Still Scribbling

Looking back on my last few weeks of blog posts, one could be forgiven for thinking that I’ve spent more time writing about writing than actually writing! So, maybe a little update is in order.

I have three primary projects right now, and have made some progress on all of them.

First, I’m rewriting a short story, “The Doll,” the first draft of which I wrote in 1998 and recently unearthed. It needed a lot of work, but the underlying story wasn’t bad, and I think I nailed the tone in the earlier draft. I like the result, it’s very different from anything I’ve written recently, but I enjoyed the last re-read. I’ve got it down to about 6,400 words — still a bit chatty, but ready to get critiques on, I think.

Second, I’m shopping around the fiction I’ve already finished. I have four short stories out on submission: three sci-fi/mysteries and one Roman-era steampunkish fantasy. I even actually managed to get a story in to Strange Horizons before its submission cap kicked in around 8am! Two of those submissions are since the new year.

Finally, I’m making good progress on that SF/mystery novel. I’d been feeling a little stalled on it for a while, but had a wonderful little breakthrough while trying out some mind-mapping techniques: A subplot that will provide a wonderful red herring and help tie together some of the lingering [X happens for some reason]s. In the zoomed-out view below, you can see the investigator in red to the lower left, and the suspects in green to the right.

Mindmap for current novel

One thing I’ve discovered that I really like about this technique is that I can zoom way out like this and see what’s been given short shrift. For example, that branch in black is the one about the circumstances surrounding the death: who was doing what. It’s under-developed for such an important part of the story. So I know that I need to spend some more time thinking about that aspect of the case. This gets back to my post about metrics, actually: I’m getting visual feedback about which bits of my story need to be worked on at a high level. (That post is actually generating some excellent comments, by the way. If you haven’t had a look lately, you should)

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Still thinking, still scribbling. After all, you’re not a writer unless you write.

(ETA: picture link fixed)

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