prusik: Newton fractal centered at zero (Default)
[personal profile] prusik
This is apparently the month where lessons I learned at VP pop in my head and suddenly make sense. (And they happen at the oddest times, never when I expect them.) Either I went to VP two years too early, or it just two years for these lessons to incubate (for me, anyway.)

So, I now have to go de-rivet a story. They're perfectly good rivets. Anyone who knows rivets will know that I used precisely the right rivets every time. But, you know, the train hurtling down the tracks towards the oscillating suspension bridge. The cable stays are snapping. Railroad ties are plummeting into the harbor. How will little Suzy ever get the Cummerbund of Righteousness to Tuxedoman now? Who knows? I'm busy showing you the ways each rivet on the train is almost but not quite circular. *headdesk*
(I've always thought the story was a bit long. Now it'll be shorter...)

On the plus side, I also wrote a short story, from start to finish, in the midst of a somewhat hectic work week. I figure if I can't do that, applying to Clarion [West] is a complete waste of time. This is, of course, not the same thing as doing this for 6 weeks in a row.

Ok, it was really 8 days. However, I figure if were, say, on a vacation or leave of absence from the day job, it might have gone faster. Of course, if I were writing furiously at every free moment, it might have also gone faster. (I definitely spun my wheels for at least a few hours. OTOH, I think I know how to avoid that now.)

The curious thing is that the story may be the best thing I've written yet. Certainly, it's in better shape than some stories that I've been working for months on. Actually, the story that needs de-riveting isn't in bad shape either. The de-riveting is the only change I currently plan to make to it. I wrote that story fairly quickly too.

Sometimes, I think I get in my own way.

Date: 2008-08-26 05:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sometimes, I think I get in my own way.

I hear you, lovey. Sometimes the Beast actually does know best, and it's the other side of him that needs reining in.

Good luck!

Date: 2008-08-26 05:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Either I went to VP two years too early, or it just two years for these lessons to incubate (for me, anyway.)

Not just for you. I've been thinking the same thing lately.

Date: 2008-08-26 05:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Strangely, two years on, the biggest thing I'm dealing with in my writing is pretty much just exactly that. It's the knowing which parts not to write that I'm struggling with.

Date: 2008-08-27 02:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Write all of it. Then do that scientific thing where you remove parts until the machine stops working. Then put the last-removed part back in, because it was clearly essential. Repeat until all you have left are essential parts.
Just that simple. Yep.

Date: 2008-08-27 03:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's the way I've been doing it. :)

What's making it tricky is that I have a lot better feeling for which parts are functional, enough of a sense that I tend to just clog up and stop moving when I'm trying to write the non-essential parts.

Date: 2008-08-27 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I knew you had the scientific brain! (in a jar on your desk)

Date: 2008-08-27 04:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ooh! Ooh! Do we get to see this one at Second Supper?

BTW, I am so relieved to hear you say this. I've been worrying that I've had almost a whole year for VP to germinate, and I still haven't seen sprouts. But you make it clear that two years is not unreasonable.

I feel like I've gone backwards; before VP I wrote stuff, and now I'm figuring out what the hell I write. I hope that soon I will write stuff again.

A couple of easy shorts have proven to me that I can. Now I just need to gain momentum.

Date: 2008-08-27 05:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't know if you'll see either story at Second Supper yet. It depends on if I hit a point where I have questions about what's getting across (and what's not).

TNH has mentioned that lessons popping after several years isn't unusual. She's mentioned that she hears about this wrt Jim's lecture about plot.

About going backwards, Cory talks about how he didn't write for a long while after Clarion. He compared it to a millipede suddenly realizing it has a thousand legs and being able to walk because it's suddenly thinking about how to coordinate all those legs. Look at how he turned out.

In any case, I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Date: 2008-08-27 05:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Congrats - I'm so impressed by the way my classmates are continuing to grow and advance. If a week of VP fuels you for two years, how far could six weeks of Clarion send you?

Date: 2008-08-27 05:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, VP is still fueling me. I suspect lessons haven't finished popping yet.


prusik: Newton fractal centered at zero (Default)

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