Friday, 7 February 2014

Murder most useful

So, I have been away. Well, away from here, that is. You didn't notice? Huh. 
Anyways, I have been blatantly neglecting the blog, but in my defense I have been doing words.

Back in October, I was asked by the delightful Belinda Jones to write a story for the second Sunlounger anthology, which is due out this summer.  More to the point, this was a request, not an invite to take part in the competition again.  Obviously there was a fair amount of Happy Dancing around here, which I managed to string out for quite some time, before I realized that having a deadline meant I also had to stump up the goods.

 I had a ropey first draft before Christmas, which mulled until this new year, when it took a brutal beating and slashing, before being cast under the meticulous eye of my Lovely Critique Partner who was vicious but fair. The words "annoyingly wishy-washy" about one segment made me wince but  also made me pull my socks up. That is what good crit partners are for: to dole out The Truth.

  So finally, after a lot of tinkering, re-tinkering and faffing, and killing a darling at the very end, I delivered it to Belinda. I have to say it gave me a sense of relief, as my brain had been filled with it forever, along with that nag of a deadline looming. But there was also a sense of nerves, as what if she didn't like it? Last year I would never have known any different if she simply hadn't picked mine. But I guess that is the case with anyone who writes and sends their work out to anyone else. You always risk them not liking it, be it a short story or novel, or whether it's going to an agent, publisher, or the reader. Luckily, I know now that Belinda is happy with it. Hurrah. Cue Happy Relieved Dance which is altogether more slouchy.

Essentially, writing this Sunlounger story has been a timely reminder of how I write and what my process is. It’s also shown how my attitude to my words has changed over time, where once I would have defended them stubbornly to a point of weeping before making a change, I can now take the comments, try the alternative ideas, and kill those darlings without even a pout. (OK, maybe a small one, a mini-pout...)

So that's where I've been - Killing and Happy Dancing.

What have you been up to?

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