Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Saturday, 27 April 2002

I spent the morning working on the rewrite of the insurance story. It's grown quite a bit, from 5400 words to 6400. I need to make another pass over it and see what can be taken out. I'm not sure the story should be so long. Still, I like it a lot.

I want to submit it to the local writing group, and I'm not sure if it's ready or not. I'll let it sit overnight and give it a quick once-over to fix typos and such. Then I'll decide.

It's always hard to know when to get critiques on a story. My rule of thumb is to seek critiques only when I can't think of any way to make the story better. But first I run down a mental list of the problems critiquers have found in my work before. Do the characters show their emotions? Do they have anything at stake in the story? Does the tension build through the story? If I know what the critiquers are going to say without asking them, there's no point in seeking a critique. On the other hand, sometimes critiquers come up with great, wonderful ideas that cut through a bunch of stuff that I might otherwise have spent days polishing pointlessly.

Jackie and I had lunch at Panera. I had soup and half a sandwich, which was good on a damp, chill day. We'd had a few ideas for other things to get done today, but it's raining hard enough to discourage us, so we limited it to stopping on the way home and renting a couple DVDs.

Jackie and some of her fellow spinners are going to take a class in dying. For the class, she needs multiple skeins of white yarn to dye. So, she's been spinning a lot lately, and spinning just plain white yarn. She's going into color-deprivation from all that white yarn, so she's thinking of doing some weaving as a change of pace.

We put the loom on the table, and the cat immediately jumped up and slid herself into the back of the loom. It was a snug fit--she's a big cat. She was awfully cute. No picture, though. I nearly bought a digital camera, but the one I wanted wasn't available, and by the time I'd investigated numerous other possibilities, I'd gotten myself confused and couldn't decide what I wanted any more.

I actually thought of one thing to fix already in the insurance story. I had skipped the confrontation scene between the hero and his (after-that-point-ex-) girlfriend. Missing that scene was bad--it's a scene of real tension, plus it also left a loose thread dangling after the end. So, I'm glad I fixed that before anyone read it. That lapse would have dominated the critiques, without telling me anything I couldn't figure out for myself. Putting it in added several hundred words, though, it's at 6700 now.


Philip Brewer's Writing Progress homepage