Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Six years in the making ...

So, with the three blogs that I keep, you might expect that I would post more often. Lately, though, I've been finishing a project that has meant a great deal to me over the years.

It started a little over six years ago, when I took a creative writing class in college and my professor told me that I needed to work on "creating a scene". Apparently, I spent too much time on dialogue and not enough on descriptions of characters and settings (a problem I still have, at times). Anyway, one week I decided to engage in a little exercise. I described a man taking a walk down a forest trail, including the sights, sounds, smells, feel, and even taste of the forest. I was rather pleased with the result, actually.

Not one to let a good (or even a bad) piece of writing go to waste, I decided to give the man a story of his own. I created a world (a very rudimentary one at the time), gave him a mission, several companions, and a barebones personal background. Two years later, I had a short story ready to send to a fantasy magazine. At least, I thought I did. It was rejected, as it should have been. The plot was interesting, but the story was a piece of crap. The narrative was boring, the characters were underdeveloped, and the writing was so horrible that a friend of mine later was prompted to say "Surely such a thing could not have come from you!" Okay, she was exaggerating a little, but it was pretty awful just the same.

After I got the rejection notice, I started over. I spent more time developing the characters and the world they inhabited. I especially spent more time on my main character, his own history and personality. I thought I could get by with just outlining his early years, the events that led him to the point where the original story began; but every step along the way, I found myself narrating the events instead of just outlining them. As I did, I realized that his story started much earlier than I had originally thought.

I finally was able to work my way back to the "beginning". The story that I just now completed was not the first major or significant event in his life, but it is the first time his life changed through his own doing and not someone else's. It's taken me about four years to reach this point, but I've finally submitted another story for publication.

Intergalactic Medicine Show is an online magazine founded by Orson Scott Card, one of the most renowned science-fiction and fantasy authors of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. I submitted my story "The Trials of Seffin Phel: Bandits of Moftal" to the magazine this week. Now begins the waiting, which could take as long as three months, until I learn whether or not they feel it's right for their publication. In the meantime, I'll be working on the next story in the series; and when that one is finished, I'll work on the next one.

I'll be posting my submission letter and a segment from Trials for you to read. If you'd like to read more, or have any questions, comments, or suggestions, then please feel free to let me know.

No comments:

Post a Comment