Dialog or Get the Chatter Down

I’ve been thinking about my process for building scenes and crafting prose. Slowly, I’m admitting to myself I go for dialog above description. If a building needs to appear in the story, my first instinct is to have the characters talk about the building. (“Huh. Your apartment looks like the one from Ghostbusters.” “What, the place with Signourney Weaver?” “Yeah.” “Oh, I should be so lucky.”

This is the danger of learning to write screenplays and investing time in creating them. I learn to think in terms of scenes, “actors” and dialog, with the rest as set dressing.

I’m working on a story for an anthology and I realized how much I was relying on dialog in the beginning. So, I decided on a small experiment. Instead of fighting my training, creating full descriptions in the first pass and aiming for lush prose, I’m doing the dialog first.

Very simple, very quick, and a few stage directions along the way so I know what’s happening.

Then, I go back in and fill in the rest. It’s less like sculpting from stone and more like building stop-motion puppet. You start with the armature first. Then, layer on the muscles, and the skin, and the features, until you get a full figure you can start to painstakingly photograph.

I’m hoping this will help me get working faster. If my first instinct is to hear the character’s talking, then I need to have them talk. I’ll then get in the descriptions in.

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August and Ever After

August was a long, and yet short, month. Personal items kept me from updating this blog and reviewing some of the thoughts I dredged up at the end of July.  It was one of those months when I said, “Aside from a compulsion, why am I doing this? Why am I trying?”

The answer is this: I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t write, and I didn’t try to get something published.  So, I’m not going to stop.  Now, I know what you’re thinking:

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And you might be right. But I think, despite it all, I’ve gotten a bit accomplished:

  • I have a signed contract for publication in an on-line magazine (No date yet, but it is a paying gig)
  • I actually made it to the second round of review for a very high profile magazine with one of my short stories
  • I’ve completed Michael Stackpole’s 21 Days to a Novel course and generated a rough outline for Metaphysical Graffiti
  • I edited and posted a third of Ivre – and I’ve got at least one person who wants to read it.
  • I’ve been regularly writing and submitting flash fiction and short stories.

But I still have goals for this year:

  • I’m going to complete editing and writing Ivre, or whatever it ends up being called.
  • I’m going to have the outline for Metaphysical Graffiti in final form for November
  • I’m going to actually try to write like a madman in November
  • I’m going to write, revise and submit a story to the open call for Alien Artifacts & Were – two Kickstarter Anthologies – a great project to fund as well
  • I’m going to keep submitting stories until I run out of markets.

Now, to just deal with my crippling social anxiety that turns every attempt at networking into a massive impostor syndrome assault. Or, put it simply:

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