Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Thursday, 14 June 2001

Staying up so late last night was madness. I had to get up at 5:30 this morning to do all my critiques by 9:00 when class started. (I actually turned out to have about a half hour to spare.) However, I'm really glad I did. This morning I had all the second thoughts and doubts about the story that I expected, and that I knew would have made it hard to get back into it and finish it today.

In class today Kelly talked a lot about descriptive detail, which she distinguished from just ordinary or "filler" description. One example she used was eyes. There are a lot of descriptions of eyes in fiction, but usually as character introduction (she was blond and blue-eyed, with high, firm breasts) or as character action (her eyes darkened, her eyes flashed). She says these are filler description. What Kelly wants us to do is use details that actually describe what something is like, rather than simply serving as a kind of short-hand that says, "fill in existing cultural symbol here."

About a third of us went to dinner with Kelly, Lister, a few Clarionites from past years, and a couple of friends. Another third skipped dinner, but showed up at Kelly's reading. She read "The Specialist's Hat" and signed copies of her new book Stranger Things Happen. It was at Archive Books again. This time I managed to return still remembering that the cat is named Moe.

I did just a tiny bit of writing, inserting a placeholder sentence in the spot where I need to remember to add a short section. I probably won't try to finish it until the weekend. Today was the last day to turn something in and get it critiqued with Kelly, so I might as well wait until Monday. That will keep me on track for doing a story a week. Of course it means I'll be doing a Kelly Link story for James Patrick Kelly, but then I did a Steven Barnes for Kelly Link.

James Patrick Kelly will be arriving tomorrow, and in the evening we're going to all go to Lister's house and watch the premier of "Think Like a Dinosaur" with him.


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