Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Contest Ramblings

The Canadian Authors Association is holding it’s 4th annual short-story contest. It ends February 28th, so if you have any submissions, I urge you to send them in quickly. Check out the link at Canwrite! Conference Story Contest.

This morning I sent in a short story that I wrote a while ago. This partly explains why I have been remiss in producing blog entries as I was doing some serious editing.

Also, I am currently working on a novel.

When I first started this Blog, I was looking to write for myself. Shortly thereafter, I wanted to see if I could keep up a writing schedule to make a living at it. The conclusion I came to: I can produce some 1000 words a day or more, but not sustained. I have come to prove that a daily column in a newspaper isn’t quite right for me. Maybe a weekly?

By the way 1000 words a day is a LOT. On average my blogs run about 800 words. A novel is 60,000 to 100,000 words. James Clavell, may he rest in peace, novels are about a ¼ million words or more. A daily newspaper columnist writes for 800 to 1000 per paper. Short stories are typically 1500 or less, but sometimes up to 2500.

I do my own editing, which can either cut down or explode then time it takes to punch out the words. Think of writing as building but editing is the polish and varnish. If I want to spend a lot of time perfecting the text, I can, and have, spent days in editing and reediting. As with anything one creates, you can add touches and make changes until the cows come home and still not be satisfied.

At some point, you have to call it quits and declare “good enough”. This is hard to do for a writer. It’s easier for a communicator. Once the point is made, you are done. But the former wants to create phrases that are delicious, that have a weight all their own, that are filled with artistic value, and quality.

And quality takes time and care.

So a published author has reviewed my short story, which I took off these very blog-pages. I then took a week almost full-time to re-edit before sending it in. It now sits at 1491 words. I hope quality words at that. I sent in the mess and now the wait begins.

Every once in a blue moon you create something that moves you. For some unknown reason you want to keep polishing it, you want to keep adding beauty to it. You don’t want it to end. And that is when you found something really special.

I hope the judges see this, as I have.

PS. I’ll keep you posted on the results… if any.


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