Just a few musings today as my too busy spring continues.
On Business (or Busyness)
Last week included a Thursday evening awards ceremony, which, among others, included an award for one of our large archaeological projects. And last night, I accompanied my husband as he gave a public talk about our excavations a few years ago at the site of an 18th-century plantation in Maryland. Such presentations often draw a large, interested crowd with many questions, and this event was no different. Even though he’s uncomfortable speaking in public, he hides it well and connects with his audience.
I had a bit of an epiphany on Saturday about my writing. Much of what I’ve done to date has been “pantsed.” (No, that’s not the epiphany. It’s just a lead in to the epiphany.) Despite my organization in most other aspects of my life, my creative writing never really followed suit. And I had thought of Meghan Bode’s stories as epitomizing that pantsing approach. After all, every installment of her two stories was written the week before it aired, with only the barest outline in my head of how the stories would end.
But as I mused over her stories and possible future ideas, it struck me that while I wasn’t working from an outline, every section/chapter/installment was written in chronological order from Part One through The End.
That’s awfully darn organized when I stop to think about it. With the first two manuscripts, I didn’t come close to that level of logical progression.
I’ve been told by someone who has read all my stories (okay, my husband), that Meghan’s stories are my best writing so far. I tend to agree. But why is that?
- Well, they are the most recent. If I’m to have any chance of finding an audience, my writing damn well better improve with each story. No one starts out being good enough for publication. Seriously—no one.
- They were written on tight schedules. Once I figured out I would be writing a short story (ultimately, two) live on the Web, I had to be serious about actually writing when I sat down at the computer. No “quick check” for email. No “quick game” of Word Yacht. Only writing. I believe it’s called “focus.” And it’s a magical quality that is all too scarce in today’s world.
- They were written in logical order from beginning to end. I wasn’t necessarily conscious of it, but there had to be an internal structure somewhere in my mind from which I was working. Maybe Meghan planted the episodes in my subconscious for me to find. However it happened, I wrote coherent stories with no plot holes, dropped plot lines or characters, or inconsistencies. All critical in writing a good story.
- Meghan Bode is an engaging protagonist. Even modest, self-deprecating me has to admit this is true. Even in these first stories, many readers commented on how much they like her. A character who grabs readers and keeps them reading goes a long way toward making any story a good one.
So now it’s time to build on these realizations as I work on 1) the two rebuilds, and 2) a new idea.
Yes, there’s a new idea. And I’m not going to be very forthcoming about it because I’m afraid I’ll either jinx it or face yet another public fail if I can’t get it right. But if I can apply the things I got right with Meghan’s stories and also improve on my storytelling, then maybe I’ll have a better manuscript that is ready for the wider world.
WordPress Heard Us
We can now put a “like” option on our comments. If you’d like to do it, just go to your Dashboard and then to Settings. Under Settings, go to the “Sharing” option. Near the bottom of the page, you’ll find a check box for “Comment Likes Are.” Just click that box, and a “like” option will appear on comments. There have been many times I’ve wanted such a feature, and I’m glad to see it.
I hope your lives are a bit less hectic than mine right now!