Tuesday, December 12, 2006

story crafting

I think after the adrenalin rush of the book launch, the stress I had been holding at bay finally got to me. That, and the fact that I got drizzled on. I had a slight fever and decided not to go to work today, although there were a couple of things I could not miss. But sometimes, you just have to listen to your body. And my body said "Rest".

I spent last night and today reading and editing new stories by the LitCritters. Part of the LitCritter workshop is developing original fiction. Since we started in the second quarter of this year, we've had a total of four deadlines, and each of the LitCritters was required to submit at least one new work every couple of months. The goal is three-fold: to improve our craft as writers; to get our paper children published; and to help speculative fiction grow in the country. I can see improvement in every writer in the workshop, in terms of how they develop their stories using writerly techiniques. Each of us has miles to go before we can rest, but it is the learning and creating that matters.

And as for publication, well over 50% of the stories developed by the LitCritters have been published or are slated for publication in venues such as Story Philippines, Philippines Free Press, and the Digest of Philippine Genre Stories as well as various anthologies. The next step is international submissions. We just need to steel ourselves against the inevitable rejection notices which are part of the process (my most treasured, from Ellen Datlow some time ago, passed on "Terminos" for Scifi.com because it didn't quite fit the bill - but had a lovely handwritten note that congratulated me on "Aquilone". "Terminos" later became my Ratbastard story).

December marks the last deadline for the year and I'm quite happy with the quality of work being presented. I challenged each author to write out of his or her comfort zone and the results are very intriguing. I am glad that this group of writers takes writing as seriously as I do.

Okay, now to sleep.

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