My First Draft Update

This update is about my progress to my first draft of my first novel in crime fiction. I am on Day 38 of 100 on a course called Write a Book in 100 Days, by The Write Practice.
Here are my observations:
1. The course is $100 more expensive, but if you complete your weekly deadlines of posting the 4,500 words you wrote during that week for 15 weeks, then you will have the money returned. While you reach a total of 65,000 words after 100 days.
I have to say, this type of deadline pressure does help you find the time and actually to meet the word count. Although, you can miss two deadlines of the course and still receive the $100 refund.
2. There are about 140 students on this course, and we are embedded in groups of 10 people. Each week on Fridays I have to submit my chapter. Before the next Friday, I have to read at least three other people’s submissions and critique their work.
This critique of 2000 to 7000 words is not as easy as it sounds. As it is a first draft then spelling, grammar and punctuation is not an issue. Not even ‘Show, don’t tell’ is an issue you can highlight.
I often write at the top of my submission that all I am interested in is how fast it is progressing and what the voice of the narration sounds like to the reader.
I have to congratulate Joe Bunting in creating such a helpful course.

Short Story Review

My Short Story –Newton’s Second Damn Law in Short Fiction Break – 8th Nov. 2017 was reviewed and here is the feedback:

You nailed the countdown theme with this one. I really like the self-aware humor, like “my face was experiencing a strange reorganisation by the wind.” The tension really ramps up when the parachute fails to come out.

The technical terms are interesting, but to be honest, something which the reader will probably skim over. It’s hard to know what those values mean, but if you can put the speeds in context (say, x times the speed of a cheetah, for example), it makes it more relatable to the reader.

Also, reading this felt somewhat more like reading someone’s journal than reading a story. It has the countdown theme, it has a climactic occurrence, but there is no decision on the part of the main character, no choice he has to make to reach the climax. It all seems to happen to him, in a way. If, for instance, something had happened to the instructor and he was left in charge of pulling the parachute, this would force the character to act, which is what makes for a strong story.

You have a lovely writing style, and I hope you keep writing!

*****

This is a well-written story, with all the factual elements added giving it more sense of realism. As the MC prepares to jump, then does so, the protagonist’s doubts and fears are well-shown. The views and experience of free-falling also described well the situation.

What I think lacked for me is perhaps a sense of danger in the story. There is no indication until the end that something could go wrong. Perhaps if a hint was given early in the story, I would be mentalized that this wonderful experience could go terribly wrong.

While the technical information gave the story credibility, I think it might have been better to keep it to a minimum, and use the available word count to emphasize more the potential dangers.

The ending did indeed almost end in tragedy, but there wasn’t too much sense that the protagonist’s life was in danger, or great panic from him.

By enhancing that sense of urgency or panic, a good story can be so much better. Good luck

The Winter Writing Contest

The Writing Short Stories by The Write Practice and join their Contest Here.

Maximum length: 1,500 words, — as Google Docs counts them. Many writing softwares count words differently; it’s to do with hyphens and apostrophes.

Contest theme: Countdown. Your character has a deadline. It might be a cancer prognosis giving him 6 months to live, a blackmailer giving her twenty-four hours to comply before a secret is revealed, a few more minutes until the clock strikes midnight and his one true love vanishes, or something else entirely. Whatever the case, your character is racing against the clock. Tell a story with a countdown.

Enrollment deadline:

To participate, you must enroll for the contest by Tuesday, October 24.

Your story will be due for workshopping on Monday, October 30.

Your final submission is due Monday, November 6.