Friday, February 10, 2012

Brevity Is The Soul Of Discretion

I really haven't made any effort thus far to make any goals for this year, writing-wise, which really says a lot for the fact I am absolutely useless at that sort of thing. I've lost all self-confidence for starters, but I just need through it, I suppose. To that end I sucked it up and entered the Twitter-length fiction contest I mentioned the other day, against my own better judgement. Ha. I also had an interesting little experiment, because an email had come through from the kindly folk who run NaNoWriMo about Pitchpalooza.

In essence, this is just about pitching your NaNoWriMo novel to these people and hopefully winning a prize. The trick is that you have to do it in two hundred words. As you've heard from me already, brevity is not my forte. At all. So I took one look at the email, laughed, and said YEAH RIGHT.

Half an hour later I was furiously editing an attempt at a query letter for Greywater I had been working on in December or something. I'd given up at around three hundred and fifty words. So, I got to distilling, and I's such an interesting exercise, and I really ought to try doing it for a lot of other things I've written. I love to write, obviously, but I'm freeform and highly indulgent. I don't really edit very well. But the Twitter fic and this two hundred word pitch taught me to be more selective about my words, cutting away the chaff and going for the evocative rather than the merely elaborate. It also gave me hope, that I'll be able to edit this first draft of Greywater down from 167k to at least 150k, if not lower. Because that is my goal, this year. Getting that to a submissible state and then submitting the hell out of it.

For posterity, here is the synopsis. In the meantime, I am tired from a long walk and I need some sleep. As usual. I'll probably just go back to talking to Arjit about his obsession with wielding the sword of a pacifist in a war said pacifist never wanted. Or so we were led to believe. Hmm.

When Major Otho Calenta, on leave from active service, is summoned to the prison-city of Aran Nomese to convince a reclusive inmate to lead her once-lauded army into battle, he doesn’t know how he’s expected to achieve his goal. Not only is a she a centuries-old water elemental sorcerously imprisoned by the earth-god of his country, he knows already the bitter taste of crusades long since lost.

Raised from childhood to believe his duty is to take up his sword and protect the innocent, upon arrival at the broken-down palace of Greywater Otho feels obligated to attempt his mission. But between the peculiar machinations of the lupine Attorney-General of Lonan and his own troubled conscience, he sees little reason to incite a pacifist creature to murder. His reticence only grows when a prickly friendship mixes curiosity and craving between them.

Greywater is a novel set in a fantastical world where love and lust shadow a tale of loss and longing, where a soldier and a creature of ice and water meet on an unequal field to engage in the oldest battle: the one where you must learn to save yourself before you even dream of trying to save anyone else.

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