REVIEW: End of Month Reviews #30 - June 2006 [spoilers]

Tom Russell milos_parker at
Mon Jul 10 07:00:03 PDT 2006

Saxon Brenton wrote:
> On Monday 10 June 2006 Tom Russell <milos_parker at> replied:
> [...]
> Okay, I need to ask this even if it get seems insulting.  Tom, you typically
> reply within
> a few hours with a lengthy and well thought out post.  Do you have this
> stuff
> prepared in advance, or are you really capable of doing replies quickly and
> coherently
> at length?  :-)

I'm not insulted in the least; I think that's a compliment. :-)

In answer to your question, no, I don't have stuff prepared in advance.
 I think my big advantage is that I think only a little faster than I
type; 125 words per minute means that you can get a lot of verbiage out
there.  Then it's simply a matter of refinement, of making sure one
idea flows to another and cutting out the extraneous thoughts.

I'm not really a fast writer, even though I'm a prolific one.
Something like the Green Knight Annual, for example, took nearly two
months of actual writing to complete.  The pre-writing process--
figuring out the rough plot and the themes I want to tackle and how I
want to tackle them and what the set-pieces are-- for that story, I've
been working on it since the beginning of the year.  The Human Zeppelin
story has been in my head, in one way or the other, since Jamie Rosen
gave the shout-out for Eightfold in the first place.  It just took a
long time to figure out how I wanted to go about it.

Once that's done, though, words just kind of spill out at me-- probably
closer to eighty a minute when I'm writing fiction and really in the
zone-- and I can hammer out a rough draft fairly quickly.  Then comes
editing, and if you think my stories are long as posted, then you
should see the long versions. :-)  Something like the Nostalgics, I
typically have to cut two or three pages to get it to where I'm happy
with it.

Usually, when I'm done with a story, when I'm happy with it, I post it.
 Now, three or four months later, I might see some other part that I
should have cut, or, in the case of an LNH story, a gag that doesn't
work-- but in general, my work of the past year or two, I've been very
happy with.  Even the Green Knight TEB, which lost, by my count, some
fifteen pages of the initial text, is pretty much the same as the
version that won Favourite Miniseries, just tighter and more focused.

Editing is usually not so much a case of catching typos or refining
sloppy prose, but more akin to film editing, in which what you're
really trying to do is focus.  It's a matter of choosing the best of
two character moments, or making sure there's a reason one scene
follows another, and basically a matter of finding the _best_ way to
get certain ideas across.  What's the best way to get this emotion
across, to make it work?  The best way to get my theme across?

And that, in the end, is probably why I can toss off a lengthy bit of
commentary within a very short period of time; I do a lot of thinking
about my choices and my themes, and so discussing those comes very


I did want to add, apropos the Nostalgics and Jason's frustrations,
that I think his discontent will be a major factor in his betrayal.
Though any evil act is, in some way, a selfish one, Jason's betrayal is
not selfish in quite the same way as, say, the betrayal in NET.HEROES
ON PARADE.  There's no one that he betrays them to, nothing corporeal
that he gains from it.

Which is why I'm interested in exploring it. :-)


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