Friday, July 19, 2013

Shawshanked

I seem incapable of stringing two productive days together in a row. Looking to change that this weekend. I RSVP'd  "no" to the Sunday Write In for the writing group, but that doesn't mean I won't be writing. Actually, in addition to writing, it looks like I'll be taking in a show. Imagine that. Last thing I saw in theaters was... well, suffice to say it's been some time since I've been out. 

I had another back and forth with the one reviewer of Silver Age. After he put his finger on what items threw him, I pointed out which deliberate items I put in to curb that confusion. His reply included the half-hearted digression "Okay, when you put it together like that, I can see it. Part of the problem is that the sections of the story dealing with any particular character tend to be widely separated...I like letting the reader fill in the blanks, myself, but I think you've just left the blanks too big and too far apart." The whole conversation, and story can he read here

This morning I went back and pinpointed what I hope was the focal point, the part where a) it made the most sense to more neatly tie all the clues together and b) information could be given to the reader to tie it all together. I didn't say anything; I just fixed it. A friend of mine asked me why and I told him that further conversation would be less constructive and more of an argument. The guy complimented the story, while pointing out what he thought were holes. When I told him I had already addressed such things, and in the varied ways I had done so, it became less about my writing and more about his reading. Moreover, if such a fix can help the next person make sense of things, then it needs to be made. The same friend accused me of writing for students of literature. He saw the original version of the story, so he might be right. Every time I go over it, it gets easier to understand. Hopefully that also means it's also better written.

I still don't have any movement on the Diablo Canyon town drunk, Rupert, but yesterday I did remember the second person story I wanted to attempt. Years ago, my mentor told me several things that stick with me to this day. One was that I was allowed five exclamation points, total, in all the professional writing I would ever do. Not sure why I took that lesson to heart, but I've been keeping count. I've used two. The other thing he told me was to never, ever tell a story in the second person. That evening I think I tried my first one. I won't say that it shouldn't have even been attempted, but I can say that it was bad. My poor critique group suffered through it, and I didn't even realize what I had done at the time. I might use the simile of "like being stabbed in the brain."

And here I go again. It's a sci fi concept, putting the reader in the guise of the main character. I think I figured out a few conceptual pieces that will make it less awful, but honestly, I'm not planning on it being good. I am planning on writing it, though. I couldn't tell you why. I'm not really the type to look down when someone tells me not to. I understand why people say that. That's a safety thing. But when people tell me not to pass go? Not to collect my $200? Well, I turn into the guy with the pilfered cafeteria silverware, digging at the wall of his cell at night. I went to school and all, but I can't say that I'm really the type to learn. In that way, when I'm done with this new version, maybe I'll post it here, and subject you to it. 

Nice guy. 

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