Writing

Novel Update #9 – Actually about a short story

WD is still mostly on pause, I’m just poking at it when I have spare time. However, I did manage to write a 1,750-word short story in October — and in two days! It was a Halloween-inspired story about a fantasy solstice holiday, which I posted here.

I didn’t want to clutter that post with commentary, but practicing writing is one of the main reasons I write short stories at all. I find that writing an entire short story, experimenting with it, and declaring it finished teaches more than writing the same number of novel words. Or, if not more, at least some different things.

“Solstice Night” was great practice for writing characters who are at cross purposes. I have a lot of trouble juggling characters in dialogue, possibly because I RP so often — I’m used to doing one character deeply, while someone else provides the stimuli for that character. There were several times I had to delete a whole section of the story’s conversation and start again because they’d dribbled off into out-of-character-ness or just insignificant conversation — I was writing quickly so I had to backtrack and keep going immediately, and it was just really great practice.

Also, my advice is to resist the temptation to downplay what you’ve written. I started with 230 words of introduction for that story and cut it down to 80, just the essentials… As long as you’re doing your best, don’t apologize for how far you’ve come or how far you’ve yet to go. Just release the story into the world and see what happens. (In that spirit, constructive feedback on the story is much appreciated!)

Supplemental viewing: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Cosmos A Spacetime Odyssey coverI’ve been watching the new Cosmos show on DVD, and it’s amazing. I’ve never seen the original, but this version honors it in such a way that now I want to see it. Beyond that, this new one is mindboggling for me as a modern viewer. The production values astound. Tyson’s travels to the future, the past, other worlds, inside cells — are interspersed with animated mini-docs about historic figures in science and how they made their discoveries. The whole thing is just so gorgeous I could cry. It’s like Bill Nye the Science Guy, Doctor Who, and Magic School Bus combined, and it’s all real stuff. The “ship of the imagination” he uses isn’t real, obviously, but I can weep about that later… The point is that this show makes science understandable and compelling for amateurs, plus renders breathtaking visuals along with it. It’s a must-watch for us sci-fi writers. Heck, I don’t know how I coped with my LIFE until I had Cosmos.

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2 thoughts on “Novel Update #9 – Actually about a short story

  1. I’ll be reading your short story after I’m done writing my second book of the month.

    Short stories in general are good practice. They force you to tell a story in a shorter amount of space, while still writing at least one character the readers can connect to. They’re also a good exercise to help you get to know your characters better for a novel even if you never intend to do anything with that short story.

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