The problem with being a newbie writer, or even an old-bie writer, isn’t the absence of advice and information. For example, wanna know how to writer better dialogue? There’s a book for that. Or an “app.” Likely several. As well as numerous blog postings and articles available online and free.
Some of the advice out there is good; some possibly cooked up while shooting heroin. But a bigger problem–for me anyway–was sorting out which of the good advice actually applied to me.
When I started writing my first novel, I was told that in order to break in, find an agent, etc., I had to first publish some short stories. In a rare fit of obedience, I dutifully cranked out a few short stories.
No writing is truly a waste of time. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. But writing short fiction, when short fiction isn’t your thing, is sort of like practicing the mambo when you really would rather dance ballet. It adds to your repertoire and builds skills. But it may ultimately be a distraction from what you should be doing.
So I wrote short stories. Most of them set in the world of The Improbable Child, aka, Regan O’Connell, aka, the milleue of The Music of Chaos. Most are fun, flawed, and not publishable. (I.e., no editor is going to pay me for my efforts.)
“Keep Away from Naked Flame” is in my humble opinion, one of my best stories. In fact, if I just kept waiting, and submitting, it would probably find the right market. But, instead, I’m going to pop it first rights cherry here and post it. It’s a funny story of yet another of Regan’s misadventures in diplomacy, accompanied by her best pal, Talis the dark elf.
Also under the new Extras section on this blog, I posted a couple of outtakes/cut scenes from The Music of Chaos. Both were deleted because they didn’t add much to the story. Think of them as the stuff, back when films were actually on “film,” the bits that ended up on the cutting room floor.