Time in the Lab is Time Well Spent

February was a great month. It saw the release of my short story, “The Opening of the Bayou Saint John,” which has received a very positive response from readers. The good people at Strange Horizons just do amazing work. It’s an absolute honor to have one of my stories in their publication.

But we must move on. Ever forward. To that end I managed to get a bit more work done on a handful of stories that are in the works at the moment. None of them are in the final stages of editing, but I hope to get at least one of them ready here in the month of March.

I would have more done, but I’ve spent a lot of time in the lab these past few weeks. Time in the lab is work I do that is focused on my own developmental editing. It’s never been a waste of time, but it does take away from actual fiction writing. But I have a whole new respect for practice and experimentation. Practice and experimentation has allowed me to create some great stories and some terrible stories–and I’ve learned a lot from both.

In April I’m teaching a class on Writing Workflow for Short Fiction. This is a new class for me and I’m covering a lot of ground, so narrowing down a succinct process based on a very specific story form has been a fun challenge. I believe I have all the tools in place. It’s now just a matter of presenting these tools in a way that will guide the reader from idea to story creation. Oh, and I need to do this in 40 minutes. Totally doable. My goal is to complete this next week.

Additionally, I’m enrolled in a five week course with the ever talented Arianne “Tex” Thompson author of One Night In Sixes and Medicine for the Dead (both amazing books that I cannot recommend enough) to learn how to write pretty prose. I’ve been told this is something I do, but I like to explain it like this; when it comes to prose I’m like a by-the-ear jazz player. I don’t read no sheet music. I just play my instrument until it makes the sounds I want. That’s served me well, to a point. I’m finally at the stage in this game where I feel like I have a deep understanding of story structure, character development, and all the other little bits and parts that make up great fiction. However, when it comes to writing good old fashioned sentences, I’m just playing it by ear. I’d like to move beyond that. Because I think in addition to writing great fiction, I want to start digging deeper into the world of development editing.

Unless I hear some good news on a couple of my stories that are sitting on editors’ desks, this will probably be my big post for March. In April I’ll have more news about the DFW Writers Conference. Until then, I hope you find something wonderful to read.

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