Thursday, December 10, 2015

My writing efforts in November

The graph to the left shows a drop in my word output in November, which suggests I spent a lot less time writing. That is not the case. My word output dropped because I was proofreading/editing and redrafting. I continued redrafting a novel and I also spent a week trying to finalise a long short story that was due for submission at the end of November.

I ended up writing about 5820 new words of fiction for the month.


I received three critiques of my story during the month. One was a very useful full edit, another was just a comment agreeing with the suggested edits of a previous critique, and the other… Well, first some background.

I did a copy edit/critique of one of the other stories written for our Christmas anthology. It was a non-fiction story about a Christmas spent in an Aboriginal community. I really enjoyed the story, I found it informative and was interested to read about life in an Aboriginal community written by someone who had lived in one. I made a fair few edits to the story, many for what I thought were repeated grammar errors.

The writer was not happy with my critique or the other one he had received. He said that as his writing was not good enough, he would withdraw his story from the anthology, and quit our writing group. I wrote back to him that it was a shame he was withdrawing his story and I thought it would be a worthy addition to the anthology.

He also said this about my story:

“I printed it out and commenced reading but was unable to finish it...........without saying anything I gave it to my wife to read. She couldn't finish reading it, either and her 'critique, was summed up in two words, .... "It's weird."”

As you can see from his comment, one of his various writing problems is the overuse of ellipses.

But I did not take his comments to heart as they appeared to be written out of spite. I also don’t think my story is that great, and I am still making changes to it.

At the end of November I asked Chris, whose book I helped edit, to have a look at my story. And he agreed. But I then realised that I should hurry up and finish it (is a story ever finished?) because it was due for submission at the end of November. Chris did have a look at the first 2,000 words or so though.

In contrast to the upset I caused the writer of the Christmas story, another writer was very happy with my critique of his 66,000 word novel. It took me just on three months to critique and it was the first volume of a very interesting science fiction trilogy. I offered to critique the sequel. I also critiqued another story for the anthology, and again the writer seemed appreciative of my comments.


Again, I did very little reading for the month.

A New Article on Divine

An article I wrote on an audio description trial on the ABC’s iview service went up on Divine a few days ago. Please have a look, because in years to come, when your eyesight is failing, you might need audio description when watching television.


Anthony J. Langford said...

Youre getting a lot of work done and being productive so dont be too hard on yourself re the word count. Art is very subjective. I once paid someone to give an appraisal of my novel, the second one I wrote, and it was clear to me, apart from some grammar issues which I agreed with, I believed they misunderstood parts of it. I just didn't agree with what they said. It was a YA book though so a middle aged persons opinion was not the best one. Actually I just had an 8 yo read my first novel and he loved it. Pity we cant get the target audience to give the ok.
Long story short, trust your own judgment.

Graham Clements said...

Anthony, getting the right target audience to critique my writing is part of the problem. I had no problems asking Chris and two of the people at the Writers Forum to critique the story because they write fantasy, which is what my story is. But with my science fiction stories it has always been hard to find Australian science fiction writers to critique my writing. In the various writing courses I have done, an ignorance that leads to a snobbery against science fiction prevailed with most of the other writers avoiding critiquing it. (While I had to put up with critiquing endless biographical stories where nothing happened.)I am still looking for an online Victorian science fiction critiquing group. I have used, but I would prefer something less anonymous. But unless I decide to go back to redraft a novella, I won't have anything for people to critique for a few months as I am only about 20,000 words into redrafting a novel at the moment.