Anyway, we had a very good last Advanced Fiction class, and not just because the professor brought cake. We had each written a two-to-three-page piece for the class, and the professor printed them onto transparencies. He had a person pick one out of the stack at random, then had someone edit it on the overhead projector (with some class input). It was really helpful! (I just realized that I'd never given my professor's name! He is, in fact, best-selling war writer David L. Robbins, and you can check out his cred here.) Anyway, Professor Robbins is great at telling us why an edit is a good one. In one case, a fantasy piece with winged characters, a character was trying to be sneaky. The sentence read:
"[He] flapped his wings." A sentence followed indicating that he would fly in order to be quieter than walking.
I read and reread these sentences, then said, "I really want that to say 'he spread his wings,' not 'he flapped his wings,' but I don't know why."
Professor Robbins pointed out that this was contradictory onomatopoeia - "flapping" is not quiet. This seems obvious, actually, but at the time I just couldn't see why I wanted to change that verb.
Good news! Spindle is up online! It looks excellent. Also, there you can read my short story "Five Days of Health Rabbitry" (under "prose" on the left-hand sidebar).
In other good news, RavenCon is this weekend! I have attended this literarily-focused sci-fi/fantasy convention twice already, and it has been fabulous. My science fiction/fantasy club friends and I are heading to the con today, and I expect to learn great new things and have loads of fun.