Coming Up For Air

Poor blog–been a bit neglected lately writing-wise. Lots going on lately. Notes on WIP, points of view, similarities between photography project and writing.  There’s other stuff going on, too, but those are the subject of other forthcoming posts.


Still ongoing.  I wish I could say it’s going well, but truth be told, it’s a struggle all the way.  This wasn’t an easy story to write, and its track record continues during the revision process.  The important thing is that it’s going.  My short stories often take 3-4 revision passes to tighten up, and so I expect MOROCCO to require at least the same.  Maybe more, due to the length and slight complexity of the story.

At this point, I feel like I don’t have enough description.  Part of this is because it’s set in an exotic locale that I don’t know much about.  Another reason is because I really wasn’t sure what was going on even while I was writing it: I didn’t know what was going to happen, I didn’t know for sure that characters were where they were or that they were going to stay there in revision, and so forth.  Because I knew I’d be ripping it apart in revision, I think I was loathe to try and put too much description in there.  Good idea?  Bad idea?  I’ll have to see as I go.

I also think that this “mostly dialog, no description” is the result of my writing getting stuck in a rut or a particular method.  I did the same thing on another short story that I finished the other day.  That one was sci-fi, so maybe the same excuse of not knowing the locale enough applies (Which isn’t much of an excuse; it’s my job to know my locations and convey a sense of them appropriately), but I’m also thinking that that is just the way my writing is going lately.  Can’t say I’m really a fan.

One other thing that comes to mind is that both stories were in the third person.  For a while, all I wrote (including Norton’s Ghost) was first person.  It feels so… easy.  Almost like cheating.  Third person, on the other hand, has been a challenge.  As such, I’ve put a temporary ban on first person until I write some stories in third to get a better grasp on it.  So I’m sure that’s causing my description problems, as well.

In the end, I’m hoping that I’ll have no problem going back and filling in the blanks once I’ve solidified the story structure a bit and that the descriptions shall flow once I iron out the uncertainties.

Also, an image I meant to post the other day.  I cracked open the rough draft file of MOROCCO and changed Scrivener to “outline” mode.  This is what MOROCCO looked like:

About 16,000 words of story that I had to drag out kicking and screaming.  All reduced down to that paltry little list of scenes and chunks of text and word counts.  It was humbling.

Current wordcount: 22,000.  I was right when I said I expected it to expand a great deal.  At this point, I still have no idea where it’ll end up count-wise (see previous description talk above, too), but I’m guessing at a max between 35 and 40,000 words.


So far I’ve done okay on keeping up with the “one day, one image” goal.  I missed my second day, but that’s only because I completely forgot about it.  The project hadn’t yet settled into the comfortable chair of habit.  It’s pretty much ingrained now.

Mostly, I need to get out of the house to take my images and do a little more planning.  Allot a little more time.  Sometimes it’ll be 10-11 PM and I’ll think, “Oh crap, I haven’t done my 365 yet today!”  and so the quality suffers.

On the other hand, I’m trying to strike a careful balance between utter crap taken in 30 seconds and spending half a day setting things up and getting the perfect shot.  I enjoy photography, but it’s not my first priority.  It’s ranking around third or fourth on my list of hobbies.  So my 365 images come after my writing and editing and suchlike.  I’m not trying to project my über-photography-ness or the airs or claims of a professional photographer.  I’m just trying to take some pictures, to fiddle with things, learn a bit, and have something to show for my effect at the end of 365 days.

There are a lot of parallels between this photography project and writing.  One of the biggest is the idea of small goals over the course of a long period of time.  One picture a day.  250/500/1000/2k words a day. It’s the same, really.  Especially since you might have to take 5/10/25/50 images to get that one good image.

There’s also the sense where you have to do something.  You can’t just sit around thinking about it and expect words to appear on the page or an image on your memory card.  You have to come up with ideas, you have to get up and try different things, and most of all, you have to do it anyways even if you’re tired and uninspired and plain don’t want to.  Some images will be better than others.  But even the bad ones that you don’t like but post anyways because it’s the one thing you managed to do is a success: Not every day’s writing is stellar, either, but you do it anyways.

It’s the process that’s important.

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