5/26/21 Status Update

Hey y’all, hope you’re doing well 😊 Life’s been easygoing and busy since graduating Temple three weeks ago. I still work part-time, but with the weight of classwork off my shoulders, I have a lot of time to chill, think, and write. And boy do I have writing to do. Here are some of the major projects I’m working on:

For The Last Time

I wrote the first draft of this short story around February for Creative Acts, a “beginner” fiction writing course. In truth, the professor was very supportive, being friendly to beginners and being informative to me and the other experienced writers.

Anyway, the story is about a pair of journalists reporting on drug trafficking in Atlantic City. They run-in with two dealers, must choose their lives or their news story, and tragedy strikes.

Rewriting For The Last Time will be an important milestone. For years I’ve been told revise, revise, revise* my stories, but I never had the patience. Plus, I felt intimidated—what if my rewrite came out worse than the original? But after putting my all in FTLT and recognizing areas to improve, and after reading Chris Offutt’s essay, Performing Surgery Without Anesthesia**, I’ve decided to revamp it and to do revisions in future stories.

Changes will include:

  • Humanizing my antagonists so they aren’t flat characters; giving them a backstory, giving them likeable traits and making them less villains-to-be-villains.
  • Jumping back and forth through time instead of telling a point A to point B narrative.
  • Improving conversational dialogue.

*Revision means focusing on big-picture changes, as opposed to copy or line editing

**Here’s the link to Offutt’s essay

I Know You

This story came about from my attempt to emulate Lydia Davis’ writing style. She’s known for brevity, but lesser-spoken of is her abundance of narration, page-long compound-complex sentences, and lack of dialogue markers. In an interview, she’s been compared to a poet. With the control she wields over syntax, I’m not surprised.

In I Know You, a woman named Valerie supposedly spots her old friend, Cassandra, in a café, but Cassandra exits looking past Valerie, as if she doesn’t recognize her. The sightings occur again and again, and Valerie wonders if she’s being ignored or spotting a doppelgänger.

I started this story in fall 2020 and haven’t touched it since January. I’ve got the middle and ending loosely outlined, so it’s time to get to work.

Plans for Continuation:

  • Show Valerie at work and later at home, going through the motions of mid-20s life.
  • Write the scene where Valerie attempts to confront the lookalike in the café.
  • Use flashbacks to explain Valerie and Cassandra’s initial falling out.

In addition to writing these stories, there are specific grammar techniques I want to practice and there’s a book I read two years ago I want to review.

What are your writing plans? 😃

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