Yesterday was awesome. James Patrick Kelly is a very good speculative fiction writing teacher.
I drove up to Hugo House in Seattle with Tina for an all day writing workshop.
And it wasn’t AT ALL the case of “things I already knew because I internet surf and read writer’s blogs.” It was mostly “things I’ve been told and kind of knew, but was too lazy to implement and actually do.”
In other words, the dreaded revision. Only it wasn’t so painful in the way he presented it. I mean, I’ve had Misha telling me for YEARS my laziness in revision is holding me back. And I KNEW that already. It’s just….it’s just….the idea of starting from scratch horrified me.
No way, Jose.
But the things presented in the workshop yesterday were all about focused, bite sized rewriting and revision. And so I was all like: “Dude, I can totally do this. This isn’t Mount Everest after all.”
So Mischa, you’re right. You just had to be right in bite sized pieces for me to benefit from your advice.
What really worked for me was a combination of exercises where he told us to:
1. write an “elevator pitch” for the story. Or in other words, in two sentences sum up what the story is about.
2. Then, write down the weaknesses and strengths of the story.
Doing #2, it was immediatly obvious to me that one of the weaknesses of the story was that I didn’t really get across what I thought the story was about a la the elevator pitch.
3. Free writing with NO STOPPING for a set period of time about the character.
Doing #3, I got a lot of stuff I could use to fix the problems I found in #2.
So in other words, it was all good.