March 16, 2016
I have a brand-spanking new story for you to read.
“That Game We Played During the War” is now live on Tor.com. Go forth and read! I hope you like it.
This story will always be special to me and here’s why: So, I’ve been in various critique groups and writing workshops for over twenty years. I joined a local in-person one in 1995, stayed with them a couple of years, went to Odyssey which was 6 weeks of in-depth critiquing, did some online workshops for a few years, had a really slam-bang telephone/conference call critique group from about 2001 to 2007, and since then, every year or so I go to a one-off professional workshop where, again, in-depth critiquing.
Every so often a story comes through the group where no one has any suggestions for improvement. All the comments are some variation of “This is fine, send it out right now.” Maybe one or two dissensions, but the story is universally praised as being fine just the way it is, and trying to change anything would ruin it. This kind of a critique is rare and deeply sought after. Mainly because we all wish all our stories would be deemed perfect as is, but that’s rarely the case.
One of my goals has been to someday write a story that gets that kind of critique at a workshop. Get the perfect, “This is great the way it is” comments.
“That Game We Played During the War” is the story that finally did it when I took it to Rio Hondo last year. Good job, little story!
(This isn’t to say I didn’t make any changes. There were a couple points of confusion and a couple places where I massaged things to make it cleaner and smoother. But mostly, I tried not to mess up what everyone had responded to so enthusiastically. And that — not messing up what’s good about a story — is as important to learn as how to fix the problems.)