Are Your Stories Antifragile?

That’s no typo in this post’s title. Antifragility is a thing, and today I’m discussing the concept as it applies to fictional stories.

In his book Antifragile, Things That Gain From Disorder, Nassim Nicholas Taleb asks if there is an antonym of the word “fragile.” If there were such an adjective, he’d say it describes things that become stronger when stressed.

He doesn’t mean words like ‘robust,’ ‘tough,’ or ‘resilient.’ Those words describe things that sustain shocks without damage. He wants to describe things that improve their resistance to stress by being stressed. Lacking a ready word, he coined the term ‘antifragile.’

Can a story be antifragile? To answer that, we should consider the things that impose stresses on stories. These include criticism in negative reviews and mocking satire.

What would it mean for a story to become stronger? If it meant that the story became more widely read, more popular, with increased sales, then an antifragile story would be one that suffers negative reviews or even satire and yet its sales increase.

Are there any such stories? If I recall correctly, Nassim Taleb offered the more popular plays of William Shakespeare as examples. For four centuries, those plays have endured bad reviews and been mocked, but they are performed far more often and in more languages and formats than they were in Shakespeare’s time.

From an author’s point of view, antifragility seems like a wonderful property for a story to have, especially the increasing sales part, right? If you wanted to write an antifragile story, and perhaps lacked the skill of Shakespeare, how would you go about it? Are there tangible attributes of such stories? Is there a checklist to follow?

I hate to disappoint you, but there’s no checklist. Further, the only authors who really understand what it takes to make a story antifragile…well, they’re dead. That’s because stories don’t really demonstrate that property to the greatest extent while the author is alive.

Still, being me, I’ll take a crack at it, because I like a challenge. Here is my proposed checklist for making your stories antifragile:

  1. Create complex and compelling characters. They need to seem real, with strong emotions and motivations, with goals to attain, with difficult inner problems to surmount, and with bedeviling decisions to make.
  2. Appeal to every reader. That may be impossible to achieve in a single story, but in your body of work you should include characters of many types, in diverse settings. Include rich and poor, young and old, introvert and extrovert, city and country, etc.
  3. Explore the eternal truths about the human condition. You know many of these eternal truths—we’re born, we grow up, we have parents, we learn to relate to others and even fall in love, we have disagreements and conflicts with others, we become curious about the nature of our world, we deteriorate with age, and we die. When I say to ‘explore’ these truths, I don’t mean to write a philosophy book. Write a fictional story that entertains, but causes readers to ponder those deeper truths after reading it.
  4. Execute your story with style, flair, and creativity. Yeah, right. Simply do that. This one is hard to implement, but I’ll suggest some thoughts. Look for ways to turn a phrase well. Create a new word that English lacks but needs. Write in a manner that stands out, such that readers could identify your unique voice from a couple of paragraphs chosen randomly from your stories.

Okay, it’s not really a checklist where you mark off each item in turn: done, done, done. It’s more of a guideline with concepts to aim for. Who knows if it’s even accurate? After all, I’m not dead yet (as I write this), so I can’t possibly know.

Still, it’s intriguing to think that one day, readers may consider your stories to be antifragile, and when scholars trace it back, they’ll discover you learned how to do it from—

Poseidon’s Scribe

5 Rules for Writing Humor Right

You may think it’s difficult to write funny stories, but the truth is it’s excruciatingly agonizing. Also, if you endure all that pain and get the humor wrong, readers will laugh at you (and your mismatched clothes and uncombed hair) rather than at your story.

Since humorous writing is so tough to get right, why don’t we forget the whole thing? For one, if we can manage to tell a funny story, readers like it. An amusing tale lifts them from the gloomy tedium of their dreary lives, the poor things. Think of it as a public service, kind of a ‘clown-author saves the world’ idea.

I know, I know. I hear you saying, “But, Steve, I write serious fiction. I don’t need to know how to write humor.” Okay, surf elsewhere if you want. But you really should spice up your “serious fiction” with occasional bursts of frivolity, if only to break up the interminable stretches of seriousity.

For those still reading this, I’m about to reveal my five simple rules for writing humor. Well, they’re not that simple, and aren’t actually rules, but at least they do total up to five. To develop them, I scoured the Internet (and it needed a good scouring). Then I spent literally lots of minutes searching for good advice on writing humor. I found that good advice from Brian A. Klems, Joe Bunting, Annie Binns, and Joe Bunting again. While blindfolded, I then chose only the choicest rules, right up until I got tired. After five. Here they are:

1. Maintain the elephant of surprise. Take common sayings or clichés and tie them in knots. Go in directions the reader doesn’t expect.

B. Dare to ask why pants come in pairs. Start with the ordinary, the mundane, the familiar, and the everyday, then find some weird aspect about it all. Look at it from a bizarre angle. Drive your reader to that vantage and invite her to look, too. (Note, “Hey, Babe, let me drive you to my bizarre-angled vantage to look at my weird aspect” is not a recommended pick-up line. Ever. It’s a metaphor.)

III. It’s still legal to discriminate against words. Choose words carefully. Unearth a thesaurus and examine its guts. Select specific words, not general ones. Seek words that sound humorous when juxtaposed. (I think the word ‘juxtaposed’ is kinda funny all by itself.)

Four. It’s a story, not a routine. When a comedian performs a stand-up routine, he feels free to change topics several times. You can’t do that. Your story must hang together as an integral whole, not consist of disconnected jokes. I blogged once about how some movies do that well and some do it poorly.

7. No, sorry—5. Wait for it… Structure your sentences so the last words have the most impact. Ideally, the joke is in the very last word. Develop a comedic sense of timing so that you’re not rushing to get to that ending punch. Let your sentences roll along, lulling the reader, and then swing your sledgehammer. (Metaphor again.)

If you study those five rules carefully, I can guarantee that…well, that you’ve studied them carefully. You’re going to need a lot of practice to actually write funny stories, and so will—

Poseidon’s Scribe

13 Rules for Writing Fight Scenes

Conflict is central to fiction. Not all conflict is violent, of course, but at some point, one of your stories might require a fight scene. Therefore, even if it’s distasteful to you, it’s best if you learn how to write such scenes.

Fight ScenesViolent interactions can take many forms beyond individual combat. These include war, rape, terror, shooting sprees, etc. This post focuses on fights between two characters, but many of my suggestions apply to other situations.

People use a variety of weapons when fighting, including bare hands and feet, clubs, knives, swords, guns, any object available in the environment, and a wide array of science fiction or fantasy weapons. Again, most of the guidelines for fight scenes are general, and applicable to any weapon type.

For the following list of fight scene rules, I drew from, and combined, ideas from the following people’s blogs: Joanna Penn, Angela BourassaAmber Argyle, and the contributors to Wikihow. They’re all great sources of information, and I recommend you read each one. Now, here’s my list:

  1. If possible, observe a real fight. Note offensive and defensive movements, tempo, exploitation of speed vs. strength, etc.
  2. Study fictional fight scenes written by great writers. Pay attention to details selected, sentence structure, word choices, and techniques used to heighten tension.
  3. Ensure your scene is relevant to, and advances, your plot.
  4. Consider using the fight to reveal or further develop the characters’ personalities, and maybe the story’s theme. SwordintheStonePosterMy favorite example of this is the “wizard’s duel” in the Disney movie The Sword in the Stone. During their fight, Merlin and Madam Mim are each turning themselves into various animals. Madam Mim’s animals emphasize power and strength; Merlin’s emphasize cunning and intelligence. The superiority of brain over brawn is the lesson Merlin has been trying to teach young Arthur, and is the major theme of the movie.
  5. Ensure you’ve established that both characters have appropriate motivation. Why is each one fighting? What does he or she hope to gain by winning? That helps the reader care about the outcome.
  6. Break up the lunges, punches, slices, gunshots, etc.—the mechanics and logistics of the fight—with short dialogue or description to keep from boring the reader. When using dialogue, skip the ‘said.’
  7. Don’t overdo the description of the fight itself; trust the reader’s imagination to fill in such details.
  8. Use short sentences, with few adjectives or adverbs.
  9. Weave in all five senses in the fight, to put the reader there.
  10. Show the Point of View character’s thoughts and emotions as the fight goes on. This is as important as the description of the fight itself.
  11. Ensure your word choices and detail selections are appropriate to the genre and your intended audience. A fight in a military thriller must be accurate, believable, and authentic. A fight in a romantic adventure should focus on the POV character’s feelings.
  12. Don’t forget about the aftermath of the fight, how much the POV character hurts, his or her feelings about the opponent, thoughts about whether the fight was worth it, etc.
  13. In subsequent drafts, cut to the minimum.

It’s my hope these rules will help you write effective and compelling fight scenes in your stories.

Not to brag, but your characters couldn’t last one round with characters written by—

Poseidon’s Scribe

February 14, 2016Permalink

Inside Each Other’s Heads

For a male writer (like me), it’s difficult to write a story in a female character’s point of view. I’ve read that it’s also difficult for female writers to get into a male character’s head and write realistic stories. Still, we’ve all read books by authors who did this very well. If others have done it; you can too.

writing opposite gender povAdvance warning: this post is full of opinions that may sound stereotypical and sexist. As a caveat, let me say the characteristics I’ll ascribe to women and men are generalizations. Not all men, nor all women, are as described below. There is plenty of overlap in thoughts and behaviors between genders.

Your goal, as a writer, is to produce an entertaining and meaningful experience for your readers. Say you’re female and your lead Point of View character is male. You want readers of both genders to enjoy the story and not get jolted out of it with thoughts of “No guy would think (or do) that!”

Of course, all fiction writing involves getting into someone else’s head, someone different from you. Even characters who share your gender have personalities unlike yours, so you’re always setting your own feelings and motivations aside as you write what someone else would think, say, or do.

Writing from the other gender’s POV is like that, only a bit more so. Think of the following suggestions as tendencies, directions in which to stretch a little without going too far.

For you male writers dealing with a female POV character:

  • Ensure she takes in the appearances of things, and notices minute changes over time
  • Have her look into other characters’ eyes
  • Employ more dialogue, especially small talk
  • Allow her to comment on others’ appearances, clothes, and health
  • Have her care more about other character’s feelings, and to validate them
  • Make her more willing to share her own feelings with others
  • Ensure she talks more about people, their connections, and feelings
  • Show her inner feelings more frequently and more deeply
  • Have her think about people as a network, where each person is on a spectrum between nice/good and mean/bad, and connecting lines between people are strong or weak based on how the two interact

For you female writers dealing with a male POV character:

  • As he takes in a scene, ensure he focuses more on the functions of things, even how he could use or change them
  • Have him look around more at a scene than into other characters’ eyes
  • Make his dialogue more sparse, with less small talk
  • Have him care more about other characters’ problems (and how he could solve them) than their feelings
  • Make him reluctant to disclose his feelings to other characters
  • Ensure he talks more about objects and abstract concepts
  • Have his thoughts move quickly from feelings to action (i.e. what is he going to do?)
  • Have him think about people as being in hierarchies, ranking either higher or lower than him, and how to treat them appropriately

Others have written about the process of creating a convincing opposite-sex POV character. For example, Author Shaquanda Dalton suggests focusing more on the similarities between the genders. She recommends concentrating on dialogue and getting help from opposite-sex beta readers. She also says that the thoughts of fictional characters will focus on the plot problem whether they are women or men, and won’t be significantly different. Lastly, she urges writers to observe real people to get ideas for character actions.

Author A. L. Sowards believes there are differences in the way men and women think, and a writer should keep these in mind. Women, she states, often stew over upsetting things longer, while men get angry but let it go quickly. Women think about many things at once, while men focus on one. She claims it’s untrue that women are more detail-oriented; it’s more a matter of interests. A female character might describe flowers using more specifics, but a male character would describe all the facets of a car engine in the same degree of detail. She advises writers to read books written by and about the opposite gender, and to get to know the character’s personality, strengths, and weaknesses well.

We may try, in our modern age, to dismiss any differences between the genders, but on average, there are some characteristics common to women and others typical of men. You should understand these differences, so you can become capable of writing from the POV of either gender.

Looking back, I’ve only done this with two characters in my published stories— Dr. Anusha Bharateeyanakshatra in “The Finality” and Galene in “Against All Gods.” It’s up to readers whether these female characters were realistically portrayed by—

Poseidon’s Scribe

January 31, 2016Permalink

Body Dialogue

Some say our bodies speak more clearly and honestly than our mouths do. I don’t know about that, but I think it will help your fiction if you show your characters using appropriate body language from time to time.

Body DialogueWhy? For one thing, body language helps break up long strings of dialogue quotes to keep the text more readable and interesting. Body language allows you to show internal conflict within a non-Point-of-View character by contrasting that character’s words with some clashing body language. Also, body language can emphasize the emotions of a character by going beyond mere spoken words.

Body language, or kinesics, includes such things as facial expressions, body posture, gestures, and tone of voice. Subdivisions of kinesics include Oculesics (body language of the eyes), Haptics (body language through touching), and Proxemics (body language using distance).

Author Amanda Patterson, founder of Writers Write, has provided a convenient online table that provides the typical body language expressions for many emotions.

There are a few ways you could use this resource:

  • As-is. Just find your character’s current emotion, and have the character display some or all of the body language manifestations. This may contrast a bit with what the character is saying, and that shows either internal conflict or deception.
  • Characteristic body language. For one of your main characters, establish a pattern where that character displays a particular body language much of the time, thus establishing a character trait and linking it to a predominate personality trait. Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo often crossed his arms, denoting aloofness, distance, and defensiveness.
  • Given that the table provides typical body language, consider showing one or more of your main characters exhibiting slight variations on those common traits. Those variations may say something about your characters’ personalities.

It’s not clear if body language is common across all countries, all cultures, or all time periods, so be careful and do some research before assuming a character would exhibit the body language you do.

Lastly, don’t overdo it. Just like long strings of dialogue get boring, so does too-frequent use of body language.

Jumping up and down while pumping my fists in the air, I’m—

Poseidon’s Scribe

November 29, 2015Permalink

Dumped in the Middle of the Road

You’re reading along down the story highway, racing through action scenes, taking the dialogue curves at a good clip, the wind of the story’s world in your hair. All of a sudden, a truck up ahead upends its load and a pile of text pours onto the pavement, right in your path.

You’ve been stalled by an infodump.

Infodump

You come to a stop to decide what to do. You could plow right through it at slow speed, but you hate that. You could drive around, avoiding it entirely, but some of that text might be necessary to understand the story. If you’re in an angry mood, you could forget the whole book and move on.

An Infodump is one of the Turkey City Lexicon terms. It refers to a passage of text used to explain things and give background information to the reader. It can be one paragraph, or go on for several pages. It’s most common in science fiction and fantasy, where the story’s world is unlike our own, and you need to immerse the reader in it.

From a writer’s perspective, it seems so necessary to convey that information. The reader needs to understand certain things so later events in the story make sense. Many of the great writers of the past used infodumps; Herman Melville spent whole chapters that way, and it hasn’t hurt his sales. Oh, perhaps the writer could think of clever ways to work the information into the story, but who has time for that?

Better make time, you Twenty-First Century Writer, because readers these days don’t want to slow down and plow through your dump.

Here are some techniques:

  1. Delete it. What does that info add to your story, anyway? Do readers really need to know it? Are you dumping that load to help reads understand, or to show off your research or add credibility? If you can delete it, do so. If you can delete most of it, do that, and use other techniques to convey the rest.
  1. Work it into dialogue. Readers speed through your characters’ dialogue pretty fast, so inserting some of your infodump into their speech is one way to avoid slowing readers down. Caution: there’s danger here. You must not swerve into the As You Know, Bob lane. Make sure the dialogue is realistic as well as explanatory.
  1. Work it into the action. By ‘action’ I don’t necessarily mean fight scenes or car chases, but any passages where characters are doing things, moving about, or actively interacting with their environment or each other. It’s characterized by action verbs. It can be interspersed with dialogue, and often serves as a ‘dialogue tag,’ letting the reader know which character is speaking.
  1. Make it entertaining. If you can turn those smelly tons of interfering text into pure, golden fun, readers will actually enjoy the interruption. By ‘entertaining,’ I don’t necessarily mean funny, but humor is a great way to accomplish this, if you can pull it off. This method calls for considerable creativity and skill.
  1. Make it short. As a last resort, keep the infodump, but reduce its length. Readers may forgive a short, explanatory passage here and there.

I struggle with infodumps in my fiction, but it’s important to eliminate them where possible. Dump trucks are fine in real life, but when they drop their load in the middle of your story’s road, it really ticks off your readers. Not good.

Doing my part to beautify the nation’s literary highways and byways, I’m—

Poseidon’s Scribe

Read Your Story Aloud — 10 Reasons Why

It’s vital to read your story aloud before submitting the manuscript for publication. You may consider that a waste of time, since you can Reading Aloudread the story silently to yourself more easily, and because silent reading is the way most readers will experience your work as well.

I contend you really should take the time for reading aloud, and for making that technique one of your final editing methods. For several of the reasons below, I’m indebted to Joanna Penn.

  • After reading your story silently several times, reading aloud will give you the different perspective of the spoken word, enabling a more thorough edit.
  • You’ll find it easier to spot story inconsistencies and plot continuity problems.
  • With this different style of reading, you’ll find the typos and punctuation errors you skipped over earlier.
  • You’ll hear more readily if your story’s dialogue is realistic or forced.
  • The need to breathe when speaking will aid you in identifying overlong sentences.
  • You’ll have an improved sense of whether you’re building tension effectively.
  • By timing your reading, you’ll know how long the audiobook or podcast version of your story will be.
  • You’ll find right away if you have any tongue-twisting phrases or words that sound jarring when juxtaposed.
  • By saying words aloud, you’ll likely have a better notion of which ones to emphasize by italicizing.
  • You’ll better hear the rhythms of the words and sentences, the cadences of your story, and might identify edits to make them flow better.

You might be thinking you’ll have a friend read your story to you, or get a software program to read the text aloud, while you just listen and let the words wash over you. I advise against that and recommend you read the story with your voice, letting the words tumble from your own lips. Both speaking and listening will give you a stronger mental connection with the story than mere listening would.

If you’re one of the few writers who doesn’t regularly employ this technique, I recommend you join the majority. It will improve the quality of your stories, and that guarantee is straight from the mouth of—

Poseidon’s Scribe

What Should I Tell Them?

What if one of my children—or later, one of my grandchildren—was to ask if she should be a writer? What should I tell her?

ChildrenIt would be easy to recall all the downsides and advise her to grow up to be something—anything—else. Why subject my own flesh and blood to the long hours alone, the frenzied and awful first drafts, the agony of editing, the anxiety of submission, the torture of rejection, and the years of solitary obscurity?

Why not spare her all that, since I know about it and she can benefit from my wisdom?

But then…

There is that giddy enthusiasm as a good story idea takes hold in your mind, the godlike power of creating a world and peopling it, the fun of coming up with a clever line, the thrill of getting your first (and all subsequent) acceptances, and the ecstasy of seeing your name in print. There’s all that.

Looking back on what I wish I’d known, should I tell her that stuff too? Should I tell her:

  • she shouldn’t expect instant success? It may happen, of course, and I’d be very proud if it did, but chances are low.
  • to, therefore, get and keep a day job, (or marry into wealth)?
  • to consider certain genres and shun others? Romance and horror sell well, but others are so-so.
  • to be unafraid of submitting (like I was for a long time)? Even if I told her, would it make any difference?
  • that rejections are no cause for distress? A rejection is not the end; it’s the beginning of new opportunities for that story and that market.

When it comes down to it, I guess all she really needs to know is whether she has an inner drive to tell a story through written words. Does she have a fire inside that will burn despite any setback, any hardship? Is her little mind filled to bursting with an idea that must get out somehow?

That’s something I don’t know, and can’t impart.

If the passion isn’t there, nothing I can say will make her a writer.

Conversely, if the passion is there, nothing I say will stop her from writing.

If you’re a writer, leave me a comment about what I should tell a child or grandchild who’s curious about becoming a writer. What did you tell your child? Because if there’s one author who’s aching to know such things, it’s—

Poseidon’s Scribe

What the *Bleep*?

It’s been fun, interviewing the other authors with stories in Avast, Ye Airships! Perhaps in the coming weeks, I’ll be able to interview the rest. In the meantime, I’ll resume my normal Sunday postings of writing advice, and today’s topic is profanity in prose, damning in dialogue, characters who curSwearing in dialoguese.

Considerations

Before letting one or more of your fictional characters cuss, there are some thing to consider. First, does swearing fit that character? In real life, some people swear often; some reserve swear words for unusual situations; and others never utter any profanity. It can depend on a character’s background, upbringing, the character’s present company, the character’s age, the character’s feeling, and the situation.

Another consideration is your audience. Some readers get turned off by too much swearing. Some will even put down the book at the first curse word. Others read right through them without being fazed.

You should also think about the level of intensity of the swear word. Yes, they have levels of offensiveness. These levels are subjective, so what’s low on your list might be higher up for others. As an example, the “c” word for vagina is usually consider much more offensive than the words “damn” or “hell.”

It’s interesting to note the categories of swear words, and what it would say about your character if she uses words from one category only. Swear words seem to be broken down by (1) body parts, actions, or emissions, (2) races, (3) genders, (4) ethnic backgrounds, (5) religions, and (6) occupations.

Consider, also, the country and time period of your story. Swear words vary considerably by nationality and over time.

Methods

If you’re going to allow a character to swear, here are some ways to make it effective in your story.

First, don’t overdo it. For most people, swear words average 0.3 – 0.7% of the words we use, though for some the frequency is 0% and for others up to 3.4%. Overuse of swear words can turn off readers, and give the impression that the author doesn’t have much to say.

Consider the deeper meaning of Lord Byron’s quote, “He knew not what to say, so he swore.” (I swore less frequently after my mother-in-law referred to that quote.) Among other things, swearing can be a sign of low intelligence.

As an alternative to using swear words, consider using regular words in a way that accomplishes the same thing. I’m not talking about silly, substitute swear words like “freaking.” I talking about using regular words in imaginative, creative ways. My Dad said his Marine Corps drill instructor could chew out the platoon for ten minutes without using a single swear word, but every Marine felt he’d been cussed out. Here is a website with some great insults using no curse words at all.

Use swear words to reveal something about the character who speaks them. You can even make certain swear words into a character’s catch phrase. That can help orient the reader as to who is speaking when there’s a long string of dialogue without tags.

Be consistent. If a character swears once, have him swear throughout, though you can change swearing frequency or words as a way to emphasize a change in other aspects of the character.

In summary, don’t be afraid to let a character use profanity, if it’s right for that character and right for your story. But don’t go overboard. I’m damned right about that. I swear, or my name’s not—

                                                            Poseidon’s Scribe

Emotional Roller-coaster

As you and the story you’re writing go through time together, do you find yourself on the same type of emotional roller-coaster as with a personal relationship? Do you feel elated by positive events and dejected by negative ones? I’ve been through the process enough to detect a repeatable pattern. Maybe it will be the same for you.

Let’s follow through as I experience the highs and lows of writing a story and getting it published. This is my relationship with a single story, so the line will overlap with other stories in various stages.

Emotional RollercoasterGetting a story idea is enjoyable, having it mature in my mind while I imagine the possibilities, the characters, the plotline, the settings, and some of the dramatic scenes. It’s a good feeling to go through that, because that imaginary, unwritten story is as good as it’s ever going to be. Once the reality starts and I put words down, the story never reaches the exalted heights of perfection that it achieved when just a dream.

Still, putting words down has a gratification all its own. I feel I’m making progress, producing product, assembling widgets on my keyboard / word / sentence / paragraph assembly line.

Until I get stuck with writer’s block. Here I mean the minor writer’s block I’ve described before, where I can’t get out of a plot hole, or I need a character to act contrary to his or her motivations, etc. Although temporary, this is a real downer. I don’t always experience this, (as shown by the reddish line) but there’s usually some drop-off in enthusiasm as the glow of the original idea fades a bit.

Reaching THE END of the first draft is a definite up-tic in satisfaction for me. The mad rush of getting words down is over. It’s good to know I can start the reviewing-editing-improving phase.

For simplicity, my graph only shows two drafts, but there may be more, with minor wave crests for completing each one. I get to the highest emotional state so far when I consider the story done and submit it for publication. “Here, Dear Editor, this is my newborn! Don’t you love it as much as I do?”

That emotional high fades, as they all do, while waiting for a response. Usually I’ve begun another story by then, so I get an overlap with a similar-looking graph displaced in time.

My graph depicts two paths here, one showing a rejection. Despite my earlier advice to look at rejections positively, I still find that hard to do. Rejections stink. Maybe not as much now as my first one, but still…

An acceptance of a story is a very high emotional state, especially the first time. It’s time to celebrate, indulge, and surrender to the grandeur and magnificence of me.

No one can maintain a very high or very low state forever, so I do descend from the grand summit as I get through the rewrites and signing of the contract, though these are not unpleasant.

The launch of a story is another sublime pinnacle of emotional ecstasy, and that’s no hyperbole. “For all human history, readers have awaited a story like this, and today, I, yes I, grant your wish and launch this masterpiece, this seminal work of ultimate prose, so you may purchase and read it. You’re quite welcome.”

After the story is launched, you’ll get occasional uplifting moments, such as favorable reviews, or book signings, etc. These are never quite as exciting as acceptance or launching, but they’re gratifying anyway.

I’ve not gotten through all these stages with a novel yet, but I suppose a novel’s graph is longer in time, and has many more ups and downs than that of a short story.

Also, your mileage may vary such that your graph looks quite different from mine. Leave me a comment and let me know about the emotional stages of your writing experience.

Remember, when on a roller-coaster (emotional or state fair-type), it sometimes helps to raise your hands in the air and scream. Whee! Here goes—

Poseidon’s Scribe

October 26, 2014Permalink