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Writers describe their planning process (or lack thereof) in all kinds of ways. Plotters! Pantsers! Plantsers! Architects! Gardeners! Drum Plotters!
Wait, no, that last one is a piece of graphics equipment.
I am not going to discuss all the different approaches, but this one secret is for all the kinds of writers who plot. Ready for it? Here goes.
You. Can. Change. Your. Mind.
Changing your mind can even be part of your process! It doesn’t mean your process is broken. Maybe you need something to write towards, but when you get there, you need to stop and think for a few days.
Imagine you’re following a treasure map to a walled city. When you finally reach it and climb that wall, you see that there’s a lot of city inside and you’re not exactly sure where the treasure is. And you also see a couple of pyramids in the distance, which look like they might have some treasures you never even guessed existed. Maybe while you were following the treasure map, you picked up some traveling companions. Now you need to consider their goals and skills too. Your treasure map didn’t fail; you’ve advanced to the next stage.
I call this the Replot Point, and I hit it about 3/4ths of the way through every writing project of sufficient length and density. Then it’s time for me to stop and think and scribble connections in my writing notebook. My subconscious has been leaving me breadcrumbs and making promises to my readers all the way along. It’s my job to follow those breadcrumbs and fulfill those promises, while getting from where I am to where I want to be. I plot from both ends to the middle. I make lists of all kinds of possible connections and outcomes. I think really hard about all of my characters’ goals and drives. I think about the emotional effect I want to produce in the reader.
And then I make a really detailed plot for the last quarter of the story. Did I change my mind about my initial plot for this part of the story? Maybe. Did I go from a big picture map to a city street map? Absolutely. Is there treasure at the end?
Well, that’s for the readers to decide.
What I’ve been up to lately, writing-wise:
I have created a detailed plot for the last 1/4 of my Altered Carbon meets The Expanse, as written by T Kingfisher* space opera/SF horror work-in-progress, and I am chugging along on it happily.
* Obvs, my pitch still needs a hell of a lot of work. But that’s a job for Future Abra.
Things Shiny or Useful
Archive of all shiny or useful links: https://aswiebe.com/marketlist/shiny-or-useful-writing-links/
Estate Planning Tips for Authors (video): https://authorsguild.org/resource/estate-planning-tips-for-authors/
SFWA Members Weigh in on AI & Machine Learning Applications & Considerations: https://www.sfwa.org/2023/03/03/sfwa-members-weigh-in-on-ai-machine-learning-applications-considerations/
Upcoming Virtual Conventions/Workshops
(Any registration fees are noted.)
Flights of Foundry (highly recommended! – ASW), April 14-16, 2023: https://flights-of-foundry.org/
The Nebula Conference, May 12-14, 2023 ($150). Purchasing a membership also gets access to recorded panels and year-round special events: https://events.sfwa.org/
The Orange County Library System has many upcoming, free virtual writing talks: https://www.ocls.info/writers-corner
Deathcap & Hemlock wants dark speculative flash fiction written in recipe format, pays $10.
What are we looking for?: Recipes that hint at a deeper narrative without violating the recipe structure will catch our eye. We are looking for short pieces, formatted like actual recipes (ingredients list, steps, measurements (metric, imperial; weight or volume—you decide!)). A short introductory paragraph to the recipe is okay, but optional.
Themes that are likely to mean you have a lot of competition in the slush include: revenge poisonings, transformation magic (eat something and it turns you into x), unwitting cannibalism.
We are not looking for stories about food or prose descriptions of how to make something. We are also not looking for anything that threatens actual people or real recipes for a poison that could be followed by readers. This is not a how-to site: we want speculative elements, we want recipes that ignite imagination (not felonies). Think outside the box of cereal killers.Deathcap & Hemlock
Basics: dark speculative flash fiction, up to 1,000 words, pays $10, no reprints, due 3/31/23. Guidelines: https://www.deathcapandhemlock.com/submit
Market List Updates
Click below to see all the details about these new listings and what they're looking for. For hundreds of other listings, go to Aswiebe's Market List and download the latest version of the spreadsheet. Note: going forward, limited demographic market listings will be italicized.Click here to keep reading–Best viewed on a wide screen.