Skip to content

Last Week, Next Week and Next Year.

January 24, 2012

The goal is to make it one year, posting every Monday night (read: before you get out of bed Tuesday morning). Most weeks there will be a double post, with the first section being a more traditional web post, and the second being a piece of fiction or a more formal essay. Some weeks, like this one, there will only be one post, cleverly split in two so I don’t have to reformat the front page. You’ll never notice.

Edit: This has changed in appearance, but not function.  Instead of two distinct posts, the two pieces are now merged into a single post, with pagination breaking them up.  This was necessary to keep the two linked up and readable after archiving.

The reference stuff I brought up last week is in progress. I decided to put it off a week rather than go live when it wasn’t done. Be sure to check in next Tuesday, and we’ll all find out if it actually works.

Edit: It doesn’t.

A few weeks after that I’ll be posting a short comic. I need to make it for other obligations anyways, so why not? I guess it could be shit, that’s a reason why not.

For the moment, I’m assuming that anyone here has read everything to date. There isn’t much, the first post only went up three weeks ago. If nothing else, check out Trismus before you continue reading.

Of all the things I’ve written, Trismus certainly isn’t my favorite. But, it is my favorite story to make other people read. In the first workshop I brought it to, the response was all over. Generally speaking about half thought it was good, and half thought it was bad. This is normal. It’s the reaction I get for every story, and I suspect every author, no matter how good, bad, innocuous or inflammatory their writing, gets about the same breakdown. Beyond this split, if you manage to get a story into the hands of 100 people you will find exactly one person who takes their response to the extreme. These people tend to be, for lack of a better word, creepy. They go right past liking or disliking your story, and take to liking or disliking you personally. When one of these people likes your story they suddenly want to be your best friend. It’s awkward, but maintaining a courteous distance usually helps. The only troubling part is sitting through an entire workshop, even though they wont stop looking at you.

Of course, the opposite extreme is that person who hates your story, hates you, and also won’t stop looking at you. I received this response from a reader on an early version of Trismus.

I’m reluctant to go into this, because workshops operate on a degree of respect and privacy. When someone brings a piece to a workshop, it’s on the understanding that the story stays in that room. I don’t know if this applies to the comments offered in return, but I generally assume it does.

In this case, it seems acceptable to paraphrase the response. I couldn’t attach the comments to an actual person, even if wanted to. I forgot their face a long time ago, and I probably never knew their name. All that’s left is an old draft with a generous coat of red ink. Most the corrections are grammatical, although they didn’t mark any actual grammatical errors. Instead they suggested every period be replaced by a comma, or perhaps a semi-colon. As a general rule, semi-colons are to be avoided. I use them sometimes, but it’s usually to make people “trip” as they read. We’re not accustomed to seeing them in fiction, so they have a way of interrupting the flow. I use them when I want the reader to feel there has been a longer than normal pause between two sentences; it’s about timing.

Grammar tantrum aside, they wrote a remarkably long critique for the story. A critique that’s approaching the length of the original is another sign that you’ve found one of those one in a hundred people. I won’t share their whole response here, that still feels like too much disclosure. But, I will include too-good-to-be-true final line of their essay: “You don’t feel bad for the mom at all at the end. I don’t get the point of this at all.”

Yes. I am aware of these things.

I’m always reluctant to discuss my own work. I want to let your response be your response. If I don’t like it, I need to fix the story, not you. Still, I’m breaking my own loose rules for a reason. After I posted Trismus last week, I got a lot of responses, most of which were very positive. Thanks for that. Also, stop it. The head count was too high, and I know at least one of you didn’t like the story. You can tell me, I won’t be hurt. Promise. Whether I’m posting a story, an academic piece, or something else entirely, your dislike and disagreement are welcome. Also, don’t be afraid to respond in public, the comments are open for a reason. Just be polite about it, and if you find yourself writing a response longer than the original piece, delete it and go for a walk or something.
Of course, the opposite extreme is that person who hates your story, hates you, and also won’t stop looking at you. I received this response from a reader on an early version of Trismus.

I’m reluctant to go into this, because workshops operate on a degree of respect and privacy. When someone brings a piece to a workshop, it’s on the understanding that the story stays in that room. I don’t know if this applies to the comments offered in return, but I generally assume it does.

In this case, it seems acceptable to paraphrase the response. I couldn’t attach the comments to an actual person, even if wanted to. I forgot their face a long time ago, and I probably never knew their name. All that’s left is an old draft with a generous coat of red ink. Most the corrections are grammatical, although they didn’t mark any actual grammatical errors. Instead they suggested every period be replaced by a comma, or perhaps a semi-colon. As a general rule, semi-colons are to be avoided. I use them sometimes, but it’s usually to make people “trip” as they read. We’re not accustomed to seeing them in fiction, so they have a way of interrupting the flow. I use them when I want the reader to feel there has been a longer than normal pause between two sentences; it’s about timing.

Grammar tantrum aside, they wrote a remarkably long critique for the story. A critique that’s approaching the length of the original is another sign that you’ve found one of those one in a hundred people. I won’t share their whole response here, that still feels like too much disclosure. But, I will include too-good-to-be-true final line of their essay: “You don’t feel bad for the mom at all at the end. I don’t get the point of this at all.”

Yes. I am aware of these things.

I’m always reluctant to discuss my own work. I want to let your response be your response. If I don’t like it, I need to fix the story, not you. Still, I’m breaking my own loose rules for a reason. After I posted Trismus last week, I got a lot of responses, most of which were very positive. Thanks for that. Also, stop it. The head count was too high, and I know at least one of you didn’t like the story. You can tell me, I won’t be hurt. Promise. Whether I’m posting a story, an academic piece, or something else entirely, your dislike and disagreement are welcome. Also, don’t be afraid to respond in public, the comments are open for a reason. Just be polite about it, and if you find yourself writing a response longer than the original piece, delete it and go for a walk or something.

Advertisements
3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 4, 2012 11:57 am

    As your mother, I am not sure what protocol is for posting on adult-children’s blogs. We didn’t have them on the farm. But I will say that I really track with your character dialogue. You tell a great deal of the story when the characters are interacting. I think that might work well with contemporary readers. Contemporary readers have experienced more fiction visually than readers of previous generations, and have a certain kind of imagination that is conducive to your approach.

    • February 5, 2012 5:21 am

      Go right ahead and post, although I may prefer you don’t identify yourself as my mother every time.

      • February 14, 2012 12:14 am

        Lori, I, for one vote that you should always start your posts with “As your mother, …”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: