Now Appearing: my short story "He Angles, She Refracts" in Heliotrope issue #3
"The Fate of Captain Ransom" in Strange New Worlds 10
My short story "After The Sky Fell" in Polyphony 5, Wheatland Press
"Messages" appeared in Realms Of Fantasy, April 2001
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2003-09-08 4:54 PM
I sent a story to Realms of Fantasy today. It's the story I wrote in a day at the Denise Little workshop. The theme was nightmares. Now since the anthology idea didn't sell at Worldcon, I was able to send it somewhere else. That story worked for me and I was happy with it. The only thing it needed was some focus on the sentence level. I spent a long Saturday afternoon with the manuscript, a pen, note cards, and grammar books. I got rid of some of the awkward sentences, tightened even more sentences, and managed to knock about two hundred words off the 3000 word story. I also tweaked the end of the story.
I gotta say it was a pleasure to see what I liked about the story become even better with line edits. Sometimes I fear grammar. Sometimes I'm just stubborn because much of my self-doubt comes from grammar. If it's a blow to my ego, I avoid it. Well, it's no better when you get critiquers with a red pen marking all over it.
When I write fast towards a deadline, I gotta give myself time to go through the story line by line. Make it a part of my process. I don't see the problems with a read through or a read aloud. It has to be the Kate Wilhelm method of using two note cards to block off a single sentence from the rest of the text. And looking at that sentence, checking it, and trimming it. You start at the beginning of the story and work forward, of course. This can be done quickly, especially, I'm sure, as I become more aware of my common mistakes. If I'm aware of my common mistakes and internalize them, odds are they won't come out in the first draft.
One final note (I didn't mean to babble on about this): I'm not trying to make every sentence grammatically correct and making it bland. I'm just making each sentence CLEAR.
Anyway, this was one of my quickest stories. From concept to final draft to the post office. And I bet I spent around twelve hours on it.
Since I was going to the post office anyway, I typed up a thank you letter to the customer supervisor at my post office. She was quick to reimburse me for my lost Amazon.com package. I wanted to thank her and reassure her that I still think the post office does a good job with the volume of mail they handle.
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