Last night was the postponed critique of my short story, Shaken, not Stirred. The group had great feedback. I was unsure which direction I wanted to take the story. In its current form, it was too long for what it is. My options are to make it longer and more serious, or cut it shorter and get to the punchline quicker. I’ve decided to cut it short and keep the original intent of the story intact. I took out the editorial knife this morning and started chopping. Thanks to Raechel I also have a market to send it to. Planet Relish is an ezine that accepts what they call “feghoots”, which they describe as not just a short-short story with a joke at the end, but “a short-short story that ends in a very groan-worthy pun.” Once I trim out the fat, that will describe this story very aptly.
Trey mentioned the Turkey City Lexicon in a recent journal entry. The lexicon is a primer for SF workshops, but should be a must-read for any speculative fiction writer. I read through it before group last night, and noticed a few things that I do wrong. In truth, I’ve been noticing them more lately and have been working on them. There are two in particular that are vexing me.
The first is “Ing Disease”, with sentences such as “Having opened the door, Adam walked through it.” This is a common problem among beginning writers and I think I know why. In my case, I was trying to correct my use of active versus passive verbs. The other thing I’ve been struggling with is the proper use of possessive pronouns. The Purdue University Online Writing Lab has come in handy researching proper grammar. Take the example "The ships original blue…" from my story last night. It should have been "The ship’s original blue…". If I had turned it around "of the…", it would have read "The original blue of the ship", which would have told me that I needed to make "ship’s" possessive.
The key to learning is recognizing your mistakes. As long as you can do that there’s no limit to what you can do.