Category: writing

Week 4, Day 2: 168 words

I wrote 168 words today. But that is deceptive, because I also got rid of 165 words I wrote last time. So I am ahead by only 3 words. It was a scene where she got a new dress and I realized that not did I not care about the new dress, it wasn’t necessary and only kept me from getting to the good parts that much sooner. The only good thing that came out of was that I finally met her mother. So far, her mother is as non-existent as a character can be and still be deeply embedded in the MC’s mind and heart. Makes me wonder about her.

Just in case I am wrong about how necessary this scene is, I cut and pasted it into another file. I call this new file “Princess Trash.” Princess because that’s part of the working title; Trash because it will hold stuff I don’t need. I have found over the years that instead of deleting scenes I don’t like, I should save them in a different file. Sometimes these deleted scenes come in useful. Sometimes I find I wrote them too early, and really, they make a lot more sense later on. Sometimes, with a few changes, I can use them. But mostly they just sit there.

On Willful Characters

I wrote the first page of my science fiction short. My main character is misbehaving. He’s decided he likes his boss. More, he has decided his boss is worth risking his life for. Why, I ask you? I don’t want him to like anyone. I want him to be a peevish and competent man with issues with people who try to give him orders (don’t ask me why he has issues with taking orders, I don’t know). Instead, he insists on singing his boss’ praises. I even think he might have a thing for his boss, which makes no sense at all. At least, I don’t want it to make sense. 😛 I never envisioned this as a romance!!!!!

My MC is out of control! I need to reign him back in! How do I take back control? I don’t know, but I do know I don’t have the space – or the time 0r the inclination – to give him his head.

Week 3, Day 7: 183 words

183 words. Below what I should have done for today. I don’t feel like doing anymore today, but I am over my weekly goal, so it’s all good. Weekly word count is 1610. It is not a good place to end a chapter, so I think I will just continue with chapter 3 tomorrow.

I haven’t really started the science fiction short yet. The little bit of snippet I wrote the other day helped me with voice, but I don’t think the character reflecting on himself is a good place to begin. I’ve a kernel of an idea, though, and I think I am going to start with him in the garage. The thing I am worried about is whether or not I will be done by the 30th. Even if I am, I likely will not have time to rewrite or submit it for critiques. So whatever I submit will probably be a first draft and all I’ll really have time for is check spelling and make sure there are no missing words.

On the other hand, even if the story is not done in time for contest, I can still finish it, edit, rewrite and submit to other magazines.

Week 3, Day 6: 321 words

So, 321 words. Word count sounds good and I am on track.

Except today’s stuff had a lot of dialog and I am not really good at dialog. I am afraid it may sound stilted. I feel like I am forcing words in my characters’ mouth and I don’t like this feeling. Come edit time, I think this may be one of the places that will require a full overhaul.

How do I make them sound real? I wish I knew.

I try to leave out the parts that people skip.

~Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard is another writer I have never read (there have to be millions of writers I’ve never read!). It seems to me this quote captures the essence of writing. Be brief and always keep a firm hold on your reader’s attention.

I need to keep get rid of all the excessive words in my writing. I am quite sure there are a lot of them. I know, for example, I am guilty of using words such as “that”, “then”, “the” when I probably shouldn’t.

Elmore Leonard is supposed to be a virtuoso with dialog, an area I know I need help with. I think I will go to my library and see if I can find something by him.

Okay, so yesterday, I posted about how there is a contest for a short science fiction story and how they want it to be inspired by a new science discovery or innovation. I wrote some yesterday and a character popped up, voice and all. His (yes, my character is male!) voice seems to be pretty strong, but despite that, right now he is something of an archetypes. God knows if it will last.  About the only thing I know is that it will be take place in the near future – about 10 or 15 or 20 years in the future. Probably 15 – it strikes me as a nice middle ground.

I don’t have an actual idea or even the bare bones of a concept yet, let alone a plot. I realized yesterday night if I use computers at all, it is going to read like cyperpunk. If I go the route of the social sciences, it’s going to turn into the type of story where you don’t know right off the bat if it is fantasy or science fiction. Not sure if I want that type of confusion in a short story. If I decide to use a biology based science, I’ve no idea what I will get.

I suppose it’s a good thing the character came first. I can develop him into a better character, but if the idea came first, the danger is that I might focus too might on that and leave the characters flat. On the other hand, this way there is the danger that I might leave my concept undeveloped. Not that there is much room to develop much of anything in a short story.

What I really need right now is a short, concrete plot.

Week 3, Day 4: 237 words

237 words. Not bad for today. Ended with a piece of dialogue, but it doesn’t feel right to me, so I am thinking that has to change and so the last few words don’t really count. We’ll see what I do tomorrow.

I discovered a story contest on twitter today. Here: They want science fiction story based on some new (new as in this year!!!!) discover or innovation. I am going to try and see if I can write something. I can’t really think of any new inspiring discovery. At least, inspiring to me. If I do anything at all, it is going to be based on either biology or computers. Maybe some combo of both – nanotech with medicine. Or cybernetics. Or data mining. I read something about a scientist that managed to model a rat brain and what if someone managed to model a human brain . . . I don’t know. Maybe someone’s prosthetic suddenly got a virus? If it was a biological  prosthetic instead of one involving chips . . . maybe. Or something to do with neural networks. The last submission date is June 30 so if I am going to write something, I need to figure it out fast.

Today when I was spell checking yesterday’s work, I had written rouge, like the make up, and I did not want makeup. I wanted the other word, the one that meant something like rebel, wicked, bad boy, like that. I used word-web to find synonyms and I couldn’t.  For the life of me, I could not figure out how to spell the word I wanted. I could not even figure out what its synonyms were.  Then it hit me – I typed in scoundrel (thinking of various romance novels Scoundrel This, Rebel that and Devil the other). Finally, in word-web’s types tab, and lo and behold, I found rogue.  Thank you word-web! The only difference between rouge and rogue is that g and u are reversed.  But such a difference in meaning! Really, I can just picture someone reading rouge and laughing their ass off.

Wrote a mere 180 words today. I don’t understand why I am so slow. The words just aren’t coming. I think I was a bit frustrated today by how long it took me to figure out the proper spelling for rogue.

City and Country

So, in chapter 2, a new province showed up. I didn’t expect that; in fact, I thought a new country would show up. I thought it would be a country across a Mediterranean type sea. Not sure how the country turned into a province. But it did and it is filled with mountains. I am thinking there is a little strip of sea bordering the mountains, which eventually leads to the ocean. I don’t know too much about this place yet.

So, the main city itself. I am thinking it is going to be an island. A large island, smack dab in the middle of a place where the main river connects with a few other rivers. Some of the other rivers are going to be come off the mountains, I think. So anyway where the rivers and the original sea I had imagined (not the little strip that showed up with the new province!), where they meet, there is going to be a large island. There is my city.

In the beginning, I thought a large part of this country was going to be a desert but I think with a large river system, the large sea, most of the country can’t be desert. Some it, maybe, but not large chunks. I am disappointed.

I think I am going to have to draw a map. I suck at drawing.


I mentioned ziggurats in my first chapter. Its existence in my story quite took my by surprise. I certainly hadn’t planned on it. Not sure I planned religion really. At least I knew it would appear in some form, but I thought it wouldn’t be all that important to the story. It remains to been how right I was about that.

In anycase, this is a picture of a ziggurat from Ur. Ur was an ancient Sumerian city in what is now present day Iraq. It was also a coastal city, but it well in-land now. I suppose the weather must have changed.

So . . . ziggurats? Why not a church or temple or something more familiar? Well, I wanted something different. I don’t recall much about Sumerian religion from my class on near eastern religions, beyond a creation story where everything came out of the sea and that all the cities had their gods and anthropomorphic gods. I am not going to use it, I will probably invent some for this world and a creation myth, too, maybe. But I like how the ziggurat looks and it fits with my vision of this city – there are no fluted columns, no arched ceilings, not many domes, but a clear angular beauty.

I might change the name eventually to avoid confusion with the real ziggurats, but I am keeping how it looks.