Cleaning up the mess

I’ve been organizing my writing files lately and came to discover I have as least 20 stories worth talking about. That is stories that are completed. Many need some kind of editing or another, which is cool because that is something else I’m learning, but most of them are in pretty good shape. Not all of them are commercial, at least for me right now. (Selling stories usually requires they be shorter than 5k words, which is about 15 minutes of reading, or 12-15 pages of text, depending upon the font used and/or the line spacing.) But the good news for you, dear reader, is that the vast majority of them are due for an upload. That is to say, they will end up posted here on my blog.

The breakdown goes like this. I have 6 stories that I’m going to attempt to sell, 5 stories that I’ve already posted here (you did notice the Fiction link, right?) and a full 9 more that will be posted here over the course of this year.

What does that mean for you, dear reader? Well my goal is once a month to put up a new story that you get to read for free. Free. FREE! Pretty cool, eh?

And it means also I have a more organized schedule to follow.

See, in the past I was pretty haphazard about my stories. Writing them, and then letting them languish, forlorn and forgotten on my computer. Well that’s not going to happen any more. Now, whenever I have free time (that is, time not devoted to writing a new story or novel) I’ll go down my list, editing as I can, and clean up the stories to make them more presentable. Then I can either put them in the queue for posting here, or send them out to see if I can find a home for them in the big bad outside world of publishing.

There’s a bit more to it that that. This was not only a much needed Spring Clean of my computer’s hard drive, but it represents a more concerted effort to edit my work.

Recently I’ve discovered that I need a few weeks to months away from a story after writing it, so I can have enough space from it to see if I need to do some major reconstruction work. Its a bit like when you first start dating someone you like, and you find you simply cannot have an objective opinion about them. You’re too excited in their company to question whether you should be or not. Well stories are like that for me. I love them. I have to or I would kill the damn things because they can truly be a pain to write. But once they’re completed, and I’ve had enough time from them to have some objectivity, I find its easier to go back and look at them with fresh eyes.

So once I discovered this, it wasn’t much of a leap to realize I could list them all, and then organize the list so that when I finish one story I can then go back and edit the another one I finished some 6-8 weeks ago. In this way I can work through both the new and the old, and gets some better stories crafted.

Another thing I’ve done is join up with a writer’s workshop called Critters Writers Workshop. They have a pretty nifty set-up where writer can both submit stories, and critiques stories. The cool thing is you have to earn your right to be critiqued, by critiquing others. I don’t know how this is going to go. I just wrote my first critique today, and won’t expect the story I submitted to be critiqued until somewhere between the 19th and the 26th of March, but it looks to be fun. My goal is primarily to learn to be more critical of my own stories, by seeing where other’s make mistakes. Properly, this is a type of editing, and If I want to get better, I need to learn it.

So there. I’m doing me some learning. And you get some free stories. That’s a win, win, all the way around!

But, “what,” you say, “does this mean in the mean time?”

Good question, you. What this means is I expect I’ll have a story to post within the week, so keep your eyes pealed. And I now have a list so I have a pretty good idea what I’ll put up next. So if you haven’t already, or if you only see my posts on FaceBook (which automatically mirrors posts from this blog), you might consider signing up using the link in the right hand column that says

Yes, that what it says. That way you’ll get an email with a nice easy link with every post, and never miss a story as it makes it painful way down the FB notification page. And that would be bad. Yes, terrible. Missing free stories–ones that have been hand-crafted for a fine yield, and hand-packed to they don’t bruise or bend–well that would practically be a crime, now wouldn’t it? And we can’t have that, can we? I mean, you’re too young to start a life of crime aren’t you? Unless you my mother, and in that case you’re too old to start a life of crime. So sign up now and skip that life of crime.

You’ll be glad you did.