Weekend reset – What I’ve been reading

I have buried myself in a complete rewrite of my short story in progress this week. Between editing sessions, what’s been catching my eye on the internet have been writing-related articles.

Networking

Angela Slatter, who incidentally wrote the very gracious and insightful introduction to the At the Edge anthology (Kickstarter still ongoing!), has made some very useful observations about the value for writers of networking, critiquing and sharing knowledge.

Given that half the Australian speculative fiction writing community – the half that doesn’t include me – will be spending the Easter weekend at either Contact 2016 (the 55th Australian National Convention) in Brisbane or SwanCon 41 in Perth, talk of networking feels timely.

“Networking” isn’t a dirty word. Unfortunately, sometimes it feels dirty. Some writers will tell you that the entire idea of networking dilutes or sullies your art − that you should get back to starving in your garret, producing a masterpiece that people will magically know about when it’s done.

Short story writing

David Farland (aka Dave Wolverton) is the coordinating judge at the Writers of the Future competition, which is an internationally-renowned quarterly contest for writers and illustrators of speculative fiction. I’ve been trying to crack WotF for the past couple of years, and I’ve gotten close – finalist and a couple of highly commendeds – but I’m yet to break through to the top three in the quarter.

Happily for those of us trying to trip the last few tumblers on successful short fiction, David has outlined his personal checklist of components he looks for in his own short story writing. It’s rock-solid advice – I worked through the checklist last night with my current WIP and figured out the answers to quite a few gnarly issues.

…when we go through a checklist like this, we’re looking at the parts and not the whole. When you’re composing your story and editing it, you must be constantly aware of the whole story, keeping it in mind, even as you examine it in detail, making sure that one part doesn’t overbalance another.

 

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