So I just received back comments on my short story “Second Chances” from my second set of guinea pigs who I asked to read and comment on it after the first group really didn’t come back with anything overly critical. The responses from the second group were basically the same; nothing terribly wrong, great story, good read.
This second test group contained people that I peripherally know and I had thought that they would be more likely to be harsher and more critical than the first group which consisted of friends and family.
I spent last night updating my Tickler List last night and added about four new, quality story ideas. When I add to this I usually put down just one or two sentences about my idea for a potential story and use it to draw on for my current or future projects.
If I did not keep a list like this I would never be able to order my thoughts properly or even remember them. When I actually turn the item from the tickler list into an actual project I give it a space on my computer.
I am recovering from a cold and it has certainly been hard to concentrate on anything writing related these past few days. I tried to sit down and write often but it is just so frustrating how even minor aches can cause one’s focus to suffer. I just was not able to sit and write or edit at all. I was however able to make a lot of mental notes about ideas and changes which I hope to be able to implement in the coming days.
I just have to get back into my routine. Hopefully that wont be a big problem.
If someone tells you, as an author, that you should “never” to this or “always” do that when writing, my advice would be to ignore them. Telling someone such things is not advice on their part. It is merely their own prejudices establishing guardrails in their own minds which they are not willing to cross and which they believe everyone else must be bound within.
A friend who read my short story “Second Chances” tried to engage me in a conversation about whether the protagonist was was more of a heroine or an anti heroine in my mind. I said that she was prototypically neither.
In truth, I said, she exhibits traits of a hero, an anti hero and even a Byronic hero. I find that any of the basic hero archetypes, if used in their true forms, are just too predictable. I like to mix and match the traits of my main characters to make sure they don’t fall into any particular pigeonhole.
In the sense that in the beginning she exhibits none of the traits of a pure hero I don’t think anyone could confuse her for such. If anything, if you push me, I would say she is much more of the anti hero.
I think though that mixing things up leads to much more well rounded and believable characters.
I have received my feedback on my short story “Second Chances”, a prologue to the novel “Under the Darkened Moon” which I am also working on. That novel is now in its second go through after I completed the rough draft two weeks ago.
I asked people to be critical of the short story, whether or not they liked it and to point out places where improvements were needed.
I have come to conclude that either the story is near perfect or the people who I asked to comment on the story were not willing to give it the sort of critical eye it requires. Now I have to decide how to proceed. I did get some opinions on how to fix some of the verbiage which I am going to implement. But the general consensus among all that read it was that it was a very good story. No one had more than five or six comments and nothing groundbreaking that would cause me to rethink major parts of the story. Everything was minor.
But I will also probably submit the story to a second round of screening to a new group of proofers for their take. While it is possible that the story really is as good as my first round of readers said it was, I just would feel better making sure.
I mean, I have been writing for years. I know how to do it. But since fiction writing is a new thing for me, I need to make sure I get things right before I move this story forward.
Now here is an interesting thing that I have been dealing with. At least it is interesting to me, while also frustrating, so I am going to write about it.
I have been working on the story Cry of the Golden Wyvern and part of the story, early on, is about the sexual liaison between two of the characters. This however has been a sticking point for parts of the story because it requires writing about sex.
Usually when I comes to writing about the act of sex in a story I set up the scene, fade to black, and then pick up afterwards. I am not in the business of writing erotica and my approach has worked well. I like letting the reader figure out what is going on in their own mind. (more…)