At Sea with Caedmon

I normally take Mondays off from writing and use it as a rest/recovery/cleaning day. Today I’d like to spend a bit more time in my Thule naval story, so I’ll do that.

We continue to have internet problems (I’m using my phone’s hot spot again.) It’s a bit more serious today since Steve needs to teach via Zoom. He may have to go to campus to connect into their internet. Hopefully AT&T’s team will fix the problem quickly.

The conversation around strategy continues on the Facebook post. I’ve copied out what everyone said into a little strategy checklist that I’m using to look through the prose to figure out how to make it better.

My normal way of writing is to write into the dark, then cycle back, write a bit more, then go back again. Often I will do a cycle just for what I call “texture,” which covers the sensory and emotional descriptions.

I normally don’t write quite the way I’m doing with this story, which is to detail out the plot, block the action, check the tactics and strategy with Steve, go back and fix things Steve said were wrong. Then, write a section, figure out that the strategy has a hole or that I have new idea. Then I block out the tactics again, write a bit, and cycle back for texture.

Soon I have the sinking realization that Caedmon is way smarter than me, has a secret plan, and isn’t talking to me about it just now. Curses on taciturn characters! Then I beg Steve to walk with me and talk about the story again. (Steve is a saint.) Rinse, repeat.

Part of the reason is that I’m in strange new waters in storytelling. When I deal with new issues, I spend a lot of time on them because I need to learn how to think. If I continue to write naval engagements, which I may since I’m putting a lot of of time into learning this, I will get better and faster. Eventually I will be able to write into the dark with those as well.

This story won’t be particularly good even though I’m putting the time in. I know that. I know that any one of my military SF or historian friends could write circles around me on this. And that’s totally ok. I will do the best that I can do right now. Then I’ll ask my critique group to look at it. They like action/adventure/fantasy/SF and I know that they’ll play it straight and tell me if it works for them. Then I’ll make the improvements.

For the next five years (at least) all of my writing is practice and learning. I expect to feel a bit at sea. Like the OODA Loop, the faster I can cycle through my personal loop of Learn-Write-Assess-Improve, the better my chances of having the writing career I want to have.

I hope you’re also practicing something new that takes you into exciting new waters.

Be well, friends!

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