The discussion this month was Spec Fic Chic’s upcoming anthology. Things are happening. We now have a name, a design for the cover and a growing list of stories to showcase our members’ work, including science fiction, fantasy, steampunk and suspense.
This month’s critique featured a delightful time-slipping fantasy short story, for possible inclusion in our upcoming anthology. Discussions centred on description, symbolism and word choices.
August meet-up was not at the library, due to my convalescence and no-drive status for a few more weeks. We should be returning to the library by the end of September.
Several items came up for this meeting – diversity of the nature only a writer would understand:
- Fragments of story and how they fit together to make an outline; preparing the conflict and how it flows; why characters do what they do; and why they want the things that encapsulate the story conflict.
- A short story that had already gone into publication prior to the meeting (NDE No. 2).
- Ongoing story of steam-punk characters, gadgets, and nefarious plots.
- Author bio – need to get back to that one, but it is a necessary item in the bag-of-tricks, just like the press package, or marketing package, in case things like:
Photographer arrived exactly on time, prodded everyone into various locations and situations, snapped and snapped and snapped until he was happy with his loot (got snapped in the process – and liked it!).
Leader Messenger News – story on SpecFicChic – should be out in the next couple of weeks.
The critique issues:
POV character responding to the things around them: the concept of cause and effect. If the POV character doesn’t respond overtly, the reader expects something internal. POV is powerful, and internalisation (in the right place and time) can be the tool of power to show distinctiveness, distress, duress – or on the opposite spectrum, it can demonstrate arrogance, ignorance, distance from the issues. Sometimes we think the writer has last say, but it is the character – who else would behave this way in this situation but the person in it? That’s the point we need to reach – let the character show us exactly how the moment works through their senses, through their thoughts and actions and most important of all – through their words.
And next year, we’ll be putting dialogue back on the toolbox list – it is a necessary item to not only learn, but to keep learning, to keep in mind for each and every thing we write where we expect people to speak (dialogue and internal thoughts, as well as internalisation – which isn’t thoughts, it’s the POV character) – anyway, it’s a tough assignment, and it will be back.
A special thing this month – five Friday’s – a blue moon month.
To celebrate, we will be having a second critique Friday on 29 April.
Success! We all managed to be in the same place at the same time.
This week we concentrated on a short story and an early draft of a historical novel – both from the same group member. The short story was a science fiction tale involving time travel and archaeology. We delved into show don’t tell, carbon versus silica based technologies and the ideal word count range for published short stories for possible inclusion in our future anthology.
It is intriguing to watch each story evolve through various drafts and edits. We are all looking forward to reading the final draft!
We also had a show and tell, from another group member – the steampunk/gaslamp fantasy novella paperback, Doctor Jack and Other Tales, now available to purchase online.
Finally we discussed our anthology project. We have decided quality is better than fast tracking. Our current plan is to work on several short stories over the next twelve months and aim for possible publication in late 2016.