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Two Weeks

June 1, 2010

So… I have two weeks from today to finish my final final draft, write a cover-letter, and mail (or e-mail) the story.

The good news, obviously, is that the “penultimate” draft is done! You’ll see that in my status (at the top of the main page) and in the update bar to the right. What makes it penultimate and not final is that I’m still going through and editing for language and style and, to a certain degree, for space. It’s currently clocking in at 12,200 words – securely in Novelette space. But I was hoping to whittle it down to around 12,000 words.

Either way, that’s the state of affairs here.

If (and when) the story gets sold, I’ll reveal the title of the story and where the story will be found. (That’s a big IF, for sure.) I keep the title secret on this particular story only because the title betrays the fundamental premise of the story – the big “what if” question that the story asks. This story naturally evolved from that title. What I like about it is that it’s naturally self-selecting: you can sort of tell if you’ll enjoy reading the story simply by reading the title. Either it intrigues you, or it bores you, and if it intrigues you I assume you’ll read more.

That said, the working title of the next story I plan to work on does not reveal any fundamental premises, so I can go ahead and say the next story – which I shall hope to begin drafting within a month of sending off this first story – will be called “What Happened in August Valley”. How does that sound? I usually start writing after I’ve found what I consider a good title. I like this, so it gives me motivation to write the story that goes with it.

Happy writing.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 1, 2010 4:40 pm

    That is certainly an interesting way to begin writing – title first. I tend to find a character, build the plot around them and a title usually reveals itself towards the end. With the novel I’m currently working on however the title came fairly quickly. I don’t think I would want to wait until I’d found a title to begin writing though. I’d never write a word!

    • June 2, 2010 10:29 am

      I agree, it is unusual. But let me clarify precisely what I do: of course I do start by thinking about characters and building in my head a general outline of the plot. I may even take notes and write these down. But I don’t start writing the story itself – the first draft – until I have a working title. It’s just something weird with the way I work. I don’t advise it as a course of action for most writers.

  2. June 1, 2010 4:46 pm

    Congrats on finishing the draft! That’s a size able chunk of writing, and something to celebrate! I’m terrible at titles. I’ll often put of trying to find one until the story is done.

    • June 2, 2010 10:32 am

      Thanks. You’re right, it’s not particularly short! I’m looking forward to getting it polished off and in the mail!

      Also, your difficulty with titles isn’t all that uncommon. I remember reading in the foreword to The Great Gatsby, in High Shool, how much trouble trouble Fitzgerald had with the title of that book. Apparently he went through several title revisions. Even as the book was going into production, he sent off a note to his publisher asking if it wasn’t too late to change the title to “Under the Red, White, and Blue”, which Fitzgerald said he was crazy about. It was too late, and so today we have The Great Gatsby instead of Under the Red, White and Blue.

  3. Lua permalink
    June 2, 2010 3:20 am

    Congratulations on finishing the final final draft of your story and I wish you the best of luck with it Stephen 🙂 I hope we’ll hear the good news soon and get to read your story… Keep us posted!

    • June 2, 2010 10:39 am

      It’s not quite final final, yet! But thanks! I hope so, too. But even if there’s good news eventually, I expect it will be a while before I have word of good news to share…

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