Sunday, January 24, 2016

What Am I Up To?

January is almost gone, but I thought I'd share some of my goings-on for 2016.

First, I'm editing one of my stories.  It wasn't a rewrite request.  I felt like I needed to tighten it up, though.  I reread part of it and found a propensity for tagging many pieces of dialogue (e.g. Mary said).  My reasoning at the time was to clearly identify the speaker, knowing that readers will skim over those pieces for the most part, anyway.

But I started reading other thoughts on the matter and realized that unless there are more complex scenes with multiple characters, the tags aren't needed at all.  It can just be dialogue that bounces between people, and it's just as easy to track.  For the occasional interjection that could be from anyone, add a tag.  I also permit the tag if I tack on an additional action.  For example: "I don't know what this stuff is," Dave said, wiping the slime from his fingers.

So I'm cleaning up a lot of dialogue tags, which in turn tightens the story up, allowing me to add more flesh to scenes that seem a bit too rushed. 

Once I'm finished with editing, I'll move back to the novel WIP.  I'm still working through the rough draft, and it will take time to complete.  Then comes the editing.  There's a lot to think through with this, and while I've planned most (if not all) high-level points, there is also a lot to think through at the granular level.

Two of my short stories are being held for consideration by editors.  I had mentioned a rewrite request in Twitter last year, and that's one of them.  I don't like giving details beyond that.  But if either turn into a sale, I'll certainly say more.

Something odd I've noticed recently: I can't write to music anymore.  I find myself thinking very hard while writing, and for the past couple of years, I just can't write to music.  It distracts me too much.  I don't think it's old age since I'm still in my thirties, but if something (technique, music, etc.) interferes with my process, then it has to go.

Currently, I'm reading issues of Galaxy Science Fiction.  Sometimes I'll read from Fantasy & Science Fiction, too, but I'm very far behind the current issue.  I also finished the Naruto manga series.  I love Naruto, but I'm glad it had an ending.  I think all great stories need a beginning, middle, and ending, even if the story spans multiple books and takes years to tell.  But if something just goes on and on, I think there's something lacking.  There should always be an end-game, and the story should be heading toward it, regardless of how meandering that path may be.