Saturday, July 22, 2017

Current Goings-On

I thought I should make a post about what I'm currently up to. I tend to get carried away with what I'm doing and then find I don't make time for updating others on what I'm doing through my blog posts. I'll try to do better with that in the weeks and months ahead.

First, I'm editing my novel. Currently, I'm adding an entirely new chapter to the beginning. A friend of mine who's reading a previous version suggested I start at a different point. I agreed that a preceding event to the existing novel would be a much better introduction of characters and help in establishing the overarching plot. The chapter is outlined, and I'm making my way through it.  I'll have to polish it up and then come up with a new hook for the novel; the current one won't work in the new setting.

I've also been working on a query letter, going through multiple drafts with feedback from others. I know from past experience that it takes me a while to form a proper query letter - condensing things down to 250 words in a way that hopefully entices agents to ask for pages. That's why I like to start the process in advance - one less thing to worry about when the novel is complete.

I wrote another short story that a friend is critiquing for me. This one is a science fiction story, and I'm trying out first-person present tense. I don't recall trying to do that before. It was years before I'd even try first person. The reason for the present tense is that I wanted the action to feel immediate - like readers are in the moment with the protagonist. I don't know if it works or not. But I like to try things with writing. I don't look at my strengths and think I'll only write to those (or write to hide my weaknesses). Instead, I look at the story I'm trying to convey and think about what it would take to properly convey it, even if it's something I've never tried before. That's not to say that I completely throw away anything I've learned over the years, but I don't want to stick with what's comfortable, or I'm limited in what I can tell. Or I end up telling stories the same way, which may not be the most fitting manner for a particular story. I enjoy learning new things and seeing what I can do, pressing my craft beyond where I thought I could take it. And yes, those first attempts at something new don't always turn out well, but I'm willing to take that risk. The worst that can happen is that a story isn't published. And by this point in my writing career, that's hardly anything to be concerned with.

I'm working on another Galaxy review for Black Gate. Normally I work on these during my lunch breaks, but I've had several working lunches this past week. Hopefully I'll complete the review next week, depending on my schedule.

During a recent trip to New York, I visited Strand Book Store. I had hoped to visit their top floor where the rare books are located, but it was closed when I arrived. I did, however, purchase a 1999 reprint of The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany.  He is a magnificent author.  He has a way of showing readers a world that you feel in your soul.  He goes beyond the simple description down into the depths of why you should care about something.  For example, it's not just a dawn but a song about dawn that you hear deep within; then you gasp because you not only see those rays of light and how they interplay with the landscape, but you feel the glow on your skin and smile at its warmth.