April 15, 2012

WRITING ADVICE – SL Viehl #2: Quantum Writing I

I stumbled across the writing of Sheila Kelly (aka SL Viehl, Gena Gale, Jessica Hall, Rebecca Kelly and Lynn Viehl) about eleven years ago with the publication of her first novel, STARDOC. I was looking for a the work of a current writer to replace one of my favorite kind of science fiction – human doctors in a space hospital working on aliens. I discovered this genre as an adolescent in Alan E. Nourse’s STAR SURGEON, followed it into James White’s SECTOR GENERAL books and A.M. Lightner’s DOCTOR TO THE GALAXY. S.L. Viehl’s books satisfied that itch – but I learned about a year ago that she is so much more than just a “space hospital” writer! The bits of writing advice in this new ten part series are used with her permission. This one is from: http://pbackwriter.blogspot.com/2011/07/quantum-writing-part-i.html

I’ve been writing since I was thirteen. (That’s one of the reasons I’m a good writing teacher – I started when I was young and now I’m old. I can connect with almost anyone!)

I’ve been writing at POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAYS since September 1, 2007 (actually before that as I started my blog on another host then transferred a bunch of posts here). I started with simple essays but eventually realized that most people didn’t want to ONLY hear me rant, so I expanded my essays to Writing Advice.

It soon became apparent that my simple magazine publications in ANALOG, CRICKET, CICADA, TURTLE, HOPSKOTCH FOR GIRLS, THE WRITER and others didn’t carry enough weight for me to draw in readers. I started writing novels online, “publishing” them as serials.


To understand this better, you can take a look at my current projects: THE RECONSTRUCTION OF MAI LI HASTINGS, SNAPPER XING, MARTIAN HOLIDAY,  and A SHORT LONG JOURNEY NORTH. (For those who understand such things, HEIRS and YUNG LO have been so substantially rewritten as to be entirely different stories; therefore they have not already been published online.)

SL Viehl has some superior observations on this kind of writing, that is, writing more than one thing at a time: “A side note on dedicating the writing time: I know it's difficult for those of you with day jobs and/or busy home lives to find the time. If you don't have the time now to write, you'll have to pass on this. Or you might make the time, which means giving up something. Waking up an hour earlier is the simplest way to do it; if you get up before everyone else does that gives you an hour to write in peace and quiet. If you're spending an hour or two a day texting people, tell your friends you're going to take some time to write and turn off the phone. You can also sacrifice watching your favorite television shows to make time to write (if you're worried about missing something, record the shows while you're working, and hold onto the copies as a reward for yourself when you finish the manuscript.)”

I’m one of those people who have a day job – I’m a high school counselor (ah – I can hear the groans and muttered comments, “Oh, a TEACHER – all he does is sit around on his butt all day long, drink coffee and show movies and/or pretend to be working. I have a REAL job that requires my attention! Plus I don’t get freetime for like, forty weeks of the year with paid summers off to do whatever I want to do!” My suggestion here is to grab your nearest teacher/school counselor and repeat that to them then pause for a response. You might get a broader picture of what’s involved in a teaching/counseling career.)

However, as I indicated above, I’ve completed a YA fantasy, a YA science fiction novel, a First Reader, a picture book manuscript and an adult novel since starting my blog. The YA science fiction novel is with an assistant editor, the picture book novel was turned down by one agent and I’m looking for a new home, the FR is nearing a final edit, the YA fantasy is next up for revision and the adult novel is well under way (though it stalled for a bit while I retooled to rewrite it as a dramedy rather than straight inspirational fiction.)

Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and contemporary author Jan Karon have all written in this manner, so I’m in good company.

Using SL Viehl’s encouraging words and insight, I will continue my journey in novel writing.

Would YOU be able to do this and if so, how? If you loathe the idea and would never bother trying something this crazy, why?


C.L. Dyck said...

Yeah, I find I do tend to write that way. Currently balancing two SF novels, a creative NF and a blog. It allows me to keep some forward momentum while getting a break from individual projects.

GuyStewart said...

That's the thing I like best -- getting breaks from certain writing.