Friday, 22 June 2001
In my conference on Wednesday, Jim had some praise for my writing, but also a caution. My stories aren't emotional enough. They need characters who care more deeply about things, and who show that they care, through their actions. Without that, my stories will be good enough to sell, but they won't be great stories. They won't win awards, they won't get into best-of-the-year anthologies, they won't be stories people remember years later.
I had done the "assignment" that Jim had given us--I had written a story with something in it that scares me. (That's in the story to be critiqued Monday.) So, he gave me another assignment. My next story, he said, should be a love story. So, that's what I'm working on. I've gotten as far as "boy meets girl" and it's at 520 words. I haven't outlined it and am not quite sure where it's going, so it is hard to guess the final length. But I'm thinking it'll come in a bit over 5000 words.
I took a bit of a nap, but it was one of those naps where you just end up feeling groggier afterwards. Fortunately, when I got up it was almost time the potato bake. I can eat baked potatoes even when I'm groggy.
We did a practice public reading. Although I've spoken in public before, I've never read any of my fiction in public, so it was good that people organized this.
I've seen some suggestions for reading aloud, so I followed the suggestions as well as I could remember them. I took an excerpt of "Reading is Fundamental" and reformatted to be single-spaced with blank lines between paragraphs. I printed it out in 14-point type so it would be easy to see. I read through it aloud in my room. Where I didn't give it just the reading I wanted on the first try, I thought about just how I wanted to do the emphasis, then I marked the printout to show that.
My reading went okay.
About ten of us read. Everybody did a good job, although most of us can use some more practice. There's talk of doing one of these in public before the workshop is over.
I've prepared a little scoreboard of what I've done so far:
Note that the count of stories critiqued is the number I've done critiques for, and therefore excludes the stories written by me. Everyone else will have critiqued a roughly similar number, depending on whether they are more or less prolific than me.