Spring ILC, Week 3: Do the actual work

I did it again—I came to the end of another week without doing any actual revision. So I sat down on Sunday night and pushed out 3 1/2 new pages. (Afterwords my brain was done, so that’s why this reflection is a day late.)

The thing is, I could do planning work all day long—worldbuilding, character-building, landscape maps, character-relationship webs, plot outlines, how they all connect to theme, word-collecting, and on and on. But at the end of the day, if I haven’t incorporated any of that into the actual story, I’m not doing the real, hard work. Planning is fun because it feels creative and free and, more importantly, consequence-free. If no one but me ever needs to see what goes on behind the scenes, there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Putting new words on paper that I know I will one day show to someone is always scary. It’s always hard. And, according to more famous authors than I can name, it always will be scary and hard.

But it’s always worth it.

On Monday I finally met up with a couple of people in my local community to write and share and give feedback, and we’re making it a regular thing (I’m there right now, actually). That evening I met one-on-one with my teacher/contract sponsor for the first time, and we dove into the story, starting reading aloud from the beginning and making notes as we went along. Reading aloud changes everything, and you catch so much more by hearing the sounds of your words and feeling them in your mouth. It doesn’t usually let you know exactly what’s wrong or how to fix it, but it’s a great way to find awkward spots.

This week when I met with Cecilanne, I’d read the first thirty pages of a project she’s been working on for years, so we were able to give each other feedback. Our stories are so different from each other, but the same basic principles of storybuilding always apply—What do the choices you make as a writer convey to your reader?

I also finished Second Sight by Cheryl B. Klein (great book, highly recommend) and started Writing Irresistible Kidlit by Mary Kole. So far, it’s overall feel is more…cynical? It spells out the reality of how lucrative the market has become, and because of that, agents and editors and publishers are looking for what sells, and (we are left to infer) not necessarily what’s good and true and beautiful and important. I find it telling that the adjective they chose for the title is ‘irresistible.’ But I think it’s still an important read.

Last week I wrote about the dearth of academic articles on the subject I’m interested in for my paper. But, the Internet provides! (Also my friend Z, who pointed me in the direction of some awesome articles.) Favorite article of the week:
“We Have Always Fought: Challenging the ‘Women, Cattle and Slaves’ Narrative” by Kameron Hurley

This week’s priorities:
-updating my resume and writing an awesome cover letter for getting a promotion at work
-reading the next chunk of Cecilanne’s story
-rough outline for my paper
-class homework
-getting out in the sunshine

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