Wednesday, May 30, 2012

That guy in the back?

Yes, I'm drinking coffee and writing. No, I'm not staring at you, I'm just gazing off into space as I work.

So, I realize most people don't sit in coffee shops for 4 hours at a time like I do. Their bathroom breaks probably don't smell like an empty coffee mug either. Ah, the perils of the industry. Not the point.

People come in, sit in front of the bar, and do...I don't know. Something. Their empty tables encourage me to wonder why they stayed. Sometimes they pull out a (still very trendy as long as you're in a coffee shop,) ipad, and maybe do some work (aka, look at hilarious cats.)

Maybe I just choose the wrong seat, or maybe I should work on staring at a blank wall, but generally, these people occupy the table directly in my "stare at nothing" sight-line. You know the one. The direction I stare when looking out the window at the people who walk by, seeing each one struggle with the difficult choice of taco bell vs arbys. (I'm not judgmental or anything...) My general "wrestling with life and trying to come up with a better verb for climb"-looking direction.

But, after a while, the people at these tables seem to notice that my gaze often seems to fall upon them. Or maybe not. To me it seems they notice. Then, heads are combined in hushed discussion. (I can't actually tell, I have headphones on.) Papers are shuffled.

Shortly after, with furtive glances at me, or perhaps I occupy their general "gaze out the window" direction, they gather their things. Like Eddie Izzard miming a worried store owner, all agape and speechless.

They leave.

Maybe they only had twenty minutes for lolcats. Maybe I've just spooked some middle aged soccer moms, what with my terrifying demeanor.

I am, after all, a man, in public. Males are terrifying. Why, a male might try anything. Like, talking to you! Even without ulterior motives, maybe he's just being polite, you'll be frozen in place, unsure what to say to "Is this your phone?" As he hands you the missing article (dangerously recovered from the ground, where you deliberately dropped it while coming out of the restroom,) of cat and children photos and regular texting-while-driving. Then what will you do?

Run. There are no other solutions.

Maybe I'm not that guy. Maybe I'm watching criminals plan bank robberies and they don't like my vague, unfocused attention.

I seem to have written myself into a corner here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Done! (For now.)

Huh. Was thinking about how to edit a story, how to tweak a little part for a bigger impact, when I realized I do not have the writing skill to make the story flow the way I imagine it working.

I can tweak and prod and pull all day long and in the end, I won't be able to tell if or when its doing what I want it to do.

I cannot make this story any better. At least for now.

And THAT, my friends, is how I know when I'm done with a story. I think I can trim a few parts of it out (maybe cut 500-1k words,) but once I have the story doing as much as I can wring out of it? Cutting becomes easy once my content is in place.

So, chop a bit out here and there (I'm pretty sure I know where already,) and send it off again. I'll let editors tell me if they like or dislike a part.