Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Loving the Madness


A change in title format?!

And so a change in identity, if not purpose. Because this blog is not just about the Missing Pieces commentary, it is about more. Sure, blogging commentaries for my weekly Xeroverse posts is a good excuse to make me post here weekly too, but that's always just been a springboard for me to talk about other aspects of writing. As the subtitle says: Thoughts about stories. Ramblings on writing. Comments about my own fiction.

Which I re-ordered to prioritise the fact that mostly I just want to talk about the greatest passion in my life... stories. Over on Missing Pieces I publish a new story every week. That's 52 stories a year that take 5 minutes (at most) to read. 52 more stories a year in your life for almost no extra effort.

One of the reasons I love comics is that in a minimal amount of time I can cram a whole bunch of new story - new plot, new character, new twists. Books can take longer, more of a commitment, but it's a different experience, it's purer in some ways, for me, the written word. Films are good hits. Computer games can have great story-telling, and can be so immersive with the right gameplay.

Now I don't read a lot of literary fiction, which seems to me as often about astute observation of the human condition as it is about storytelling. I've commented before that I feel sometimes I might enjoy a story more if it was only set on a spaceship. That's both tongue-in-cheek and very serious. I like an element of the fantastical to spark my imagination, I'm not saying I don't like character studies and philosophical conundrums in my reading, but only if they're riding the back of an exciting, bucking plot.

I can even easily forgive weak characterisation if there's a cracking story to go with it, the more imagination slopped over it the better, and the more scope to use my own imagination... better still.

With This Beloved Madness I try and harness your imagination. I start out slowly, obviously. Hopefully in a few lines I set up a fairly clich├ęd image of the character in your mind. You know exactly what I'm describing. Then I throw in this idea of some kind of tragedy, blowing your imagination wide open. Go wild, it could be anything at this point. Then I narrow it down to my idea. But it's still got that degree of ambiguity, that bit of wiggle room for the imagination.

(actually, that's a whole lot of wiggle room. That's a whole story that fits in that gap. In less than five hundred words, I've (hopefully) created a story shape in your head. And one that will be different in different heads.)

I think this is my favourite Missing Piece so far.

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