Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The New Things

I'm struggling a little with the pitch for a new novel. It came to me yesterday almost fully formed but there's a line that I'm not happy with because it's cliched beyond belief. Still, it's accurate. So I'm working that out.

In the meantime I've written the first chapter of the book, even gotten into chapter two. (You won't believe how many commas I've already killed. I'm a victim of 'use commas as a pause' from days gone by. Digressing.) Taking a much more steady, studied approach to writing this new book. That's kind of why I'm spending time refining the pitch for a second day. I'm not procrastinating. Nope. I'm not. I'm not. I PROMISE.

So the pitch is informing the outline, too. There are a bunch of little ideas floating around the big one. Fitting them all together, stitching them all together, is the real challenge of this one. The big idea is not wholly original, though I hope it will be by the time it's revealed in the story. For now it's an obvious trope. It's workable. The way this book seems to be going I'm confident it'll solve itself.

If not, I'll take an axe to something.

Such is the writer's life.

Oh, yeah, I suppose I should say this out loud: I won't be participating in NaNoWriMo this year. At least not as of now. I've got this new book and a bunch of short stories I'm working and I have another novel to edit and the novella too. I'm the only one stressing about any of this so that's not bad but I do want to get all this more in process. Plus we're heading into the busy season at work.

So as much as I want to flat out write in November, I'm gonna write and edit and support my group in their own writing endeavors. We'll see if I miss it or not.

All right, so I need to stay focused. Wish me luck.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Where To Find Me March 2015

I will have a table in Artist's Alley, doing my thing and hawking new stories.
Can't wait.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

As Of Yesterday...

This is what I posted on Twitter:
Jason Arnett @ajasont 
For now I'm putting this novel in the trunk. I'm not done trying to get it out in the world, I just need a break.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Instructive Criticism

Pulling this from The 46 Rules of Genius by Marty Neumeier. It's subtitled 'an innovator's guide to creativity' but it's got several useful items for those who are already creative and maybe haven't explored or just don't know why they do what they do or even how.

Anyway, we're all familiar with constructive criticism and likely even ask for it. I like the definitions Neumeier uses. This is from page 102 of the book:

The best cure for logic blindness is to seek regular feedback from people who can critique your ideas instructively rather than constructively. It's your job to be constructive - you're the maker. What you need from them is a clear view from the outside. Ideal critics are those will:
  1. Listen to your idea, ask questions, and not react too quickly.
  1. Strive to judge your idea against your specific intent.
  1. Summarize your idea in a way that seems fair and even insightful.
  1. Identify any aspects of your idea that they agree with or appreciate.
  1. Finally, identify aspects they they question or find lacking. 
In the real world, however, the feedback you get may be reactive, subjective, negative, or less than insightful. 

So what I'm doing going forward is to make my queries much more clear about my idea and my intent. That means that I have to actually know what my idea IS when I go into the story. Then I must execute the story with a kind of precision that shows I know what I'm doing. I suspect that will generate responses from agents/editors/others who will tell me what they like and ask questions. 

I don't think it's a foolproof way to get published but maybe it is. Certainly when I have folks beta read things now I'm going to be better about making sure they know what I'm going for to look for that in my stories. The rest is craft that I can only improve through repetition and practice.

Back to writing.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014