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Parts of the Writing

I came out of my individual meetings with instructors knowing I had a huge amount of work to do, but also knowing I didn’t suck.  One instructor even took me through her word-by-word edit of my first fifteen pages or so, explaining the reason for each little mark.  It was uplifting.  Exciting.  I could see the problems and the potential solutions.  That’s what I came to Viable Paradise to discover.

One evening, matociquala mentioned the frustration of getting “close but not quite” rejections.  There’s nothing wrong with the story, but no one will buy it.  Bob knows, I’ve complained and whined about that!  Then she said it wasn’t enough for there to be nothing wrong.  It had to have more that was right.

Seems obvious, I know, but internalizing that shift of perspective is a tad more difficult.  “Something wrong” can be pointed at, explained, and changed by other readers because it deals with what already exists.  “Something right” does not yet exist.  It must be identified and created before it can even be determined as wrong or right.

On a similar note, I’m viewing my third chapter through the lens of TNH’s comment during critique: “Your reader can’t tell you what she doesn’t need to know.”

But the biggest job ahead of me is fixing the omniscient voice.  Painfully obvious, that.  Challenge the first, per sartorias's advice, was determining the precise identity of the narrator.  Nothing was really working for me until, at three o’clock Wednesday morn, it burst into my head fully formed.  By the next day, I had all the reasons he would want to tell the story as well.  Now I need to let it simmer, let the story absorb the new flavor, before I begin editing the novel itself.

In that sense, it’s good this first week home is crazy-busy.  I have a major report to finish, a wellness project to revise, dojo promotion to perform, food drives to coordinate, and my son’s school work to check.  And laundry and dishes and yard work and teaching and clients.  I have begun a countdown to when certain responsibilities are fulfilled, and am determined not to fill those slots with more.

I have made two little tweaks to my VP short story and shall place it in the mail tomorrow.


Blair MacGregor

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May 2017


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