January 29, 2017

WRITING ADVICE: Can This Story Be SAVED? #9 “Late Archaic Unicorn” (Submitted 8 Times Since , Never revised)

In September of 2007, I started this blog with a bit of writing advice. A little over a year later, I discovered how little I knew about writing after hearing children’s writer, In April of 2014, I figured I’d gotten enough publications that I could share some of the things I did “right”. I’ll keep that up, but I’m running out of pro-published stories. I don’t write full-time, nor do I make enough money with my writing to live off of it, but someone pays for and publishes ten percent of what I write. Hemingway’s quote above will remain unchanged as I work to increase my writing output and sales, but I’m adding this new series of posts because I want to carefully look at what I’ve done WRONG and see if I can fix it. As always, your comments are welcome!

ANALOG Tag Line: What if unicorns were real?

Elevator Pitch (What Did I Think I Was Trying To Say?): If unicorns actually existed at one time, what would we do if that history was actually protected information of Aboriginal peoples everywhere?

Opening Line: “Tierra Land had seen the images a thousand times, but never live.”

Onward: From there, my main character meets a handsome stranger – he shows her his painting, they go on a date and agree to write a paper together. Pretty simple. Some might say, “Where’s the rest of the story?”

What Was I Trying To Say? That there are things we think we know, “There’s no such thing as a REAL unicorn!” when the fact is that science and scientists don’t know everything – and that there will, in fact be some things that we can’t know.

While saying that there are things we might never know seems antithetical to the definition: “a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe” (Wikipedia) nowhere does it mention infallibility – and no scientist anywhere can say with certainty that the science of ANYTHING is settled. It was once settled that the speed of light was a constant and a mathematical symbol created for it – as in E=mc2 (where c is a constant representing 300,000,000 m/s), but it’s just as well known today that the speed of light is not always constant… https://www.sciencenews.org/article/speed-light-not-so-constant-after-all.

The definition above absolutely intends to mean the first definition of “enterprise” – which is “a project or undertaking, typically one that is difficult or requires effort”, but the authors also noticed the second definition: “a business or company”, which is ALSO what science is; and what the current commander-in-chief has some experience in dealing with…

The Rest of the Story: It’s a short-short, a bit over two thousand words long. Too long for flash, but short enough to say what I wanted to say – without going on to have them involved in some kind of intrigue, love drawing them together and making it into a 10,000 word novella. It’s not what I was interested in doing. I just wanted to pose an interesting thought, sketch an image, and have something interesting happen. Could I pad it? Sure! But that’s not what I set out to do…

End Analysis: I still like this story, though I thought of two changes I could make: first, I’m going to move sentence from early on page 2 and make it the first sentence. It will set up the story better. Secondly, I’ll give a clearer description of the unicorn in the main character’s painting.

Can This Story Be Saved?  Yup. In fact, I’ll make the changes above today, and send it out afterward!

Rejection 1: 1/30/17

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