Saturday, January 31, 2009

Link Salad

It is still way too hot over here to do anything really constructive. For dinner tonight we'll be having cold meat and salad rolls - that is cold meats, fresh salad on just-from-the-bakery rolls - very nice. We are having this as no one wants to cook in 43C and no one wants to go back outside get take away or eat at a restaurant - even if we could afford it. So cold meat and salad rolls it is.

And for the blog today, I'm also going to cut a few corners and add a link salad. Get it? Cold meat and salad...sorry...I did say it was hot, didn't I?

In no particular order:

Speakeasy has a good post on improving the craft, which contains good links to other stuff writers should read.

Litmatch dishes out some worthwhile encouragement

The wonderfully named Ms Sin hands out a reminder on confidence and exactly where it should be placed.

And lastly Alexandra Sokoloff has posted an article about "The High Concept" within your story.

Speaking of Alex, I contacted her the other day for some information regarding the Australian release dates of her books and passed on my overall thoughts after reading her first book "The Harrowing". Her response was, apart from providing me with the requested info, and being humble in response to my praise, was to encourage me to write quicker so she could then read my work.

A nice sentiment, but it awakened a stronger need in me. I don't need to write quicker, I need to learn quicker on how to write well. And it is happening.

Over the past few months, I've been learning what makes up a good story, both in print and in film. Alex has prompted everyone who goes to her site, to start thinking about the films they like for specific things. I'm reading some excellent writing books. Websites and blogs of quality information have been offering up brilliant suggestions. Interaction with other writers has shed light on things all writers should know.

I am now beginning to take books and films apart automatically. Not every scene as I still wish to enjoy what I'm watching or reading, but I do mentally bookmark bits to come back to, or add a post-it note to a book. On second viewing or reading, I start to seriously pull things apart. I can now recognise what makes me think something is good, and just as importantly, recognise what is missing for me to think something is not-so-good.

I'm thinking in layers. I'm thinking about how I can better convey theme through additional layers. I'm thinking how I can better describe individual things and relate things back to character, setting, or theme. I'm thinking this way in both the short and long form of story telling.

I'm still improving in my writing - which is timely because Too Late the Rain has just gathered another rejection. The current version of this story was written in August last year. It has garnered two rejection since then. The first came after it was passed around for a second read, so it was in the running. The second came back with a very long and detailed response. Food for thought.

Both markets were in the flat payment, semi-pro, market range. I think I currently have 22 other markets of similar prestige and market positioning listed on the AHWA market database. Not all of these will be interested in this type of story, but the point is, I'm not finished sending this out yet. And then there is the lower paying and exposure markets.

I may have a play with the suggestions from the latest rejection, or at the very least, give it another going over to see if I can improve the writing, but as sure as I know these days of 40C+ temperatures can't last forever, this story will continue being sent to market and this story will find a home one day.

Go read the links and good luck with your submissions



  1. The heat is killing me too. Certainly not writing whether though the heat did inspire an element to add to a short story of mine.

    I've been meaning to blog on all of it, but the heat is making me lazy.

    So do you think becoming a blogger has helped with your writing? I think it has for me. I have observed you become more confident and assertive in what you think is right and what needs to be done.

  2. thanks for the links. I am always looking to read anything that might help my craft. Speaking of that you might want to check your e-mail.

    I am sorry about the heat but we are just coming out of a cold snap up north here that might actually melt some of the snow that has been on the ground for over a month.

  3. I'm finding genre film magazines more and more interesting. Rue Morgue's interview with the original "My Bloody Valentine" director was fascinating!

  4. Ben - not so much the blogging that has helped, but the people I've met through blogging has definitely helped. As to my assertiveness - I have moments when I know what works for me,;when I learn something new that just seems right, and when I do, I tell everyone about it. I was burned a lot when I first started. Apart from one person who helped me, everyone else seemed more interested in trying to take my money - so now I try to pass on everything I learn for free.

    Jamie - I'm surprised our heat wave hasn't melted the snow for you. I'll be checking my email shortly.

    Nat - Story telling is story telling. What works visually works in print if the author has the ability to transmit the vision in his head to the page in such a manner that the reader can correctly decipher it. I am learning heaps from film.