Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Friday, 08 August 2003

I'm on vacation! I am so ready for a vacation.

My dad has been visiting. He wouldn't normally have come so soon before our planned trip to Kalamazoo, but he was here to give a paper at this year's conference of the American Ornithologists' Union. It's been good to see him. He's heading home tomorrow, and we're heading up to Kalamazoo in just a few days.

I've worried a lot about plot over the last few years. Perhaps too much.

I've always written fiction. I was writing stories in early elementry school and I never really stopped, although I did go through longish periods where I didn't work very hard at it.

I started writing seriously in 1995. I wrote several stories that I liked rather well, and I took a writing workshop lead by Bruce Holland Rogers. I came out of that class thinking that plot was what I needed the most improvement on.

I still thought I needed to work on plot when I went to Clarion in 2001. I focused on plot and I certainly learned a lot about it while I was there. The comments from students and teachers, though, didn't focus on plot as the area where I needed the most improvement. I came away thinking that what I needed to work on was having characters show their emotions and writing stories about things that mattered.

I think, though, in the time since then, I've continued to worry about plot anyway. My characters have gotten better at showing their emotions, but not enough. I've also been only moderately successful at writing stories that I care passionately about.

So I'm going to see if I can't fix that. My next few stories will not be strongly plotted. I think they'll have some plot, as I've got the notions of story structure pretty firmly imbedded in my brain now, but the focus will be on the emotional journey of the characters. There will still probably be a speculative element in the stories (definitely in the first one, which I have pretty much worked out in my head, we'll see about the next ones).

My favorite of the stories I wrote in 1995 has stuck with me. It wasn't salable, and it isn't fixable, but much about it is just what I'd like to do. I'm going to try to capture that kind of stuff while giving it a bit more focus, a bit more unity.

Wish me luck.

I'll let you know how it works out.

In other tidbits of news, my local writing group will be getting together Sunday to say goodbye to one of our members who's moving away. It's sad.

I've been keeping up with my running. I ran 2.5 miles Monday, Wednesday, and today. I ran after work on Wednesday and in the morning today, and those were a little too close together, or perhaps I've just been overdoing it again. My knee is a little sore. I'll take a rest day tomorrow.


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