Thursday, February 25, 2016

Late Winter Flowers

The ornamental cherries or plums or apples or whatever are blooming.  As I walked home after Wordos the other night, one had sprung open and was illuminated by a street light.  Tree blossoms reaching for sodium lights makes a quiet spot along the street.  The only sound is the slight hum from the light, and the occasional car on the next street over.  The petals glow against the night sky.

This morning, I noticed more trees had opened, and that here and there along the streets were swaths of pink and white.  It feels early for the blooms, as we're only three quarters through Winter.  Even the frogs croak up a chorus from the slough a few blocks away.  I guess the higher temperatures last week have started various cycles early.

Writing:  I've been revising like crazy the last few days.  I think I've managed (with the help of beta readers) to re-work the novel-stuffed-into-a-short-story so that it's working as a short story.  Some version-itis has crept in as I've gone back and forth between working on it in Scrivener and SimpleNote.  Changing the format from novel-wanna-be to short-story has changed the focus from an almost-meditation to more of an action story... and I think I might have to sit back and think about how committed I want to be to a novel (which I should write).  

Thinking about writing, I revisited "Rules for Reading a John Story," and realized that I should re-work those as Rules for Writing and hang them above my desk.  

What they boil down to is this:  "Remember that you are a foreigner writing in a foreign land, locked in a tower of bone and sending messages to the bone tower next door by tossing paper airplanes from your window."


  • Remember the reader is not in your head.
  • Develop characters so they aren't fall-back default characters.
  • Remember to use all the senses to supplement cool visuals.
  • Choose one connection (or at most three) between ideas to focus on and make the connection clear.
  • Choose one really cool (or maybe two)  word to enshrine in the text and define it as if it were a foreign word, because, alas, most readers are not word nerds.

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