Today at the university, I put the photocopier card to the machine. 97 credits left. Whoopee.
Stuck a printout in it. Chomp chomp chomp.
45 credits left.
So far, there's 52 pages of Avarthrel stories. That's pretty much for something that started in the summer and to what I haven't had much time to devote to.
The thing is now on paper. And when it's paper, I can really read it. And when I can really read it, I can spot errors easier.
Holy cow, does the writing on my new stories ever stink.
But hey, the difference between a beginner and a serious person is that the serious person tunes the thing until it doesn't stink. And that's what I'm doing. The only bad thing is that I'm subjecting my beta readers to suffer the same anguish. Maybe I should put disclaimers to this. (Then again, if the other beta reader got past the first few pages, maybe he does have nerves of steel.)
And I particularly value the fact that I now know exactly how I stink.
Here's one major bad thing I've noticed about my stories. It's the "things happen" syndrome. Pirates in the Morning Mist has basically this set-up: The Protagonists go to one place. They find out things. "Hmm, looks like things are happening." They go back home. "Oh wow, things have happened." The second of the new stories has this sort of problem: "Wow, we sure could use some MacGuffins. Why? Well, uh, we have a lame reason." They nearly effortlessly get the MacGuffins from the Obvious MacGuffin Factory, while the other kind of MacGuffins automatically materialise. "Now we have both kinds of MacGuffins! The day is saved!"
I need to think about this. Seriously. I think it's just that in PitMM's case, I thought of a good way to wrap up the plot. Then, all of sudden, the characters just started following along those rails. "Let's wrap up the author's story! Mmm, fascinating things planned along the way!" In the new story's case, it's probably just that I figured out a good plot, but haven't yet figured out where to really find the muscles to attach to the bones.
I also need to focus more on little details.
And I definitely, definitely need to read the story over and over before I publish it. The newest story improved a lot with two read-throughs with speech synthesizer; I can't possibly imagine what possibilities will open with a paper copy and pen.
One of the things I've noted in Wikipedia is that I'm afraid of making small edits, even when I'm good at small edits. I have lately learned to fix small problems immediately as I spot it, because otherwise I forget, and no one will do it; now would be a good idea to apply the principle to my own writings.