Aphelion Issue 230, Volume 22
July 2018
 
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Another month, another issue...

I'm sure that everyone knows that it is almost time for another Presidential election here in the US. Go out and vote this November. Make your voice heard. No matter whom you support, your vote is important. OK, that is all I have to say on the matter.

As for writing, I'm doing it. Are you? If not, then why not? Writing is something that takes practice. You don't get any better at it if you don't do it on a regular basis. Most professional writers agree that producing at least a set amount of words per day is one of the best methods of becoming a better writer. 1000 words seems to be the most frequently reported number of words per day recommended by pros who take the time to make recommendations. That's only one Flash Fiction piece a day - Or two pages of printed text, for those of you who keep track of such things. Some writers that I know recommend that you just keep plowing ahead, producing text, until you have a finished story to edit. Their opinion is, and I agree, that edits and revisions are best done on a completed work. Otherwise, you can fall into the trap of endless edits, never actually getting any further on the story as you polish and re-polish the scrap that you have. I think that they're right. Start editing and revising too soon and you'll never actually reach the end of the story that you've started. There's a time for edits, and that time is after you have a completed first draft. After that, you can go back in and start fixing broken sentences, grammatical errors, plot holes, and clumsy dialog. Endless editing is a time-wasting diversion. Something that will keep you from ever reaching the end of your tale. Sure, there's going to be loads of stuff that you'll need to fix, but if you try to fix it too soon you can fall into the trap, the never-ending side-track, the desire to polish and edit and correct until you've got every word just right - But you never wind up reaching the end of the story. You can polish all you like, but if you don't have the whole story before you start the revisions, you're wasting your precious writing time.

Even if you can't think of the next day's wordage, write anyway. You can always delete it later, after the first draft is done. Actually, don't just delete the stuff you decide to edit out. Save it to a separate file, so that you can mine it later for any gems that you might have produced whilst you were in the throes of creation. Save the excised stuff. It might fit into something else that you're writing later. Who knows what you might wind up making use of in the future?

That's why it's called a "rough draft" in the first place. You're not supposed to polish every word until it shines. Not until you have that first, rough draft. You can polish yourself right out of having a completed first draft that way. The time-wasting, mind-numbing, "got to get this section perfect before I can start the next chapter" urge is a trap. We all need to be too smart to fall into that trap.

Write now. Revise later. Write every day. Edit when the rough draft is complete. Tell the whole story, then go back and fix the errors. It's really easier that way. Plus, you wind up with whole stories instead of just partial drafts that sit around going nowhere. It is work. It isn't easy. But I know that you can do it. You're here at Aphelion because the urge to write has bitten you, and bitten you hard. You owe it to yourself to go the whole distance. You owe it to the people who will be reading your stories once you have them done and have gone through the editing process. But most of all, you owe it to your stories, themselves.

Now I think it's time for me to shut up and let you go read...

Dan