One hour tonight of dedicated re-outlining on the Tunguska project. My notes had a bunch of loose ends that I surprised myself by tying up. It gives some new dimensions to the story and keeps with the spirit that I intended all along. This will be a fun one to re-write.

An hour tonight on the Tunguska story’s revisions and re-outlining. More work to do there. I got to the end of “what’s written”, so that’s good enough for one night. But I find myself wondering: What do these characters want? I know—but it’s not in the text. Time to meditate a little on that, and then finish the outline. And then re-outline again from that.

1 hour. The re-tread of that Tunguska story continues. Good progress; about 2/3 of the existing story re-outlined. Another night or two should finish that, but then there’s the fact that it needs to have its ending rounded out.

Meanwhile, I’m going to want to work on that new idea.

1 hour. Meditating, note-taking, and outlining for a new novel. I have a beginning and an end. I can make them meet in the middle later.

Also: actually written/outlined/etc. about 5 hours this week. Haven’t been diligent about posting the updates here. But there it is.

ALSO: Even though I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year, why is it that the creative part of my brain has activated itself in an overdrive fashion again? Is it just that I’ve done it four of the last five years and I’ve somehow conditioned myself to look at November as an all-writing-all-the-time month? or what? It’s almost ridiculous.

1.5 hours tonight. Outlining, mostly. Revising. Always big projects.

Tonight: 1 hour of revising and outlining. Got to “the end” (“as written”) of that other project I’ve been poking at. Started detailing what its revisions will look like. Good enough for one night. (For that project, at least.)

How should one train students to give good, vivid examples in their writing? Should you tell them, Be more specific? I used to do that but I don’t any more, because it’s too vague, not operational. Today I give students a shortcut. I say, “Write physically. Write with physical objects. Put physical objects in your essay.”

John Maguire, writing for The AtlanticThe Secret to Good Writing: It’s About Objects, Not Ideas

He’s writing more about expository essays (the kind you write for college classes) but I think the advice works equally well for fiction.

And it’s timely. I had a conversation with one of my beta readers today, and he told me that he wound up feeling a strong connection to a character that I kill off in the very first chapter. When I asked him why, he thought about it for a second and said (paraphrased): “It was the fingerless gloves. Just the one little detail gave him this whole life that you didn’t even need to include.”

One hour tonight. Prepping the manuscript for submission. And then submitting it.

Submitting it to Harper Voyager, who is accepting unsolicited manuscripts throughout the first two weeks of October. (Here.)

Ready or not, here it comes…

(Reblogged from nevver)

One hour tonight. Good enough.

#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.

Pixar story rules (one version)

The whole list is fantastic.