More Research

Some days it seems like whenever I think I have things in line the way I like them, the dominoes fall down and I need to start over. 

I’ve mentioned 750words before in this blog. I’ve enjoyed the time there, but it looks like it might be time to move on to another site. The site had been free, but starting 1 March it will require a paid subscription. It isn’t much – only $5 a month or $50 a year. But it’s difficult to justify that when I could find the same thing free elsewhere. 

So I’m looking at other sites between now and the March deadline. I missed that with Duotrope, who also required paid subscriptions this year for the majority of its information. [The same subscription rate, even.] And while I loved browsing Duotrope for new markets, I don’t use it enough at this time to go with a paid subscription. The new FAQ at 750 words even said he doesn’t take it personally if the requirement doesn’t fit the writer’s needs – and mentioned a few possible suggestions for replacements. 

All of that ought to light a fire under me to get things edited (which is always my sticking point) and be ready to get them out there so I can be part of Duotrope and feel legitimate because I would be sending things out. 

Which reminds me of an essay I read recently in Write Good or Die – where the author [Kristine Kathryn Rusch] talked about discipline in a way that meant more than simply punching a clock to meet a deadline and get a paycheck. She made a lot of points about why people make it in what they’re doing, especially writing. It’s because we love to do it, and we love to get it right enough to make things happen. The things that need to happen are the ideas, writing, editing, promotion, and the things that we allow to happen that distract us from these goals. 

That essay still has me thoughtful, and it is likely I will read it a few more times until my brain gets the message that I think is in there. I know most of it. I sit myself down in the chair to write daily. Recently I’ve discovered that editing doesn’t come so easily and I need to change how I go about it and how I think about it. After so many years of writing fiction, I finally figured out how to do an outline that makes sense for me, so it can’t be a lost cause to put some more research and purpose into how I go about editing. 

I needed something else to squeeze into the quiet moments when my kids were sleeping, besides the yoga and Pilates books, the fiction I haven’t caught up with, and the never-ending outpouring of words for my own rough drafts. It’s no wonder most of my friends love to read – they’re the only ones who could understand how I get so lost in the worlds I create. 

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Research

Got sidetracked on research. It’s a wonderful thing, but it can take up a lot of time. I think I got carried away on this one.

It started with a short story I wrote about an intelligent species who flies- and is nearly human sized. A friend and I began debating whether or not it could really happen – well, not in our world – but using the physical laws of our world.

Mostly, we’ve been looking into wingspan versus overall weight. I think I might have gone too far, but there is so much uncertainty, that I justified it that way. Now I’m going to have to look at it and see if I can make a better focus of it.

My engineering background both aids and detracts from my fictional abilities in that every now and again I just try to follow the natural laws of our world. Ah well, I can’t complain.

Bookstores

I find myself needing to stay away from bookstores. The temptation to go and liberate them to a new and loving home is too great sometimes. I can’t even say a certain section is worse than the others; most of them draw me in.

That’s part of the reason I have a ‘library’ in my home. That, and when we moved in the room just begged to house my books. Two walls are nearly filled with bookshelves, and most of the bookshelves are stuffed with books.

What can I say? I’ve always loved the written word. I’m trying to leave a shelf open for my works; there isn’t much on it right now, but I have high hopes.

Except too man trips to the bookstore may require a re-evaluation at some point. So many things to learn inside: calligraphy, feng shui, yoga, Star Wars, classic cars, science fiction and fantasy worlds to explore, romances to share, mysteries to solve. Each enriches my world and my writing.

Countless topics yet to be explored draw me to the bookstore again. They may or may not show up in future writings, but I’m challenging myself not to have all my main characters be artists or wannabe artists. It shouldn’t be hard with as many research boks I have on hand, but I might have to pick up another book or two – just in case!

That reminds me: I need to get out the books I was building the science fiction world with, and finish it.