Wanted: Time Machine

I need a time machine or mastery of the space-time continuum. The pandemic has brought forward a flood of wonderful workshops, including new ones from Dean and Kris. Steve points out that I can’t take everything, which is quite true. Still, I can’t help but feel that if I had mastered the space-time continuum before now, I would be able to learn everything.

It’s the beginning of a new month. I’m midway through the Advanced Depth class, I’ve finished much of the reading for the Writing Fantasy intensive for later in September. I signed up for a Writing Space Opera short course in October. There is so much more I want to learn.

It is possible to take so many writing courses that they push aside all writing time, preventing me from accomplishing the most important thing: finished stories and novels. I won’t do that.

My short story is too long. It is nearly finished and looks like it will top out at around 7,500 words. I’m at the end of the final battle and ready to move into the validation portion of the story. After that will be tightening the story and adding additional texture (the sensory components that make a story live). It is possible that the story will be less than 7,000 words, but it’s not looking good.

This story has been a pain in the tush to write. Even starting with characters I knew something about, a setting that I’ve used multiple times in multiple ways, and a pretty clear understanding of where I wanted the story to go, its been like wrestling a kraken.

Some of that can be laid at the fact that writing naval tactics was new to me and I needed to learn how to do it. Though even there, I had years of playing naval combat board games with people who loved strategy and tactics, including my husband who is an expert who teaches strategy to naval officers. So I wasn’t walking into this totally blind.

But writing about war is not like gaming. No one is all that interested in where the pieces on the board are. They are interested in the characters, their traumas and their arcs. That’s a pretty close-in personal perspective.

I found it nauseating. I had a lot of trouble getting myself to focus on combat close enough to write from that perspective. That was one of the strong critiques from my group as well. They could see that I was pulling away just when I should have been going deeper. (Have I mentioned lately that I appreciate my group?)

I don’t really know what to do about any of this but the one thing I learned from writing 52 stories in 52 weeks is that an unfinished story is nothing. The steps are: Write, Finish What You Write, Refrain From Rewriting, Put It On the Market, Keep It On The Market Until it Sells.

I am going to finish the story, probably today. But I have predicted that the story will be finished “today” every day this last week, so I no longer trust myself on that. But I will finish, even if I haven’t mastered the space-time continuum. Then as a reward to myself I will immerse myself in a story where people spend too much time kissing rather than killing each other.

I hope that you have mastered the space-time continuum, dear friends. If you have, please send me the class information so that I can get up to speed on that. If you are like me and are struggling in this one period of time, in this one scrap of space, know that you are not alone. I’m sending you space-time hugs.

Be well, friends!

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