Sunday, 25 July 2010

Commentary: This is Foolproof and This One-Sided Showdown

This is Foolproof

This One-Sided Showdown

Two for one!

...mainly because I ran out of time last week. Which is something of a shame, because This is Foolproof is probably the piece so far that needed the most editing...

This is Foolproof is a perfectly competent story. It is entirely adequate. Which is, of course, damning it with faint praise. It's not great, it's ok. This is the problem with publishing these stories in order, and writing so many on such a short time scale. Write the last word, move on. No thought to selection, a little brief thought to editing as I post.

Of course, these are short enough that sometimes 'as I post' is plenty of time.

This One-Sided Showdown also probably needed a little more editing. I like it much more as it stands, though; it does much more in a smaller space.

I tagged it superhero, but I don't really think the elites are superheroes in the traditional sense (spandex and perfect teeth), although they are obviously powered. DC calls them meta-humans, Wildstorm post-humans (which I like best I think), I'm not sure if Marvel has an overall term, nothing pops to mind.

Another interesting thing about all this is the potential for expansion in each of these. With This One-Sided Showdown I'm curious about what led to this point. There's a whole novel that could be written leading up to this reveal. One I wrote the other day (which you won't get to see for another couple of months, This Pale Stranger) is a kind of hundred years earlier prequel to another book in my head, and it could easily be a longer short story itself.

This is the effect I was trying to inspire in others, worlds beyond stories. Unfortunately it does mean that this morning I sit down to write and my head is full of stories I've already written...

I suppose one of the great things about publishing Xeroverse: Missing Pieces is that it's like the piles of notebooks I have, full of ideas. But instead of never seeing the light of day, all of these are here, even if they never make it to book or magazine.


Sunday, 11 July 2010

This Crumbling Bastion: author's commentary

This Crumbling Bastion

As I mentioned last week, I haven't written for a while, so this is me floundering around a little trying to find my voice again.

I always like to experiment anyway, as you can see here with the italicised phrases, but this becomes harder when you don't quite have the confidence in your own writing back yet. For just my second piece of writing in a while this may have been a little ambitious. I don't think I quite pulled it off, but at the same time I don't dislike it; it is, in my opinion, a moderate success.

I wasn't sure about how much to change the ending, either; on re-reading I felt it wasn't entirely clear what I had in my mind as this scene was taking place. I didn't want to spell it out, and I didn't want to underestimate the reader's intuition, so in the end I left the final paragraph as I originally wrote it, more or less. Which leaves it more open to ambiguity... but then that has always been a hallmark of my micro-fiction.


Sunday, 4 July 2010

This Unholy Place: author's commentary

This Unholy Place

These author commentaries will accompany each piece of micro-fiction I post to Xeroverse: Missing Pieces. They are not intended to explain the story, that would defeat the point. That would seem a failing if I thought the story needed more information than just what was self-contained.

I might expand a little, but that would only be for the sake of interest. At the risk of repeating myself... the story should stand on its own.

So this being the first, there's a lot I want to say.

I don't think it's my strongest story, that I've written, that I've thought of, or that I have ready to post. So why open a new fiction blog with a piece that isn't my strongest?

Well, until recently I hadn't written for a while. I wouldn't say I had writer's block. The ideas were there, I scribbled notes, but I was afflicted with that other common writer's malady. Procrastination. I was busy doing Other Stuff.

Then, spurred on by a couple of events, I decided it was time to get myself back in gear. Time to put some validity behind my claims to be a writer. So I decided I would write a piece of micro-fiction each day. I would force a story out, because I wanted to get back into the habit. And, if you plan to carry on reading, this is what you will be subjected to; initially at least. They live in a folder on my laptop called 'sketches', which is as apt a metaphor as any.

As a series it is called This Micro-fiction. Imaginative, I know. But the theme continues into the titles and it gives me something to work with. There will be thirty. This is the goal I have set. I am already behind, but catch-up days are allowed. So long as there are thirty pieces in thirty days.

So This Unholy Place is the first piece I wrote. The more astute among you might surmise that I have been reading a little Lovecraft recently, others just that the piece is a little melodramatic and over-written.

I don't always know or remember what it was that inspired a particular piece, though it is often art. As I would hope my micro-fiction would inspire universes in your mind, artwork often inspires the same in me. Before I began writing this I flicked through an old Spectrum collection, and certainly elements came from there. Spectrum produce wonderful yearly collections, subtitled the best in contemporary fantastic art, which they are. I definitely recommend checking them out.

This writing is not my 'usual' style, one of the joys of micro-fiction is flirting with varying styles. Having said that, there are certain styles and tones I use regularly; that are perhaps more recognisably 'me' (at least if you have read more of my old writing). Hopefully you'll see what I mean in the coming weeks, and hopefully you'll like what you see.