Any writer knows that the hardest part of writing a story is detaching yourself from it. After staring at the same set of words for an eon, bits of your cortex begin to drip through your nose, until you convince yourself that your overly-expository word goulash is a tale for the ages, one which any pro magazine would be deeply honored to publish.
Not so. At least not till its been seen by people who are a tiny bit less biased, but mostly not until you yourself have viewed it after wiping your brain clean of all sticky remnants of what you meant to say. Because trapping that flotsam inside your synapses will prevent you from reading the story the way others do.
At the excellent Viable Paradise workshop (queue obligatory “Go VP18!” chant), we discussed a few ways to clear the story out of your head. Of course, the number one way is to give it time. Put the story on a rafter for a while, then retrieve it much later, taking care not to fall off the ladder. If you do that, you are almost guaranteed to notice that story reference to your time in the clown academy that you thought you’d deleted. Along with typos and any unwanted sentence construction.
But what if you don’t have time? There are a few other options:
- Put the story in a different font, preferably one that’s a little challenging to read (don’t overdo it, I once put it in symbol font and made it look like a giant differential equation, which gave me flashbacks to my electrical engineering classes).
- Print the story out, read it on paper.
- Read the story aloud.
By far, the most effective one of those for me is number 2, which can be combined with 1.
Back to the story at the Colored Lens. I read “Omnos” long after I’d written it, and cringed. There were a lot of things I wanted to change. I made those changes, shoved it away for a while, re-read, and cringed again (but a little less). I repeated this process a few times, and forgot about it. Then I re-read it 6 months later, and loved it. Truly, I don’t love all my stories, but this one had been re-worked enough times that I thought it shone (shined?). I submitted the final copy to a pro anthology, where it passed 2 rounds of reading and made it to the top. There, it was ultimately rejected by the editor, who liked it but said it didn’t fit the theme very well. Then I submitted to Colored Lens, and here we are.
“Omnos” is the story of Gordon Everly, priest of a very odd religion, who comes to oversee the biggest experiment of mankind’s existence: proving whether God exists. I promise, this story doesn’t reflect any of my own views on that subject, and there is no preaching one way or the other (I won’t tell you the outcome, or my own opinions, which are irrelevant). I hope you read it, and would love to hear what you think.
Well that’s it for this blog post. On to a glorious future, basking in the rays of our shining leader, from which all good things flow.
Sorry, hard for me to expunge myself from my North Korean indoctrination classes. Let me amend that to say ‘bye’, and I’ll see you next blog post. Cheers.