Thursday, 23 February 2012

Progress within fridges

Well its been almost a month since my last post, not that you can’t read a date stamp or anything and its been 23 days of short story goodness.
I began the year with a story about a daring, deadly youth that gets maliciously recruited in the dark of the Necromundan underhive, then moved to a story about a man locked in a fridge.
Well fridge-ship. And not really a man. He’s not really locked in either.

The 1st was a rather pre-planned story, adapted from a rushed and therefore failed manuscript that I submitted last year. That adaptation may have been a mistake as reverting to read last years work is like switching from google chrome to Internet explorer.
‘Oh god, why is that there. Why is it so slow? Why are they trying to do that?’
Happily, aside from a few stolen names and a few heavily tweaked scenes there should be little resemblance to the previous concoction (take the hint Microsoft)
Its readable I hear. That opinion may be relying slightly too much on the opinion of my (2) test readers however as I honestly struggle to read it at all. I can only see the story as a creative process that I’ve taken rather than as a separate entity. As a tactic to bypass this overpowering snow-blindness I’ve ported it to other formats, such as an epub to read on my phone, and using an ipad reader to view it in bed. Both help. Though both then mean I want to tweak them immediately. As I read at the gym that can be rather problematic.

The 2nd is a rather more organically grown story, driven by a few sentences that simply ran on, and on. Looking back to its conception I found that the initial idea morphed so drastically within the very first page to become unrecognisable. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
It’s a nice romp however. I’ve gone back over the easy-flowing first draft and edited it from start.
I’ll share a golden nugget with you. A practice I’ve developed (convergent to other writers I’d assume) is to focus on one project entirely, then revisit the others with fresh eyes, epub and ipad both help that process. Otherwise editing stems from questions propagated by my own head.
Is it a story I want to read? Is the sentence length appropriate, for the eyes of the average reader (me) and for sufficient verb/adjective inclusions? Do I need more descriptive text, do I need less? Is the dialogue too flowery? Are there enough headbutts and choke-holds to hold the attention of the reader.

Writing this stuff down reminds and actively enforces me of something I read a while ago.
A study read that as you get older if you aren’t forcing knowledge into your brain with the enthusiasm of a hyperactive polyglot with ADHD and pushy parents you will, and do, mentally stagnate. It reasoned that learning to learn was a bit factor in keeping memory constant and healthy. Makes sense I suppose. Old Tauntauns could only be stuffed with the next Skywalker if they’ve had big enough meals throughout their life.
So back to writing.
The 2nd story is different but potentially linked, very canonical but obscure canon from the 40k sense. (Every small word secretly wants to become canon when it grows up big and strong). It still needs a second edit, synopsis and summary, as does the 1st  but the bones are there. I can imagine I’ll chop and rewrite big chunks soon, there’s a nice entry paragraph that might suit a novel, but maybe not a short story, emphasis on short Mark, SHORT.

So, the next challenge will be a third story that I’m going to try and complete before May (BL’s submission period). I’m slightly worried that I’m churning one out every forty days at this rate so I may pace myself slightly and just make sure the other two get edited correctly.
Personal stuff? Well my car is in for an MOT on Monday and I’m not sure how I’m going to get back from the test centre, that’s a fairly large challenge I’ll face in the next few days. Tough stuff.

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