Monthly Archives: March 2013

Untitled Sci-fi short story – Progress Update #2

Finished my first draft of the short story I’m planning to submit to the Sword & Laser anthology.  Right now it’s just under their maximum of 7500 words, but I know it’s going to end up longer.  After I get a more complete version done, I’ll work to scale it back for submission.

There is a lot of cleanup work to be done – I did my best to just keep writing and not go back and edit.  Things on my mind that I know need work:

  • I left some conversations more as sketches rather than fully written out dialogue.
  • Making sure my characters are well defined – use “tags & traits” as suggested by Jim Butcher.
  • Since this is a new sci-fi universe, I have to make up names for spaceships, a planet, etc.  Right now I just have temporary words in place.
  • Fixing some plot holes – there are a couple places where I know I’ll need to come up with a better logical explanation for how things happened.
  • Emphasize the sleeplessness of my main character – he starts off very tired but I didn’t really follow through with that throughout the rest of the story, even though it is told in real-time.  I’m considering making the title of the story reference this.
  • The “flow” of the writing.  I started revising the opening paragraph of the story, and I’m just not happy with how it’s reading.  I’m sure this will be an issue with the rest of the work as well.  I’m going to do some reading up on how I can improve.

Progress Update: Untitled Sci-fi short story

I’m working on a short story I had initially planned on submitting to Sword & Laser’s upcoming anthology.  I’ve got the whole story outlined and have written about 3000 words of a rough draft.  Since I’m only about a quarter of the way through the story, I don’t think I’ll make the cut-off of 7500 words to get accepted.  I’ll probably end up finding another home for this one and possibly think up another story that I’d be able to submit to the anthology.

To outline the story I used the advice on Jim Butcher’s live journal site (I recommend starting here and reading each post in succession – most are relevant).  The use of scene/sequel structure really helped me create a plot that continually upped the stakes and drove the story forward.  Once I had the outline, writing hasn’t been too difficult since I have a plan to follow.  I think the area that I’m lacking right now is fully fleshing out my characters, but I’m hoping to get that down in an editing pass.