Citizen X Update

Okay, I admit it: I’m a slow writer.  In my defense, this has been a fairly hard week at work, so I haven’t devoted as much writing time as I would have liked to the story.  However, I did manage to finish the 1st scene and I’m about mid-way through the 2nd scene.  So, as I see it, I’m probably averaging about a scene a week.  I’m planning for approximately 5 scenes, so if I keep this pace, I’m probably going to finish a little before Easter (Spring Break for me comes the week before Easter).  

This is one thing that I really need to work on: speed.  Five weeks for a short-story that will only earn $5-$25 from most markets isn’t going to cut it if I want to become a full-time writer.  

My problem isn’t that I don’t write quickly, but that I have a certain level of “quality” that I like in my drafts.  I know when I have a successful draft, and I know when I don’t.  That’s one of the reasons Skin Deep needs another rewrite rather than being put on the market.  I knew the draft had problems and needed work, but I kept going anyway.  I had personal reasons to force the draft through and get it done, but I sacrificed my own perception of quality in order to do so.  

Citizen X, on the other hand, meets my level of quality.  It doesn’t mean that it won’t need another draft (all my stories need to go through at least 3 drafts), but the 3rd draft will be more of a “polish” (deleting, editing, clarifying), while Skin Deep needs to be rewritten (reimagined) from the ground up while keeping only the basic plot elements that I came up with in the previous draft.  

I really should be at one short-story a quarter (i.e., 1 story every 3 months), but I’m already behind on that goal–Citizen X is my 1st new story of the year and it will be late April (well into the 2nd quarter) before I finish.  I think this  is going to be my (belated) New Year’s Resolution: 4 new stories this year (1 each quarter).   I’ll use the extra time to work on my longer form works–including starting my first novel.  

Let’s see if this slow writer can stick to this goal. 

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In the Works

I am currently working on three projects–all three are short-stories.  I’m not big on “talking out” my projects–the last time I did that, the person I told the story about didn’t “get” it and I lost confidence in my story.  It took me sometime (8 years!) before I moved from rough draft on that story.  I have three other projects that have not progressed past the outline stage because I shared them with people too early.  However, I do want to talk a little about them in this post, so I’ll just give the tentative title, genre, and a brief sentence about what I expect them to be when I’m done writing them.

1) Citizen X – This one is an alternate history Sci-Fi story that has been kicking around in my head for a couple of years.  It features (currently) Langston Hughes as the main protagonist and an “action hero”–’nuff said!
Started: February 2014
Progress: Working on the 1st scene.

2) Lost in Translation – This is a Sci-Fi story based around traveling through a different dimension.  I got stuck on this one after I finished the first scene because the second scene wasn’t going the way that I envisioned it.  My subconscious has kicked in and I now have a new 2nd scene in mind.  I plan to switch and write the 2nd scene after I complete the 1st scene for Citizen X.
Started: October/November 2013
Progress: Completed 1st scene, working on 2nd scene.

3) Skin Deep – This is a Sci-Fi story based on the idea that “beauty is skin deep, but ugly is to the bone.”  This story has psionics and cybernetics mixed together.  This one is finished, but I’ve learned to recognize that it is not “ready” yet for submission.  It is in a state that I’ve come to regard as “indeterminate.”  It isn’t still a rough draft, but it isn’t yet the story that I envision in my mind.  When this happens, I need to do another draft of the story.  I need to keep the story, plot, and character elements, but add in details, be they sensory details, physical details, emotions, etc. in order to strengthen the narrative.  If I don’t do this, the story will just collect rejection after rejection until I do, so I can either send it out early, knowing it needs more work, or I can just hold on to it until I have enough time to make it as good as I see it in my head.  I used to just send it out, but I’ve learned better in the past years.  There’s really nothing to be gained by sending a story out until you’re happy with it (or mostly happy with it for you perfectionists out there!) 🙂
Finished: June/July 2013 (Working Draft), Need a new draft, however.
Progress: Rewriting the 1st scene.

These are the major projects that I’m working on right now–I’ll post updates on these projects as they become available (when I finish a scene or better yet, when I finish them altogether!) 🙂