February 17 – Smut Marathon – Round 1: Thoughts

Today feedback and votes for Round 1 of the Smut Marathon were posted. For those of you not familiar with this enormous, year-long undertaking, now in its second year, here’s a link to information and rules. After a lot of thought and a little bit of hemming and hawing, I decided to participate this year, for a number of reasons – but more on those in a minute.

So I won’t do this for every round (I don’t think), but as a first time participant, and as someone who didn’t have the time/energy to either follow along or participate last time, I thought I’d record my first impressions. I was incredibly energized and – for lack of a better word – inspired by the voting and comments on the writing. In fact that’s probably a big part of why I’m writing this now: I’m excited about the process and want to share that, regardless of where I landed in the rankings (somewhere in the upper third?) A place, by the way, that I feel is just about right, after reading all the entries myself prior to voting.

Now, on to the impressions:

  • Regarding the voting, at first I didn’t realize I could vote for my own story (it was right there in the rules, I just overlooked it.) But I wouldn’t have anyway. I liked what I had written, it felt taut; I liked the conciseness of it, and in writing it, trying to give it nuance and subtlety while still telling a story in so few words was a challenged I really enjoyed. It also spoke to a very specific kink/fantasy of mine, so I enjoyed getting to drop myself into the story while writing it. In fact this is how all of my published works have been written. But when I read the others, I was hugely impressed by the depth of sensory impact some of the writers were able to impart in so few sentences. I loved the sensuality in so many of them, and recognized that was a piece that mine had lacked. Interestingly, that was a deliberate choice on my part (the remoteness of it, the detachment) was part of the story for me; but in reading others I was drawn to the opposite kind of story. I think what my story lacked was “connection,” the very thing I found compelling in the ones I chose. As the writer of several longer pieces of writing, I knew that the connection would come in the fullness of the story – or if not, the lack would be seen to be deliberate and part of the tenor of the story – but that was the point of the exercise, to make that fullness happen within the constraints set by the story guidelines. Which is exactly what the stories that I enjoyed most did. They made me feel something about the connection itself.
  • This process, of writing in the dark, not knowing how others would handle it, nor really what was expected, but then reading the others, first with only my own thoughts and opinions about them, and then with the feedback that was given, was incredibly illuminating and very much a learning opportunity for me. I loved it. It inspired me, it challenged me, it taught me.
  • I was so very impressed with the feedback given. Wow. My story was very minimally commented on, but I was glad for the feedback I was given – it was spot on and I learned from it. But more than that, I learned from everyone else’s feedback as well. (Yeah I’m *that* kind of obsessive-compulsive writing nerd – I went through every piece of feedback and connected it back to the story so I could understand what the commenter was talking about – and if I agreed or not. It was fun. Really.)
  • Regarding the feedback, and those who left some: you folks, that took so much time and energy and were so thoughtful in your comments, you rock. I *didn’t* comment this round, because frankly I wasn’t sure that (like with the question could I vote for myself) I wasn’t sure as a participant if I was supposed to. Also, tbh, I was unsure what was expected in feedback. I had some general ideas and then a few thoughts about specific pieces, especially the ones I liked and why. I wish I would have shared them now, and definitely will in future.
  • As for how the writing itself went. It’s been a year since I was last published, and that only happened last minute and what I think of as “accidentally.” It was the first piece of fiction I had written (except a very rare few pieces here on the blog, which, for some weird reason I categorize differently in my head than writing for publication or the public, even if it *is* fiction) since W passed, and so the Smut Marathon was a very deliberate and specific challenge I presented to myself. I don’t know what has held me back from writing fiction for so long, but I know myself well enough to know that I needed something to push me back into it, if I was going to write again. For me the SM is almost…heh…”writing therapy.” Or writing bootcamp? ;-) So what I wanted to get out of it is something deeply personal – and that wasn’t necessarily critiques or “learning” so much. I wanted a reason to force myself to think about writing again, to think about storytelling, to think about the craft of writing. To push me into my writer’s head again. But what I got, just from this first round, was so much more, and so unexpected; it quite turned my head. :-) I am delighted and enamored of this challenge I set myself. Now, does that mean I will follow-thru with it to the end (or until they have made an end of me?) I don’t know. Follow-thru has always been my biggest personal challenge (perhaps that’s also why I have set myself this task, to test that; to try to forge something new in myself.)

We shall see.

 

Comments

  1. Elliott

    Oh, I have to go see yours. I’m not sure I have ever read any fiction from Jade. SM is fun to do. Love seeing you at work. Wow, high heel writer, that is an interesting pose.

    Reply
  2. Marie Rebelle

    I am so happy to read this is already such a positive experience for you! Like you, I learn from the feedback given on the stories. It helps me in my own writing. I am happy that I am not alone in this. Thanks so much for writing this, Jade!

    Rebel xox

    PS: Could you link this on the Smut Marathon page so others can read your post too? http://smut.rebelsnotes.com/links/

    Reply

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