Silent’s April Adventures
I moved on with my life. My grief faded, but I still miss my cat. When I go in the bedroom, I expect to see him curled up on the bed; In the living room, looking out his window on the sofa; I have his ashes and will mix them in with a tree I intend to plant outside his window. He always wanted to go outside, now he will be able to, yet still be.
April brought a new stage of learning with it. I recognized that WordPress is not a place to develop or perfect writing, so much as it is a place to gather my writing. I turned to scribophile as my laboratory. Talented writers haunt that site, intent on exploring their craft. I’ve been exposed to much wonderful writing, gotten much-needed feedback, and watched more than a few food fights.
What did I fill my empty little head with?
I bought a number of books, but have not yet opened them. Instead, I pulled two books off the shelf, and immersed myself in them. I consulted Renni Browne and Dave King’s Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, working through all the exercises, which I posted, six, seven, eight, nine, and ten. I applied the lessons to a Work In Progress (WIP). I also brought back Les Edgerton’s Hooked. I still have Leigh Michaels’s On Writing Romance and Orson Scott Card’s How To Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, lingering, and I will get back to them.
What did I work on?
When I ended March, I was still digesting how to transform Tavern Girl from a 6,000 word story to the Silks trilogy. I wrote about that experience in As It Turned Out. I still have much thinking to do on that project. I do not, yet, have the tools to do it justice.
Looking to getting back to writing, I took one of my original stories, Delivered Up, and posted it, unmodified, to scribophile, and received a lot of positive feedback. The critters (ones who critique) helped me understand my short comings in the story, which I fixed, and reposted. I think the revised version is stronger than the original
Confident I could actually write something interesting to other people, I took an original 1,000 word post, called Murder, Mutiny and Mother’s Love, retitled, it as Scepter’s Sacrifice, and applied the lessons learned from the self-editing book mentioned above. Then, wanting feedback, I posted it on scribophile. I wrote it, using Blake Snyder’s fifteen beats from Save The Cat. Since this was a 1,000 word story, I risked exposing more of a target. And…people hated it. I had plenty of events, and tension, but no character arcs. I’m a girl. I should have been strong on character changes and weak on action. But, I wasn’t.
I spent much of the month developing the two main characters, Deheya, who just happens to be Native American, and Ad Gar, a European aristocrat, with the setting in some undefined place that is probably North America. I’ve gotten to know the two of them quite well. Deheya continues to look a lot like she does in the updated story, but Ad Gar is now much deeper, far more complex, and, I hope, more sympathetic.
I am contemplating Scepter’s Sacrifice as a full-blown novel. I’ve discovered so much back story and so many off-stage activity that I wonder if I can spin it out into the 100,000 range. I am exploring that possibility with the scribophile community.
I continued to produce other Flash Fiction, a form I enjoy. In part, I can see the entire story in a single glance. While the plots are no less intricate and powerful than a longer story, I can hold everything in my head at the same time. I wrote Bare Remembrance for Friday Flash Fiction; I entered a fifty word story, I Will Go, in the Word Press Weekly writing contest they didn’t bother to even acknowledge; and Flash Fiction Three – Six Words.
I have so far to go as a serious writer.
I will only become one if I am willing to risk my feelings, and expose my emotions, and my soul.
I write, not for fame and glory, but because I must.