the working title of 'The Elf-Oak Box') and, lo, I actually finished writing most of it in November, polished off the rest after Christmas, put it through beta readership in the spring, did the polish and... and... and I'm currently waiting for an agent to get back to me. Yeah, right! Same old, same old...

But this year I didn't have an obvious piece to take.

Yes I know, having got Sea Witch to an agentably submissible stage I should be leaping ahead on to a new project... but...

I have a book project which I took to Milford a year or two ago, got some generally positive, but constructive comments that made me change the focus from quest novel to political fantasy and I'm thinking of resubmitting that as one of my projects (It's Hari, FYI [livejournal.com profile] mevennen , [livejournal.com profile] bluehairsue and [livejournal.com profile] maeve_the_red , I think you've all seen him before)

I'm not a natural short story writer, but I do like to also take a short to Milford because the feedback is so fantastically helpful. I've had a story beginning on a back-burner for a couple of years. I really liked the beginning, but I couldn't quite get a grip on it. Well, yesterday and today I did it. I had about 1500 words in the pot already and now A Murder of Crows is complete at 7,500 words. (sigh) Yes I was hoping for shorter, too. I thought I might be able to do it in 4,000 words, but it got more complicated than that, and then the characters started to say: Yes, but what's my motivation?

Why am I not surprised that this story ended up at 7,500 words? Almost every damn short story I write ends up at least that long and in order to get them down to 5,000 or even 6,000 I end up cutting and stitching and polishing over the cracks. O, hell, I should just admit that I'm happiest at novel length, but I do keep trying.

Though luckily all the short stories I've sold have been similarly longish ones.

Anyhow I'm really pleased with 'A Murder of Crows' but I'm going to sit on it for a few days and re-read and further polish before sending it. So you'll get it in about a week, guys, OK?

In the meantime, now I know how long Murder of Crows is, I can prepare the first section of Hari (now provisionally entitled 'Spider on the Web') to use up the rest of my 15,000 word quota.

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