Busy night before a zoo

05 Sep

what normally happens around now is, I say something like “Say, I’ve done quite well blogging for a number of days in a row, goody good for me.”

And then I stop blogging and disappear into an abyss for months.

So I won’t say that.

today is Sunday. Tomorrow’s Monday. that means all the nice people with lives begin to reappear in the world tomorrow, emerging from the weekend. So I’ve decided that tonight, I’m going to start (and hopefully finish) typing up the last short story I finished, “Keepers,” which has been done for a little while now.

What I do — if you’re interested — is this.

I write the story. This takes a while, and that’s what I prefer.

When I hit about 50% through the story, my brain occasionally starts picking at the stuff in the first half of the story. When this happens, I write the bits of complaint down on post-it notes and stick them wherever in the story they feel like they need to be. Meanwhile, I keep writing the story.

I typically wind up with a half-dozen of these, total. A few more, I add afterwards,  before I put the story away and forget about it (like I’ve done). Then, I read the post-it notes and if I think the problems are valid, I incorporate the changes into the second draft.

Then I do the second draft. The second draft is the bit where I type the story into the computer. Scenes flip around (rarely) or get re-written, or vanish, or dialog changes, or whatever.

This, I spell-check and send to lovely people — the bit I want to do tomorrow. Then, before it goes to editors, I generally try to follow the one useful editing rule I ever learned from someone else, which is…take the word count of your story, figure out what 10% of that is, and eliminate it.

It’s actually hard. I’d say I get about 8% out easily, and then it’s sheer desperate cutting to get the last 2% out. that’s USEFUL. that means I really start evaluating words, without worrying about anything on a story level. It just tightens things up, gets rid of shit that it turns out I really can live without.

And that is how short story writing works for me, these days.

Time to go type type type.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I guzzle tea and Renee and I load the children into the trunk– I mean, the back seat — and we head off to the Zoo I mentioned before, where we meet up with friends.

And then, we either enjoy the zoo in the fashion I talked about before OR…this being Minnesota…we shiver for a while, get rained on, go somewhere else indoors and enjoy that instead.

I’ll report back on which happens, unless this is the bit where I mysteriously fall down an abyssal pit.

Love & Constant Comment

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Posted by on September 5, 2010 in Uncategorized


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