Works in Progress–A Momentary Lapse of Confidence

[Part of a continuing series on where my fiction writing is at.]

Sorry, I didn’t post yesterday, but my day job intervened and the news of the passing of Leonard Nimoy (a little more on that below) helped demotivate me further. After a nice night out with some friends (and a few drinks), I’m feeling much better. So, here we go.  


How They Did It at Kazansky StationThis first draft of this story is done, but reading it over in hard copy, I didn’t like it much. It was very, very rough. So, I sighed and fumed a bit. I thought it was no good and that lately none of my writing has been good. And that it’s been Trains Kazanskyawhile since I’ve had a story accepted, which is true.

But I also knew I had been in that place before. That place where none of your writing seems any good and you get discouraged. So, I calmed myself down. I sat my butt down in the chair and put away the hard copy with all the red pen marks on it.

And then, I ATTACKED the manuscript onscreen. I started by deleting the entire first chapter, condensing its essential points and putting them into dialogue in what had been the second chapter. That got the story rolling right from the get-go with dialog, which I like more and more as a way to start a story. Then, I started doing the hard work of editing, what the sculptor Polykleitos called those moments when “the clay is under the fingernail.” For a writer it’s about polishing dialog, adding a detail in, cutting a phrase out. Revealing a little, bit by bit, but never too much. You can’t give it all away until the end and even then…Why reveal it all? I really hate doing 2nd drafts for this reason. For me, it’s the hardest work and the toughest part of being a writer.

So where did the story end up?

I’m 2/3 done with draft two. And I’m really pleased with. What I’ve written so far really captures the details, the tone and feel of Moscow’s most Eastern, most Asiatic railroad station. Its Gateway to the East. This weekend, I’m going to hit it again. And I will let you guys know where it ends up.

The Man with Storms in His Eyes—This story is with a new magazine and I’m waiting to hear back.  

AFTA—This horror novella is still with editors and I’m waiting to hear back. I will check in with them shortly.

Breakpoint—This SciFi story is with a magazine, waiting to be reviewed and rejected/accepted.


And  a little on Leonard Nimoy. What can I say? As a kid of the 80s, I first caught Nimoy in reruns of Star Trek: The Original Series. But coming from that time, I also distinctly remember his great voiceover work for the series “In Search Of.” That series did such a great job of mashing together myth, scientific inquiry and the paranormal. It was great stuff for a kid just beginning to learn about and explore his world. Nimoy’s voice added that perfect touch that dialed up the creepiness and weird to make the series pitch perfect. Here’s one of the episodes which actually has live action clips of Nimoy, not just his voice over.

Nimoy on Bigfoot.

Others elsewhere have much more moving tributes to the actor. I’ll only add that I was sad to hear of his passing and that for me, he was like an uncle from the Land of Pop Culture. Someone who was always there and who you wish you had a little more time with. I’ll miss him.

Alright, time to get brunch, then head back home and key up some classic episodes of Star Trek TOS and see the young Nimoy do his thing. Until next time…

Live long and prosper,

DJ