Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It’s Human, But Is It Art


On Friday Chris touched on something very important: the perception of the writing craft as something people do just as a by-the-way, with no effort. I meet at least three people a year who tell me “When I retire I’ll write a novel” or “I always wanted to write a novel, I just need some time I can sit down.” It sort of reminds me of the line in Pride and Prejudice when Mr. Darcy says “Any savage can dance.” Which was indubitably true, and very much what he should say to depress his interlocutor’s pretensions, but was emphatically not true of the elaborate dances of the Regency.

I think the reason for this disparagement of writing as a craft/art is that storytelling is two fold. One is external – story telling is such an elementary function of being alive. In its elementary form, most of us were doing it by the time we could put sentences together. (I swear the dog drew on the wall, mom, honest!) And if you’re going “but most of us WERE drawing on the wall as toddlers, so why doesn’t art suffer from the same issue?” Well... Because most of us can tell, at first glance a stick figure from Leonardo da Vinci, but also because of the second part of the reason – as people who write to entertain others, we try to make it seem easy from the other end. We want the reader to appreciate the story, not to be jolted out of it to admire our neat trick of description or how handily we slipped in that bit of world building.

This means if we do it well our artifice is invisible to the reading public and they think we’re just “telling the story” as it occurred to us.

Now, as annoying as other people’s perceptions of our work are – and they are! – they are not the biggest problem of this perception of writing as a natural thing to do that takes no training and no effort. The worst toll this perception takes is on the writer him/herself.

What am I talking about? Well... Even though I was always aware that there was an apprenticeship period involved and also was keenly aware of – say – the difference between my short stories and those I read monthly in Analog and Asimov’s, it took me years of concerted effort to be able to be conscious of what I was showing the reader. Look, think of it as of those pictures where if you look at it one way you see a beautiful young woman, another way and you an old crone. Artists are very conscious of this and very careful to “frame” their composition in a way the eye effortlessly perceives what they want it to perceive. As an aspiring artist I can tell you a composition of any complexity, particularly with objects (we’re built to see faces. Which is why if you stare at a stain long enough you start seeing some form of face in it) and you can get the young beauty/old crone effect a hundred times magnified: you can see what the artist is showing or you can see... soup. A new and unskilled artist will fail to highlight what he wants you to see, and you’ll have to work to figure out what he’s drawing – even if it’s well done. It’s all light and shadows and how they’re arranged, plus a careful placement of negative spaces. (A professional artist told me the first (HC) cover for Draw One In The Dark wasn’t badly drawn, just badly lighted/highlighted. I’m still unsure whether I believe him.)

It’s harder to see it in writing – of course – but a similar effect takes place. You aren’t just “telling a story,” you are building a picture in your reader’s mind, step by step. A picture of a world, a character, a plot. You need to make sure what you create in their minds is what you want to. More importantly, because of the tools of writing as an art is playing on people’s emotions and there is very little fiction that can be considered “satisfactory” if it doesn’t touch our emotions one way or another, you need to hit your reader with the right jolts of emotion at the right time.

This is again more difficult than it may seem because of course it is perfectly clear in your head and therefore you sometimes don’t realize where you’re adding in extraneous detail that muddies the picture or nullifies the reader’s involvement in the story. In this you should rejoice, because artists face much the same issue – of course – because the picture is clear in their heads.

In fact this is part of the reason I oppose new writers' writing either what they know (in the sense of something they lived through – autobiographical stories, even with minor enhancements) or about the one world they’ve had in their heads since they were five. While for a more experienced writer the personal touch/knowledge adds a layer of interest and depth, for a beginner it just means you throw in everything but the kitchen sink and make the book unreadable.

I’ve talked about writers groups (apparently there are artists’ groups as well. Part of the reason I’ve stalled in my art is that I don’t have the energy to look for one) as a way to help you see your art through other eyes. We won’t touch that now.

There is a more important effect of this “but it’s natural” certainty. Most writers – particularly in the long apprenticeship years – think it is natural, too. And even those – like me – who are aware it’s a craft, fail to see HOW to get to the pro state and how to be really conscious of what they’re putting on paper. As a result there are any number of writers who either think their very first effort is the best thing ever (and a lot who fall for traps like Publish America, convince themselves they’re now published and stop developing) and others who have in fact put in effort and are “almost there” but give up because they don’t see the final step.

You see, you have to be trained to see the lines of the story and the techniques you need to convey it with minimal effort. And, as with writing, a lot of it has to be learning by doing.

So, what am I bringing you, besides doom and gloom? I’m going to quote Kris Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith again (it’s getting to be an habit.) When I was young in writing (yeah, yesterday. No. Really, really young – about twelve years ago.) I attended Oregon Writers Workshop. Now, they do it differently these days, but my class was the first. Imagine this – I land from a flight, we drive a few hours, and suddenly I’m this room with a man who is telling me about bathtubs. It took a while to focus and realize what he was saying and it took much longer – and experience – to realize he was right.

What he was talking about was the bathtub of publishing. Picture a bathtub and an open faucet, pouring water into it. There is a line halfway up the bathtub (so, the bathtub in this house when we moved in!) The water is running with some force, and every time it hits the bathtub/other water, it splashes. At first those splashes all fall under the line, but as the tub fills, more and more hits above that line. Below the line is unpublishable. Above the line is publishable. The water level is where your writing is.

If the water pours forth with sufficient force – i.e. if the subject touches you emotionally and all your subconscious ducks line up in a row – it is possible to hit above the publishing line as an almost raw beginner. My short story Thirst was written in 91. I refuse to show the other stuff I was writing at the time. It took me another seven years to catch up with that story (and then I had to force the growth, as I’ll explain.) However, it’s hit or miss and accident, and, okay, some measure of natural talent (I’m very suspicious of unquantifiables like “talent”) and not something you can replicate at will.
However, your hits will become more frequent and more controlled as you accumulate more water in the tub.

So, what’s the water, you ask – you really need to have more patience with metaphors! The water is what you’ve written so far. Writing like other crafts and arts benefits from practice. Just the process of doing it over and over again – particularly combined with good exterior critique – will help you grow. And the more turned on that faucet is – the more water that pours out every second – the faster you’ll learn.

Yeah, I can see you frowning, out there and getting ready to tell me writing takes time, writing takes thought, doing it faster doesn’t help. To which I say poppycock. At any rate, what I’m talking about is not “faster” per se, but constantly. Leonardo Da Vinci didn’t get to paint like that because he was kissed by genius from above. He might have been, but in my humble opinion the “genius hypothesis” is over played to explain magnificent art and craft. Leonardo, and other boys of his time who aspired to be artists, were probably apprenticed as pre-teens and spent years mixing paint, doing sketches, eventually – when they were very good – working on bits of the masters’ canvas. Another thing they did was do a lot of work that wasn’t even meant to be shown – painting on practice canvas they just painted over later. And if you think they were golden youth, coddled and well rested and thinking each canvas carefully through, you’re far off. They were overworked wretches, used more or less as household servants, who were made to learn their art in the intervals of making the master’s life easier.

I’ve often thought that writers should have a similar system, and not just because my house becomes covered in cat hair at an amazing pace, but because it removes the soft illusions that art happens in moments of pure genius/inspiration.

When I was a beginner but no longer raw – in between that workshop and say, the publication of my third book – I believed the thing about the bathtub of publishing on faith. I couldn’t see how writing a lot, blindly, would help. I thought it would be better on read about writing and study and write fewer stories. However, Dean had told the story so convincingly that my friend Rebecca Lickiss and I went home and proclaimed new rules for our joint writers group. “From now on, we write a short story a week.”

Now, most of the group had full time jobs. Those who didn’t had toddlers. And almost all of us had a novel in progress (something we didn’t bring to the meeting every week, because critiquing novels doesn’t work like that but which was, unfortunately unenforceable.) Oh, the crying, the gnashing of teeth, the death threats – wait, that was us to them! If you’re thinking “I’d walk” about a third of the group did. The ones who stayed did the stories, though, and within a couple of years we were all published in some manner.

Mind you, I always thought it was partly potluck – i.e., write a lot and some stories will hit the market at just the right time. I won’t even deny there was an element of that – there are stories I simply do not list in my home page for good and sufficient reason.

BUT yesterday I saw – like an epiphany – that Dean had been absolutely right about the “force” method teaching you faster too and perhaps forcing you to reach a level you never would have reached otherwise. Look, I’d written A LOT before that workshop (eight novels, for one) but at a slow pace, and it was one step forward two back five sideways. It’s not just that you have to write however many words of crap. There is something to writing as fast as you can. To straining that limit, even. When you have to produce fast, you simplify the task. You learn to see clearer, almost in self defense.

Recently, for various reasons, I’ve been going through my folders of “never submitted” stories. Some were never submitted because I knew they were bad, some because I thought that there was something wrong there. And some of them I never submitted because I forgot they existed (yeah, I know. I had toddlers.)

I started reading about the time I went to the workshop, and read the next two years of forgotten stories – and you know what? The growth was crystal clear. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the bathtub!

When I went to the workshop I knew a lot (I should hope so. I’d been writing for thirteen years) but the problem was, through all the theory and the bits of craft, I didn’t know how to CUE things or how to... well, play with the reader’s mind. That’s something that for me at least, had to be learned at an almost subconscious level, before I could codify it. So most of the early stories are technically correct. They just happen to be the world’s biggest fails. How? Well, take this angel urban fantasy story I didn’t remember writing – the tone and voice in the beginning made me wonder if it was a synopsis. Or the other one, where I drop you in the middle of the subplot and it takes a while to get to the main point (like most of the story.) And then, slowly – what was in real life almost imperceptibly – I progressed. By the end of that period, I can see – can’t we all – things I’d do better now, but it’s undeniable most of these stories are publishable. (I told you I forgot to send them out, right? Yeah.)

By the way I noticed a similar effect when I did six novels in a year (while home schooling the boy genius and taking art lessons, and becoming a ninja – okay, I’m joking about the ninja.) The difference in the novels and “ease of voice” between the first and the last is startling.

Now, I also learned there is a limit (hey! No one told me I was human!) The first novel of the next year needs serious revision if it’s ever re-released. It reads like I was writing in a fog. Partly because I was. I THINK I could have managed the six novels easily if it weren’t for kids, house, housekeeping, homeschooling. (The art actually helps me rest. Long story.)

So there is a natural limit to the body and mind, but if you push yourself to it – or beyond – you will learn a lot of the techniques you’ve read about but not interiorized. You know, the ones you’re doing consciously and clumsily and which will flow if you practice it till your fingers bleed.

No, I don’t want to hear excuses. I know the dog ate your practice time. But painters practice. Ballet dancers practice. Musicians practice. Everyone practices but writers, who think story telling is natural and therefore should come effortlessly.

What? You thought you were special? Get moving. You have a bathtub to fill.


UPDATE: I just realized I've been an utter slacker the last two years. Needed, perhaps because I was tired onto near-breakdown. But No More Slacking. I'm throwing down the glove. For the next six months I'll try to do a short story a week and a novel (in addition to the three I HAVE to deliver and the almost finished one.) I'll report on my progress on the end of each weekly post. (You always miss some weeks, so the result might be three shorts a month, but I'm aiming for four.) Who's with me?
UPDATE Update: Anyone picking up the gauntlet and at least making an effort to follow up, no matter how imperfectly, will be elligible for a "rubber ducky" pin (with a picture fo a rubber ducky swimming in ink.) Be the first at your con. Amaze your friends and neighbors. Have them give you weird looks! Spend all your con explaining "no, it has nothing to do with bathing." DO not miss this once in a lifetime opportunity.

50 comments:

David Barron said...

I take the Ratatouille "Anyone Can Cook" statement seriously, and apply it to Writing. But that doesn't mean Everyone can Cook/Write. It takes practice.

Honestly, just deciding to devote however long per day it took to write those First Million Words in two years was the kick-starter. And after that? I can do anything. It's not that hard to Daily Write at least 250 words when you're coming off forcing yourself to Daily Write 1500 words. (Full Disclosure: I've never had a toddler.)

As for Artists as overworked wretches: I wholeheartedly agree, but I think they should overwork themselves!

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

David,

Yeah, I'm self employed and my boss is an utter b*tch. (She talks to Dave Freer's boss!) It's all "blah, blah, blah, not good enough."

Actually, I need a new challenge. Look at post update.

Cambias said...

Was it Ray Bradbury who said all writers have a million bad words inside them, and you have to write the bad ones before the good ones start coming out?

C Kelsey said...

:Picks up guantlet:: Wow! That is a LOT heavier than I thought it would be. ::Shrugs:: I'll give it a go.

T.M. Lunsford said...

I will attempt to pick up the gauntlet. Can academic papers count in place of short stories?
I will at least finish my current novel and start another within the next six months and do my best to write a short story every 10 days (school, of course kinda has to come first).

MataPam said...

Okay. I've got all these almost done novels. One a month. Finished. Polished. Sent.

Lin W said...

OK, I'm in.

I was having a discussion similar to this with my son. Who has been called a musical genius. I played piano for him (and later, for him and his younger sister). But when he wasn't even 18 months old, he'd climb up on the piano bench and try to play to what I had played earlier. So I pulled out my old beginning piano book... and he *learned* *the* *songs.* I was floored. I looked for a piano teacher, and luckily someone directed to a woman who specialized in *very* young children. She taught Suzuki method -- which means you listen to tapes of the songs and duplicate what you've heard, the idea being it's similar to language acquisition. He thrived. He was in book two before he started Kindergarten.

Now, Book One Suzuki starts with "Twinkles" -- Basically Twinkle A is 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star' and Twinkles B through D are variations in timing and repeated notes based on it. They're boring to listen to, and boring to do -- *unless* you're barely four and enthralled that you can get this monstrous piece of furniture to do what you order it to.

Flash ahead a lot of years. The boy is now in community college and trying to learn a new skill. So I told him, "Well, everything you learn, you have to start with Twinkles and build on it." He doesn't even remember learning Twinkles. He knows them, because he's been around other kids at the studio who are just starting, but the process of internalizing and reproducing them, and acquiring great hand position so that later he could play involved pieces without getting carpal tunnel -- no memory of that.

I told him he is really, really fortunate. A lot of people who take up things like art or musical instruments as adults are so daunted by the monotony of having to learn Twinkles that they give up in dispair before they ever get to the challenging, fun stuff.

That discussion was last week. Sarah, I think you're challenging us to do 'Twinkles' :-) And, the hardest part of Twinkles, even though they *look* deceptively easy, is to get the proper tone and balance -- which is achieved through muscle memory.

You want us to train our brain muscles to do it without thinking about it. I love it! I agree!

Oh, and as Dr. Suzuki said about music: "You don't have to practice every day ... only the days you eat."

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I say to myself as I eye my sanity suspiciously. Full time job (I do work at home, but I report to an actual company) and NaNoWriMo coming up, my first attempt at a novel (young adult science fiction).

I think I can, I think I can. I WILL! This may take my mind off of the pain in my brain from NaNoWriMo. There's nothing like taking your mind off of a sprained ankle than breaking your leg.

They may be flashes during November, but flashes are better than nothing. Thanks for the throw down!

When do we start? Next week?

Linda

Annie Reed said...

Ok. I'm in. I've been futzing around for far too long not writing new stuff and trying to figure out how to get myself motivated. Challenges always work for me. They must work for you, too. Dean used to tell us stories about the Slacker Six challenge from your workshop - motivational talks about what writers can do when challenged. Except now he says he can't really call you guys slackers anymore. (No kidding!)

So... a story a week for six months? Sounds like a plan! I'll be keeping track of my progress on my own blog - www.annie-reed.com. This will be fun! (Let's see if I still think that come next March. *g*)

Annie

danielocasey said...

Alright, if I've got this right, then... the gauntlet has been thrown (ok, I ducked, them things hurt when they hit you up-side the head).
To clarify, the suggestion is a short story each week? I'll take that up to a flash each day, plus a longer piece each week for the balance of about 14,000 words each week... (cringes at own brashness, do or die might not be a good motto here)
I'll up my goals, ONE YEAR, get the dross out. One million.
A serialized novel episode each week posted (2000 words, ish), plus the balance in what else needs to be done, I've got three novels needing out to the light of day (no you can't read them, they're horrible) and I'm sure there's more.
Thank you for the motivation.
Daniel O Casey.

Dave Freer said...

Hmm. You are right, I've been letting myself not keep up the wordcount. Distractions, worry, money... (and aspect of the above) I'm too monofocus to be a good short story writer while I write a novel, But it's time I upped the wordcount. I can't match Sarah for productivity, but I have got up around the 450 000 words a year mark. So the goal now is a mere 260 000 word for half year. 10K a week.
Aim high. gravity SUCKS. And I too will post the score

Jim McCoy said...

I'm in. I may not survive the experience but you're only young once, right?

C Kelsey said...

Nah, Dave, gravity doesn't suck. It attracts. Hitting the ground is what sucks. :)

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Cambias,

I'm not sure I'd place the number that precisely. I think I've written more than a million words of pure cr*p. But yeah, you have to work out the bad before the good comes.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Chris,

Yeah -- earn your rubber ducky, child. :)

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Taylor,

You decide what counts, but academic papers, I tell you from experience, use a different area of the brain and often work AGAINST fiction fluency.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Pam

Okay.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Lin,

Genius is ninety percent perspiration... And yeah, this is your scales, though you should submit then anyway. Go cruising Ralan and don't let those stories sit unsubmitted. It doesn't have to be good, it has to be DONE. (You can't tell if it's good or not at this point, anyway.)

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Linda,

Tomorrow is a good day to start. :)

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Annie,

I'm SO glad you're picking up on this. As you know, I think you're one of the best short story writers alive, so this is a purely selfish pleasure.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Daniel,

Whoa. Walk that back. Setting unrealistic goals is a way to set up for failure. And short stories are harder than say a novel, even for same word count. When you add flash... well...

On the one hand, if you CAN do it, my hat is off to you. OTOH let's set another default goal if it turns out you're only human...

Try for the stories AND the flash, but if the flash fails, I'll still hold you to the shorts/novel. :)

And you remind me of me...

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Dave,

I'm aware I write faster than most (not all, see Dean Wesley Smith and, in a good year, Kevin J Anderson) people. But your goal sounds good, and yep, we need incentive.

Let's face it, the market is lousy just now, but inventory is value added. If nothing else it will stop us having QUITE so much time to worry.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Jim,

Only once, yeah, but you can make it last a good long time, at least in spirit. And remember, intellectual stimulus will keep you young, longer.

Kate said...

Jeez, now I'm feeling inadequate. Between full-time-job, family insanity best not discussed in public, and oh, yeah, I have narcolepsy, so I can't steal time by shorting myself on sleep... The best I can offer is to try to squeeze a bit more into the spaces between everything else.

Ya know, spending most of your life feeling like you were up way to late last night sucks, but it sucks a LOT less then spending your whole life feeling like you just came off a 48 hour stint and you're not allowed to sleep yet.

Chris McMahon said...

Good post, Sarah & interesting bathtub analogy. You put me to shame with the length of your posts:)

Good luck with the challenge!

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Kate,

The least said about my sleep-cycle right now the best.

HUGS, though. And hang in there.

Chris L said...

This challenge is crazy. I just can't write that fast. It's not the typing or lack of time, it's the ideas. They take a while to percolate.

And about the bathtub, like T.M.L I'm trying to fill two at once. I guess at some point I'll have to switch off one or the other...

Or perhaps end up like Dave, who is now running himself a romantic bath for one. :)

danielocasey said...

Sarah,

Ok, I'll play nice. my standard is about 2,000 daily each day, (it's an end of day therapy thing I think), but so far most of it is whining drivel, not creative crap. *grin*

I'll commit to the serialized novel in progress, as well as the short stories, and we'll see what I can do for the actual novels, how does that sound?

I really shouldn't read and answer things before lunch, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to try.

Cheers all, gotta go cut firewood.
Daniel Casey.

David Barron said...

Sure, I'll pick up the ole' challenge glove, reserving the right to count "Long" Flash to Novella as shorts for this purpose so as to let the story idea take its natural length.

It's fun!

Sarah A. Hoyt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah A. Hoyt said...

David B,

Yeah, I did some of those when my group ran its challenge. You do have to consider, though, "are flash pieces easier?" It all depends on your time -- for instance, loads of time to think and little time to write lends itself to flahs...

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Daniel -- best of luck to you. Go for it!

Amanda Green said...

Chris L, what's so crazy about the challenge? The need, as writers, to practice? That to practice we have to write? Or is it the fact that Sarah has committed to doing a story a week as well as her novels?

If you don't want to do a short story, do a flash piece. Or simply commit to writing a certain number of words a week.

Now, if that's too much for you, then don't do it. But the idea itself isn't crazy. I know of a number of writers who have done just this sort of thing and all of them say it has helped. Because of that, I'll accept the challenge as well. I'll do a story a week and write two novels. Oh, and I'll do that as well as my "real" job.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Chris L,

Insanity is not a handicap in a writing career. It might be a help. Eric Flint has been known to say "If you're not insane when you start writing, you'll be by the time you're a pro." (G)

That said, this challenge -- but with a one year old and a three year old and a Victorian house which I was rebuilding by steps at the beginning of it -- built the skills that have allowed me to have a career. I didn't say it was for everyone or mandatory, though.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Amanda,

Welcome to the asylum. Here is your keyboard. Good Luck!

Amanda Green said...

Sarah, I thought I'd been in the asylum and they were just moving me to the high security unit now.

;-p

Chris L said...

Amanda,

The caziness comes where, if I don't have the ideas, I'm just writing jibberish.

I don't have anything against practice, because I'm the first to admit that I need sharpen up. But unfortunately for me, I don't have a continuous stream of awesome ideas knocking at the door and because I'm slow, I need to get it right or my acceptance rate will drop away.

Good luck though. I wish I could write at that rate. Perhaps I'm just winding up to it?

Brendan said...

May as well try, the worst I can do is fail. But if I don't try I won't even do that.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Chris L,

perhaps you are. Your mileage on acceptances my vary, natch.

I never had problems with ideas. I will go to a newspaper or mag, read an article and go "what if this..." or I'll pick three words out a dictionary (Of COURSE this was responsible for the infamous Sugarbush Soul, which, now I think about it, I need to put up on my site somewhere. Yeah, it sold, but... long story.) One thing our group tried once was a beginning: "Step away from the pink feather boa..." Or "The rats were tasty, the cheese not so much" (Actually that wasn't the sentence, but it was something like that.) Then there is always pick up at random -- character, setting and problem, and GO.
Or there are books on Amazon like this: http://www.amazon.com/Writers-Idea-Book-Jack-Heffron/dp/158297179X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1287626250&sr=8-1

BUT that's always and only if you want to/think you can do it. READ Dave Freer's post. He and I are very different writers. He can't do shorts while doing novels, so he set up his own challenge. That's life. He's still one of the best writers working in the field today. That too is life.

David Barron said...

I'd say that flash is at least as difficult as writing short stories. It's a different medium, and it's hard to write satisfying flash.

It should be a delightful piece of candy, and the reader can't be walking away thinking: "Aww, I got the 'Fun Size' again. This is the worst Halloween ever!"

Synova said...

I'll do it too.

So it's one short story a week *and* one novel in 6 months, for six months?

I'm going to assume that the short stories count even if they are very short and even if they are very bad and even if they don't have plots. The idea being to keep writing one after another instead of getting stuck trying to make the first one work, right?

Simply contemplating the short stories is sort of panicky because I've got nothing short in the queue.

Thinking about the novel is almost worse because I've got too many.

So... do we have a club name for this endeavor? Something about the rubber ducky maybe?

Synova said...

If it's a bathtub challenge instead of a rubber duck challenge I'm going to have to make a new motivational poster.

Quick as I am today, I *just* figured out what the rubber duck was about.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Well, Synova, I devised a whole "plot template" thing when I was going through this. So they can be bad, but they'll have a plot. And yah, the challenge sounds about right. I'm now going to try to remember your email and send it to you.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

David B,

That's what I MEANT, sorry -- can you tell I'm trying to revise a story while doing this? -- I thought you meant that flash fic might be all you manage and I wanted you to think over whether they'd be easier. Because in my experience they MILES harder. I've only done one really successful flash and I've done tons of stories. Actually in case you can't tell from this post (written at five am) I get REALLY verbose when I'm tired.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Synova, it ate my comment. Might show up later. Meanwhile, why don't we call ourselves the order of the rubber ducky (The order of Bath is taken.)

As for your plot issues, I've sent you a template. Look for it in your inbox.

Brendan said...

Sarah,

Why not MGC - Aquatic Division?

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Brendan -- I like that.

Michele Lang said...

Wow...I saw a mention of this post over at Dean Wesley Smith's site, and I am in too. Starting Monday, October 25th.

Write on! :)

Michele

Ellyll said...

This summer I went to Ireland, came back with a week to pack up for a house move, and had surgery, then began a new job. Which is my long-winded way of saying that I, too, have been a complete slacker. I haven't written a word since July. :(

So, I will take up this much-needed gauntlet, and hopefully earn myself a rubber ducky. And since you gave me a good exercise to work on a while back, Sarah, which I STILL haven't done, I think I may try that one first. ;)

And thanks! I think this is a great idea, at least for me. I could really use more work/improvement.

Maureen Flynn said...

This is going to kill me to do but I'm in.