Thursday, March 31, 2016

Writing More

Alright, so I have a lot of writing to do.  I have a few paragraphs to write for my proposal, plus editing for that.  I have a research paper for my Intro to Medieval Art class that I'll need to do in the next three weeks.  There are a few more blog posts to be written for this class.  I have two short papers to write for my Acting I class.  Oh, and there's the whole A-to-Z Challenge.  I should probably describe that for those who only read my "Professional Writing" posts.

The A-to-Z Challenge is a sort of blog hop taking place each April.  Hundreds of bloggers participate.  This will be my fourth year partaking in the Challenge, but I dropped out after a few days last year.  Hopefully I'll make it the whole way through this time around.  Each day in April (not counting Sundays), each blogger posts.  The first post has something to do with the letter "A."  In the past my posts for the first of April have been named "A is for Arson," "A is for A. A. Milne," and "A is for Abednego."  My plan for the Challenge this year is to post a character bio or a description of some world-building element of a setting I make up (likely a distinct setting in most posts).

I'm going to be writing a lot more than I have been in the coming days.  The first step is to get my first Challenge post pre-written for tomorrow.  It's going to be a long month.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Pride She Carries

I've never finished a novel before, so I've never needed to write a query letter.  Despite this, I wrote a query letter a couple days ago.  This query is completely fake: written by a fake author to a fake editor about a fake book.  I really like the idea I came up with though.  I doubt that I'll ever actually write it (because I'm not sure that I'm the best person for the job), but it would be really fun to read.

The idea for The Pride She Carries came from female Kurdish resistance groups.  I had the idea in a different sort of setting for the same genre (far-future military SF) before deciding to use the idea for this fake book that my partner and I are using for our proposal for class.  I won't post the full pitch, but I'll try to boil it down below.

Chanua, a female war hero, battles a terrorist sect of radicals from an archaic native religion with a group of fellow female warriors.  Will the terrorists, who go by the name the Lions' Bane, succeed in taking all of Kenya by storm, or will Chanua and her Huntresses pick them clean to the bone?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Foreboding A-to-Z Challenge Theme Reveal

I see that I'm a day later than the greater part of the A-to-Z Challenge community in revealing my theme.  Not that I had intended to participate in the event, as it were.  But it is another sign of my lack of attention to my blog and the blogging community.  I'm only one day late, at least.

My original plan for my A-to-Z theme was to review a television show episode each day.  As the days of March faded away without much preparation, I decided to change the idea.  With school, I cannot trust myself to watch the requisite amount to declare that theme.  Instead I'll be giving myself a much smaller load.

This April, I shall be posting a short bio for a character (I'll probably never write) or a description of some world-building element of a random setting I make up, likely different each time (though perhaps some days will be from the same milieu).  These will likely be quite short.  I'm sure my imagination will take a firmer hold on occasion and lend itself to a longer post.

I hope to see any and all of you join me in the Challenge this year.  I didn't make it very far last year, but this will be my fourth year participating, and I really hope it won't be a second failure so soon.  I respond to virtually all comments on my posts and try to comment on the blogs of all of my visitors.  Happy A-to-Zing!

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Momentum is important for writers.  It is immensely easier to get your pen flowing when you've just recently pushed ink through the feed.  This concept applies to me in several ways (two of which I'll talk about here).

It has been two weeks since I last wrote a blog post.  I had intended to post twice a week throughout the semester, but this plan failed.  I'm scraping by with my requisite post per week.  Some of this is loss of energy.  Much of it is loss of momentum.  Back when I was writing three blog posts each week, my hands were always primed and ready for the next post because they were in a rhythm.  Now my rhythm is only one post per week, and that isn't complex enough a song to keep me writin' on.

While I definitely believe that writing blog posts is important for creative writers, writing creative works should be a top priority.  I have lost virtually all sense of momentum for my creative writing.  I started to build a little bit of momentum over Spring Break, writing two small flash fics, starting a third, and editing a fourth, but since then I haven't followed up on that wave.  I let myself settle in the trough.  Dommage.  One of these days I'll build up momentum.  I'll finish the novelette I've been working on sporadically since fall of 2014 and get more flash fics pumped out.  Maybe I'll actually cross some stories off of my list of projects-in-the-wings.

On the podcast Writing Excuses, author Mary Robinette Kowal said that when she's lost momentum she'll start off writing just a few sentences a day, building her way back up to thousands of words.  This is a plan I should attempt.  While I have found recently that I don't work well in flash fiction taking more than a sitting or two to complete a story, taking this idea to my novelette should get the blood pumping in both the story and my writing veins.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Targeting Multiple Audiences

In the press releases that we just wrote we were instructed to write with two audiences in mind.  The first audience was journalists and the second was the true target audience of the press release.  This approach does not only exist for press releases.  I use a similar approach when I write fiction.

For fiction to be traditionally published, it first needs to get through a "gatekeeper."  This "gatekeeper" can be one or more slush readers, assistant editors, an editor-in-chief, etc.  In rare cases, the "gatekeeper" can be the public (or virtual public), as is the case in a flash fiction contest for Escape Pod that I am participating in now.  When I write, I assume that the "gatekeeper" will be an editor, unless I'm writing specifically to target a market that I know uses slush readers first or whatever.

If I'm targeting a specific editor I will look at the attributes of the stories that editor publishes and try to keep my story compatible with those stories.  For example, if I know an editor prefers 3rd-narrative POV, I will write the story using that POV.  Usually I do not target specific editors.

Targeting editors in general is a small matter, but it does need to be considered.  Editors in general in the genres I write prefer 3rd-limited or 1st-person POV.  Consequently, most of the stories I write are in those POVs.  Editors in general like traditional plot structures.  I write mainly traditional plot structures for many reasons; this is one of them.  These are just two examples of ways in which I consider editors when I write.

Primarily, I write stories in ways that I believe readers will like.  In order to get to those readers through traditional channels, I must first get through "gatekeepers."  Just as one must target multiple audiences for a press release, one must do the same for stories seeking traditional publication.