Saturday, 30 October 2010

Infernal Passions

Writing can seem eternal and infernal sometimes... you take out a word, you put it back in. You swap two phrases in a sentence back and forth. You think you've got it right... you go away, come back, and... decide it was better the way you originally had it.

But writing is a passion, it has to be, because there is no instant success (for most people, at least) you have to keep going, keep trying.

I’m going to talk a little about process. When I said last time about the way I intended that story to work (with an easy image, then an intrigue hook, then a narrowing of the plot), I was simplifying. I should clarify: I did not have this in mind when I began. I had an idea, and I wrote. When the first draft was out I saw the shape of the story and I was able to hone it. Much in the way I have heard that sculptors or whittlers say the shape of the final piece is already there within the stone or wood and they are just uncovering it; discovering it, if you like.

This is where the editing comes in. The major stuff like shuffling whole paragraphs or removing whole sentences and the minor tuning, the odd word or two. I've been doing a lot of that this week. Trying to write a couple of pieces for a horror competition.

Ideally, one of your best editing tools is space. Time to step away from the story, step back, and return to it later with fresh eyes. Something I didn't really have time for. However, there is another great tool, which is other people. Whatever it seems like in your head, as a writer you have full access to the intention of the story, which an outsider does not.

So those stories have been despatched... I'll let you know if anything comes of it. Just trying to get my name out there really.

I can’t remember where This Infernal Waiting came from. I’m not convinced the transition from establishing shot to story is thoroughly smooth. I think, again, it is too much tell and not enough show. But I like the opening and in this case I am going to indulge myself and let it slide. Not very professional but then... no one is paying me, so I can allow myself a little indulgence now and then. ;)

Having said that, I do think the story is the strongest so far. You might argue that the set-up seems more of a limbo than an inferno, but that makes for a far less interesting title...

Also, I've thought of a name for this first collection of stories. It is a pleasing metaphor:

Lost and Found

Since it is a collection of Missing Pieces. Since the whole project was born out of me losing my way a little and trying to find my way again. When this initial run is complete I will probably re-order the collection and produce a preferred reading order. The order I would have the pieces in were they ever to see print.

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