September 13th, 2013

breeden

Not Always Killing Your Darlings

So there’s this lengthy scene in my current manuscript (which just came back for edits) involving a goldfish.

It is awesome. I say this in all modesty. It is the Hero’s Journey with a goldfish. I had a lot of fun writing it.

One of the edits is that there’s too much going on at the end and a couple of threads that don’t resolve and it occurred to me that if I just hacked out the bit with the goldfish, it would fix some of these concerns and cut a few thousand words.

Common writing wisdom has it that I should ruthlessly slice this out, throw it to the winds, kill my darlings. Sure, it’s painful! That’s how you know it’s working! PAIN IS EDITS LEAVING THE MANUSCRIPT!

I offered to slice out the goldfish.

My agent, my editor, AND my beta reader all came back and said “NOT THE GOLDFISH!” It was like I had the goldfish in front of the firing squad and everybody threw themselves over the bowl yelling “Take me instead!”

I guess the goldfish stays.

Huh.

So, y’know, the moral is that sometimes, just occasionally, it’s painful because you shouldn’t be messing with it.

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.

breeden

The Hidden Almanac

So it happened like this…

A bunch of friends of mine kept telling me that I needed to listen to this podcast called “Welcome to NightVale” because it was delightful and weird. Several of them described it as “Lake Woebegone meets Lovecraft.”

I did indeed listen to the podcast, and it was indeed delightful and weird, and you should totally go track it down because they deserve all the acclaim they get.

However.

It is not at all like Lake Woebegone meets Lovecraft. Lake Woebegone is the town in Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, of which I happen to be a totally rabid fan* and I was going “Oh my god, do any of these people listen to Prairie Home Companion? Because this is not that! This is a very nice little community radio spoof, and PHC…is a radio variety show with a monologue. Seriously! And anyway, if you were going to do a parody on a Garrison Keillor show and make it freaky and weird, you wouldn’t even pick PHC because it’s too long and you’d have to be a master humorist to pull off the small town thing and you can only throw tentacles at a Lutheran pastor so many times before it stops being funny so obviously the one you’d want to parody would be the little short daily podcast he does called The Writer’s Almanac where he talks about stuff on this day in history and then reads a poem and ohshitthisisactuallyagoodidea.”

From this we can conclude that the inside of my head hates and fears punctuation. And that I was staring at the Farmer’s Almanac calendar on the wall next to my desk. And that I clearly don’t have enough to do with my free time.

So, um, from there we got to this. Which is a podcast that I wrote and made Kevin read. Which is about three minutes long, and called The Hidden Almanac, and tells you about what happened on this day in history in a totally fictional world mostly inside my head, tells you what feast-day of what totally nonexistent Saint it is, and provides some questionably helpful gardening tips.

It is about three minutes long and will occur Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, until we get bored or you people start mailing us roadkill to make us stop. (Please do not mis-address the roadkill to KUEC. We will not eat roadkill on KUEC unless it comes in a prepackaged container with heating instructions.)

You can download the latest (there’s only one right now, but we’ve got a couple of weeks in the bag) or listen to it online at www.hiddenalmanac.com

iTunes links will be up and running shortly!

 

*Yes, okay, Vin Diesel, Garrison Keillor, David Attenborough, My Little Pony…I’m complicated, okay? 

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.