The Disproportionate View of the Negative

Two days ago I got the notification that the NYC Midnight Short Story contest final results were up. I delayed opening the email, because I knew my third round story had not been as strong as my first two and I didn’t expect to do well. I finally clicked through, scanned just enough to confirm that there had not been a miracle, and I closed the page. Another email came with my feedback — every story in the contest gets feedback from multiple judges — and I didn’t even open it. I was busy, it wasn’t going anywhere, and I already knew there were problems with my story.

Yesterday morning, I opened the feedback email. Their feedback format is to collate the positive notes first, followed by the collated critical notes. I read the first couple of sentences on what the judges liked, then read down — and I realized that I was barely skimming, skipping over all the nice compliments to look for the coming negatives on what the judges felt needed work. Continue reading

Notebooks & Writers

I haven’t handwritten stories since… elementary school, I think. /thinks back/ Oops, no, there was some terrible self-insertion fanfic I wrote during pre-algebra back in middle school, before I knew that even had a name (because we didn’t have public internet yet, for which I thank God, or I might have posted it). Anyway, I adopted typing for storytelling early on, as soon as we had a Tandy computer from Radio Shack.

I do know some writing friends who handwrite their first drafts, however, and quite a lot who handwrite their outlines and notes. And there is evidence that writing by hand helps you retain more, if taking notes, or be more creative, if inventing.

Energel Pen affiliate link to Amazon
And it comes in glorious colors.

I resisted. But eventually I found a pen I loved, in an elegant metal form which feels so classy, which can be refilled so it’s environmentally responsible, and I discovered that I actually don’t dislike writing by hand nearly so much as I dislike writing with lame pens. A quality instrument made all the difference. I got a notebook, and then another, and I filled them with plot notes, lines to be tucked into dialogue, ideas, etc.

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