Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

June 1, 2012

May in review

Filed under: fitter/happier,wordsmithery — lexifab @ 12:02 pm

Winter has arrived, and with it Canberra temperatures have continued to drop and my hacking cough has returned for the second time. So, a bit of a mixed bag there.

I started May with an air of grim determination, declaring it the Month of Getting Things Finished, or some such pomposity. So how did I fare? Let’s go through the checklist and see how I did:

Finish the outline of the novel: Um, well, no, I didn’t finish that. I did write several thousand words worth of outline, which pointed to problems in structure, character development and world building, so I guess in that sense it was a success. In the past few days I abandoned that version of the outline and started again. I haven’t junked many of the ideas, I’ve just restarted the work of assembling them into the most usable order.

The only real concern I have about the novel at this stage is that while I have a very solid opening and development through to the mid-point tilt (where things start to go very wrong for the protagonists), I have no real idea yet how to get from there to my climactic ending. It points to the likelihood that the story suffers from the not-at-all uncommon “flabby middle” ailment.

In a sense that’s good, because the purpose of outlining is to highlight these sorts of problems before I waste too much time writing stuff that I will have to cut. On the other hand, it doesn’t feel like I am making much progress, so a review of approach is probably in order. But first I definitely need to at least have a proper stab at finishing the outline, which is what I intend to devote the next few days to doing.

Finish the two short stories in progress: Partial success! The cyclone story is still half-done – I have all the major beats, the backstory and the ending worked out, but the words need putting on the page. I’m not too worried about that one. When I do sit down to write it, the words flow pretty steadily, so I’m confident it will come out okay. The only trick with that one will be working out how to deliver some of the necessary background information without info dumping.

The other short story in progress is now no longer in progress because it’s finished! It’s called ‘Last Drinks Before Jehoshaphat’ and thanks to some excellent input from a host of critiquing elves, it’s in pretty good shape. I finished the second full draft last night. I’ll leave it for a few days while I get to some other work, after which I’ll give it another read-through (out loud, if that’s possible given its strange tweet format). As I mentioned earlier I think it’s possible something I can sell, which will be my next step. Making an actual honest-to-Tlaloc writing sale is one of my goals for the year (ideally, more than one).

(I just lost most of the rest of this post in a crash. Grr. I am suspicious that the internet security software which supposedly protects my laptop may have been responsible).

So, one out of two for the short story goal but I am not too unhappy with that because I also wrote my 500th-blog-entry celebratory story ‘Team Evaluation’, of which I am rather proud. That one came out of a writing exercise that Kaaron Warren presented to this month’s CSFG writer’s group meeting. The gist of the exercise is to brainstorm a concept by writing down ten short ideas sparks – images, characters, dialogue or whatever – and then expand each one out to a full page using your best don’t-think-about-it automatic writing technique. The story pretty much emerged fully-formed from that exercise. You can be damned sure I’ll be using that trick again.

Rewrite ‘The Rutherford Expedition’ as a comic script: I did not do this at all. It’s still on the to-do list. This month it was gazumped by other stuff.

Book reviews: One, right at the start of the month. Not as many as I would have intended.

Lost reviews: None

Flash fiction: None

So on the whole I didn’t claw back much momentum. I am still keeping monthly stats of my writing, and May – as with February through to April – made for some pretty depressing reviewing.

Still, I have been carrying a recurring illness all month, so I should probably give myself some credit. Once I finally shake this cough I should be able to rebuild my stamina for sitting down and typing for a couple of hours a night. That does make all the difference after all.

I haven’t thought hard about my plans for June, but all the stuff from last month still applies. In addition to that I have another goal: the Canberra Spec Fic Guild produces an annual short story anthology, and submissions for this year’s collection – themed and entitled ‘Next’ – are now open. I hope I’ll come up with a few good ideas to submit.

(By the way, it’s open to anyone, so I encourage everyone reading this to check out the submission guidelines and give it a whirl!)


  1. Hey, you also reviewed ‘The Obituarist’ at the start of the month. So that’s two reviews, not just one!

    Comment by Patrick O'Duffy — June 2, 2012 @ 8:04 am

  2. Ah good catch.

    (I do wonder how I managed to overlook that. I’m beginning to think that eagle-eyed precision may not exactly be at the top of my character sheet…)

    Comment by lexifab — June 3, 2012 @ 12:22 am

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