Finally! My workshop manuscript is in the mail and on its way to ANALOG.
This is the first new story I’ve sent out in a long time. (The last story, "The Golden Watch" was actually a complete reworking of an older story.) This one, however, called "If By Reason of Strength…" is brand new, written and conceived as part of the writers workshop I participated in over the summer. That workshop helped in many ways. It helped me focus on crucial elements of story-telling like scene and dialog. It also introduced me to some top-notch writers like will_couvillier and alaneer . I’d recommend it to anyone trying to improve their craft.
Part of my reason for even taking the workshop was to help develop a routine for writing. Having more confidence about one’s writing makes it easier to sit down and write, but I’m the kind of person who still requires and overall plan. For the duration, I’ve given up on the idea of writing a novel. I didn’t even attempt NaNoWriMo this year. My focus is on perfecting, to the best of my abilities, short science fiction. To that end, I’m attempting to stick to a plan where I produce a story a month. There is no end-time frame for this. I’ll just go with it and see how I do. One story a month. Doesn’t sound too hard, right? Twelve a year would be far better than I’ve ever done before.
But even so, that plan is not detailed enough for me. I need at least a short term roadmap. So here it is, the roadmap for the two stories I will be producing for December and January:
December 2008: "Origins" (working title), no idea yet on the length.
January 2009: "Funeral Day", probably less than 7,500 words.
Upon completing a story, I’ll try and tack a new one onto the end of the list so that I can always see two months ahead. Furthermore, I’m going to try and approach these stories the way I did in the workshop, starting with a general description of the story, followed by the writing of some scenes that capture elements like setting and dialog. And then finish it off as a completed story.
In fact, for the December story, I’m going to try something completely new: I’m going to keep private blog entries about my thought process behind the developing story: why did I write the scene that way, why did I decide to rewrite? How can I fix this? Should the story be accepted, I’ll make those posts public as an example of "how I did it". Should the story make the rounds and not find a home, well, I’ll make those private posts public as an example of, "how I tried to do it".
I don’t know about you, but setting goals like these for yourself, explicitly stating them in front of the world makes it easier for me to focus on what I am trying to do. We’ll see how it goes.
Meanwhile, I just love the feeling of having a manuscript out in the mail. You writers out there know what I’m talking about…