Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Saturday, 13 July 2002

I made really good progress on my story. Let's call it the youth story. I wrote a bunch, then ended up trimming almost 1000 words out, after I realized that I'd gone astray. A couple chunks of that text are salvageable for the end of the story, but boy did I screw up the middle. Just at the point where I needed to ratchet up the tension, I let it all leak out. The hero did the right thing, other people reacted well, his problems took care of themselves. Blech.

So, I trimmed all that out. I'm back at the point where he did the right thing. He needs to do the wrong thing instead. Of course, he can't do just any old wrong thing. He needs to do a wrong thing that's in keeping with his character. And it needs to make his problems worse, not make things better.

So, that's under control. And I've got 2000 words I'm very pleased with and another 1000 that are perfectly good, except that for the middle of this story, they suck. As I say, a couple pieces may be okay for the end of this story. One in particular will play very well as the denouement.

I've been keeping up with the various journals of this year's Clarion attendees. Reading about the things they're learning, I'm struck by the fact that I'm still assimilating the things I learned last year. My writing improved a lot while I was there, but that was hardly the end of it. I'm still integrating the things I learned there into how I write now.

None of which is to say that I wrote badly before (although I did write bad stories). When I go back and read my writing from a year or two or three ago I'm actually kind of impressed with it, sentence-by-sentence, even paragraph-by-paragraph. I'm not sure that what I'm writing now is any better at that level. Maybe the descriptions are a little better. At least, I hope more of them are as good as the better ones were before.

The prose was okay. It was the stories that needed to be better. They needed to be about people, not ideas. So, my current story is a story that's about people. We'll see if I can pull it off.


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