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Archive for November, 2010

Swimming in Critiques

An embarassment of riches.

I’m almost finished with the “first” set of revisions to what will be my first Writers of the Future entry, working through five critiques from a specialized critique group.  As soon as I finish that, I’m going to start workng through the four full novel critiques on MAGE STORM.

Meanwhile, I’ve got two full novels to critique for the group that critiqued MAGE STORM (which, so far, is a real pleasure).  I’ve got the first of what should be six stories for the WotF critique group (five second drafts and one late first draft).  And I’ve got to critique another Synopsis Challenge that I started.  One or two others might pop up, but hopefully not until a little later in the month.

Whew! Looks like November is critique month, coming and going. But I learn so much from critiques, both those I receive and those I do.

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I’ve posted before about how inspiration can come from literally anything.  The other thing about inspiration, especially that first spark of an idea that you build on to make a story, is that it can’t be forced.  At least, I can’t force it.

There are things you can work on, of course.  I have a set of questions that I ask myself about a culture or a place when I’m doing world building.  The thing there is that they all have to integrate, to feel like a cohesive and rational whole.

But the idea itself, that comes from deeper in my brain, from my subconscious.  And it has to bubble up from the depths in its own good time.

This happened recently with SEVEN STARS.  I have the world building pretty well done.  I wrote the first chapter, plus a little.  And then I stopped.  The main character felt too confident, competent, and especially too old for what I wanted this story to be.  He sounded like an old campaigner when he’s supposed to be a kid forced into the role of leader in a stressful situation he’s not really quite ready for.  I wasn’t sure what to do with it.  So, I put it aside for a while, worked on revisions on other projects, and let my subconscious work behind the scenes. 

It paid off a couple of days ago.  I know exactly how to change that first chapter or so to fix my main character and the story.

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