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Revelation: I can write!

January 20, 2011

I can write.  There’s been evidence of this for a while, but it’s just dawned on me tonight.  I.  Can.  Write.

How did I reach this profound conclusion?  This requires a little backstory.  The culmination of the WotF workshop is the 24-hour story.  At some point during the week, you interview a stranger, receive an object, and research in a library all so you can combine these things into a story you start and finish writing in a 24 hour window.  I went through drafts and restarted and scratched and clawed until I had some sort of completed manuscript to turn in.  It was crap.  My characters were flat and cliche and there were loose ends and it was pulpy and I never wanted to see the thing again.

Anyway, “never” arrived today and I pulled this godawful manuscript up on the computer to read.  It was great.  I enjoyed the story in a did-I-really-write-that kind of way.  The woman’s manipulation escalated in a nice arc.  The main character’s internal conflict was not subtle but believable, especially since he was believably not-too-bright.  The antagonists were predictable in a good way, though maybe a little repetitive but that’s their shtick.  he tech was reasonable.  Descriptions seemed appropriate.

So I wrote a story I liked.  Lots of people write stories they like, does that mean they’re any good?  My revelation is in the fact that a story I forced out and thought was worthless may well be a marketable piece.  As in pro-market.  I intend to try it anyway.

A big thanks to Jordan who inspired me to pull the piece out.  (Sorry I wasn’t able to shave off the 1200 words I was hoping to for RGR.  Maybe I can grind something else out soon.)

I suspect this post seems a little egotistical or at the least self-indulgent.  It probably is.  But I felt like this moment was important to share for two reasons.  First, the secret to critiquing your own work is time.  The moment you finish a manuscript is not the time to look for flaws.  You’ll see none or you’ll see nothing but.    Set it aside and work on something else.  When you can barely recall what the story was about, that’s the time to read it.  You’ll see it more like a reader.  And second, and more importantly, a writer who can write well can do it under pressure, through writer’s block, underwater, against a deadline, or in any other case that might become an excuse.  If it types out like crap, you can fix it later.  I made a (large) number of fixes reading this story through, but I found the story in there and the fixes were so easy.  If I hadn’t finished, there would be nothing to fix and I’d likely scrap the whole story.  See, I told you there was a point.

In other news, I’m starting to fear I’ll miss ChattaCon.  Bad weather is moving in and I don’t do snow-driving.  Not a ton of snow so maybe it won’t be impassible; maybe the interstates and major highways will stay clear; maybe Chattanooga will be far enough south to miss it.  Maybe not.  We shall see.  I’m on two panels Saturday: Are zombies the new vampires? at 10 am and Getting off this rock, how and why @ 2 pm (presumably about space colonization).  Both should be good fun.  If I can get there.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2011 9:43 am

    Scott,

    I think you’re confusing “arrogant” with “self-affirming”. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with saying that you can write. You’re an award-winning writer. I’d say the fact that you can write is a fact.

    And “damn” about the 1200 words. Write me something else!

    J

    • January 20, 2011 5:35 pm

      Agree with Jordan, it’s not at all arrogant, you’ve gotta keep yourself motivated somehow and if you keep up this great attitude of yours, you can only succeed! Good luck my talented friend.

  2. January 20, 2011 1:00 pm

    That’s great! I’m scared to look at my 24hr story but will probably take a look at it one day. In a couple years or so 🙂

  3. January 20, 2011 4:31 pm

    Yeah, not arrogance at all 🙂 You gotta have confidence in this business or you’ll never survive 🙂

    Good luck with the snowpocalypse!

  4. January 20, 2011 8:02 pm

    I haven’t looked at my 24 hour story since I finished it, because I still think it sucks and needs to be hidden in a pit somewhere. ^_^

    But it *is* fun looking at older stories that were previously trunked. Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised.

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