Posted in For Writers

Scene Rewriting: that Duh-O moment

Wednesday I rewrote a scene and realized that I’d made it both better and worse than it was before. Yesterday morning (having slept on it), I awoke with an epiphany about why. The scene is better because there was stuff that I hadn’t thought of before that needed to be mentioned, dealt with, accounted for, etc. The actual science they would be doing needed to be handled better and things I should have thought of before now needed to be incorporated into their agenda. Two things in the previous sentence should tell you everything about what’s wrong with the scene, why it was worse after the rewrite: “would be doing” and “agenda”. I wondered why the scene was so awful and dead when I’d added more science! Science is good, right? Well, yeah, if they are actually doing science. Adding things (good things, necessary things they must do, how they will do the science) made the scene apparent for what it really had been all along: a data dump. There are some small character development bits, but not nearly enough to justify the scene, and the information doesn’t justify the scene either. This book and these characters do not need this scene: I needed the scene because it laid out for me what they needed to do and how they needed to do it. This scene is very early in the book. Those paragraphs belong in notes or outline, not in the book. The important things can be dispersed into scenes in which they are actually doing the science and interacting with each other. Which beats the hell out of a scene with everyone standing around while the author dumps 2757 words on the reader. I had, in an earlier draft, flagged the end of the previous scene as a possible chapter break. It works perfectly. I cut the scene, saving it in a separate file. The science and character-oriented stuff will be incorporated into other scenes; the “trying desperately to inject life into a moribund scene” parts will die a well-deserved death. The result of cutting this big chunk of text will be more rewriting on later scenes, but it will make the book significantly and conspicuously better. So today there’s a kind of “this is great” rush going through me; I feel much better about the book.

PS: my author site is down right now. Techies have been alerted and the problem is being worked. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Posted in Uncategorized

International Calm Day

Today is International Calm Day, so the Calm app which I’ve been using free for the past month, has unlocked ALL it’s staggering amount of content for meditation for today only. I’ve been pretty pleased with the regular unlocked free content (breathing bubble, unguided meditation, and the wide assortment of beautiful scenes and sounds to meditate to.) I got up early this morning so I’d have plenty of time to try out the premium material. I did the Daily Calm, then the first few days of the 7 Days of Calm, then I listened to some other types of “7 Days of Calm”, specifically for Stress and Anxiety, as well as “Emergency Calm”, the first of the Winnie the Pooh Daily Calm series, Walking Meditation (which I tried out in the backyard because I generaly don’t like walking around with earbuds), and a lovely selection of John Muir’s writings about Yosemite which was one of their “Sleep Stories”. My family is going through a very stressful time right now, so I was not only evaluating how useful the paid features would be to me, but also trying to evaluate how useful they would be to someone who hasn’t practiced meditation before. It seems to me that the paid features would be very good for people who are new to meditation. The approach is secular and the technique is good and well-grounded. There are a lot of options besides the ones I “test-drove” this morning: guided meditations focusing on things like Happiness, Self-Esteem, Sleep, Lovingkindness, Forgiveness, and Commuting (one of the other meditations I listened to also touched on handling the frustrations and tensions of traffic). There’s even meditation for Kids, and Sleep Stories for Kids. Like I said, lots of options. Additionally they have a new “Daily Calm” guided meditation every day for subscribers. I’ve been very pleased with the free options and I think that the stunning amount of material available to subscribers (which is very well-done) would surely be more than worth it for some people. Check out all the goodies free today, April 5th!

Free Anthology of Campbell Award Eligible Fiction

Quanta has taken over e-publication of the annual anthology of Campbell award eligible fiction. This free ebook anthology is only available for a limited time every year. Here’s the link. Unfortunately, this year the new publisher requires your name, email address, and agreement to receive whatever email they choose to send in order for you to download the book. I hate all the hoops they make you jump through. They mail the link for download after you sign up rather than providing a direct download. You have to agree to get email you may not want in order to get the book (no opt out option). Presumably you can always unsub if they send you junk. (I really hope so!) On the other hand…Campbell ebook with lots of free SF/F fiction! Multiple format options for download. I chose “other” and it downloaded an epub to my tablet, which when I tapped it immediately uploaded to my Play library, so that worked out well. The anthology is over 1000 pages and the table of contents alone takes up 5 pages: it’s a big book!

Right now — throughout the day — tor.com, is releasing science fiction and fantasy fiction on the theme “Nevertheless She Persisted“. Lots of stories have already dropped, with more to come! If you want more fiction by women throughout the month of March, EscapePod and Podcastle, science fiction and fantasy podcasts respectively, are celebrating women authors with their Artemis Rising series; look for new stories weekly (the first ones are already out)!

Fiction for International Women’s Day