Looking back (and not having reread the stories I’ve written yet – I’m saving that for after the year), I can honestly say I haven’t disliked or even been disappointed by any of the stories I’ve written so far for this project. The third month – the one with the sentences needing to be incorporated – was probably the weakest story, though I think my actual inclusion of the sentences was done pretty seamlessly. But I have to say that I’ve been pretty proud of everything I’ve written.
I’m now wondering if I’m just not a harsh enough critic of my work, or if I am “discounting” my expectations because of the time limits we’ve imposed, or if simply I’m writing good pieces. The small amounts of feedback we’ve been getting are largely positive, so either people are afraid of hurting our feelings or they generally like what we’re producing. Or, most likely, the people with really negative things to say aren’t chiming in at all. That’s fine, though seriously, we can take it. We’d like any and all feedback (email firstname.lastname@example.org)
As for August, I again liked what I came up with. This was one of the most limiting topics depending on how strictly you followed the letter of the topic. Originally, I didn’t plan for the guy to be a con man, nor did I anticipate him being “blackmailed” particularly. I just was going to make it that he had to help the police solve a murder he committed. In fact, in Aaron’s story, he was a con man, but didn’t seem like he was blackmailed at all. The more I wrote mine, the better I was able to figure out that it was quite natural to make the guy a con man (and a sleazy one at that). He is not entirely blackmailed, but given an enticing offer by the police because they knew info about him. So it was close to blackmail, but not blackmail in the strictest sense. I’m okay with that.
In my opinion, regardless of the “change” in style (the tone I used was I felt extremely different from my normal style, though Ash though it was more pretty similar to my style but with more swearing), I felt it came off as pretty clever. I’m not sure the plausibility of the science of it (I have one month to write, and unfortunately that is not enough time to do the proper research I would have needed, so there’s some suspension-of-disbelief needed), but I am sure that the characters have real motives and act accordingly. The ending to me isn’t much of a letdown.
I’m working on not telling everything quite so plainly, leaving a little to work out as a reader. I think that’s because I’ve been reading Verner Vinge’s stuff, and he really challenges his readers. In general I don’t. I’m trying to start, though how successful I am is certainly debatable. Anyway, I’d be interested to see what Aaron thinks. For some reason, I don’t think this will be his favorite.