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.
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)