I haven’t posted about writing much lately. Somewhat interestingly, I’ve been writing an awful lot. I think I’ve been so focused on improving that I haven’t taken time out to share much about what I’ve been working on.
I was one of about a half dozen writers lucky enough to get into a short story class being taught by Hugo-award winning author, Mary Robinette Kowal. We’re four weeks into the class and I’m both impressed by what I’ve learned and humbled by how completely ignorant I am about the craft of writing fiction.
Our family vacation and the workload from this class have combined to put my current novel project on hold. That project is somewhere around 25k words and it’s going to stay there until I can internalize some of what I’ve learned from Mary. I want to apply my short fiction lessons to both the story structure and my prose before I get any deeper into the first draft of that novel.
What I have been working on is a handful of short stories and a variety of plotting and POV exercises. I can’t say that they’ve been easy, but the effort (and the resulting stories) have been absolutely rewarding.
For instance, I’m sure most young authors listen to the same podcasts and read many of the same books and blogs as I do. One thing that you always hear about is writing the same scene from the POV of different characters. Well… I’ve done that now.
Heavily freakin’ educational?
I’ve been learning how to identify the character, idea and event threads in my stories. I’ve learned to make sure that I close those threads. Dialogue, focus, pacing… I’m loving all of it.
I have been left with a question, however. What do I do with the stories that I’m writing? As much fun as I’m having and as much as I’m learning from working on short fiction, there’s no mistaking that novels are where my heart lives.
So… I’m starting a new segment called Free Fiction. It’s not going to be a regular segment like the Sunday Sketches are. I mean, I’ll be submitting my short stories for publication, and who knows how long they’ll take to either get picked up or come back to me. Regardless, there are things that I want folks to see and, hopefully, to comment on. I’ll post the first piece on Thursday after I finish a 20-hour continental commute and figure out how I want to set things up in WordPress.
Stay tuned and, as always, leave your thought in the comments.