Thursday, September 8, 2011

All Done

Fini. Done. Complete.

Yep, my short story novelette novella is now complete. Not the one I released to the wider world last month, but instead one I’ve been working on, believe it or not, for the better part of the summer.

Now, when I say finished, I, of course, really mean I finished the first draft. Although the first draft of this is probably closer to what a second draft would have been on most of my works, since I actually plotted this one out in pretty good detail first. But it will probably require some heavy editing before it’s ready for… well, whatever I intend to do with it. I’m not sure if there are many professional markets for 25 thousand word stories, but I’ll at least look.

If I have a structural issue with it, it would be that I wanted to write an epistolary story. It started out that way and I loved it. But telling a story that way (fyi – for those who might not know, epistolary stories are those that are told solely through correspondence, i.e., letters or… epistles) can be tough, real tough.

I have a great fondness for that type of novel, I must have written a half dozen stories that centered on someone finding a notebook, or letter, or artifact, and slowly piecing together how it’s relevant for whatever predicament the characters find themselves embroiled. So I thought I would forego the framing element and just let the letters tell the tale.

Big mistake.

Don’t get me wrong, I like it. It feels like the kind of thing I would enjoy reading. But at the same time it’s limiting. I write in first person sometimes, and that form for storytelling can be constricting too - especially if things are happening off stage that your viewpoint character doesn’t have knowledge of. But those are limitations I’ve been dealing with for a long time. I might not be a master, but I’m comfortable enough that I can usually get enough out through dialog that I don’t worry too much about those limits. Well, telling a story through correspondence is difficult because it not only magnifies the problems inherent in any first person story, but also makes the whole ‘rising tension’ thing a bit more difficult to pull off.  I mean, you generally don’t read a letter where the person writing is saying, “There is a guy right behind me with a knife.” Although the mental image of someone running for their life and penning a letter at the same time is pretty funny, it’s not great for that feel of imminent doom I wanted.

About halfway through the story I just switched over to standard first person and carried on.

So, I have one story, half told through correspondence, the other told through typical first person narrative. Yep, it may need a bit of work to make that consistent. I like both parts, and will need to do a bit of work to smooth all that out.

Other than that, I’ll need to do a pass to fix the numerous smaller problems, baby sized plot holes, reeling the info dumps back a bit, making the narrator’s voice consistent throughout. Grammar, typos - all sorts of stuff like that - It should keep me busy for a while.

So I’ll go back and work on the obvious stuff, then put it away for a bit. I mentioned last week that I don’t think I can accurately gauge where I’m at with its quality, but during the writing I went from thinking ‘this is interesting’ to, ‘this is awful’, to ‘this is awesome’. I’ll look forward to reading it again in a few weeks and see what my opinion of it is then.

What is it? Well, another historical sci fi adventure I suppose. This one set firmly in the 1730’s – a man sent to track down and execute an escaped slave that caused a revolt finds someone much different than what he expected when their paths finally cross – and learns that this escaped slave might be the world’s only hope for survival.  Plus zombies!

Or something like that, I need to work on my elevator pitch.

So while that one stews on the pot a bit, I’ll pick up on the sequel to my still unpublished novel that I complained about yesterday. I don’t care if the whole lot is unsellable and unwanted. I started that sequel back in, yikes, I think it was 2006. Might be about time to start wrapping that one up too.

Once finished, I’ll start trying to plot for NanoWriMo. Wow. I’ve pretty much got my year all booked, go figure. Maybe I can shoehorn a real short story in there somewhere. I still haven’t managed to write one of those since 2009.


Rogue Mutt said...


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'll gladly help you edit if you need it! Let me rephrase that - I'll critique it, find a couple typos, and tell you it's brilliant.
Yeah, me edit - right!

Michael Offutt said...

I'll be buying it when it is available. I loved "A Dead God's Wrath."

M Pax said...

We're on the same wavelength. I just finished a 1st draft of a novella, too. You're freaking me out. ;D

Sounds like a great story. I hope to have my novelette out soon. Then the novella.

Andrew said...

My favorite story told through correspndence is Screwtape. Now, I want to look back at that and see how Lewis did it, since I haven't read it in over a decade. Blast you!

Of course, that makes me wonder what it would be like to try and tell a story through contemporary methods of letter writing, like texting. Nevermind, that just makes my head hurt.

Rusty Webb said...

Rogue - Amen.

Alex - Consider it done then. I'm always after baseless praise.

Michael - I appreciate it. I would hope not to disappoint.

M Pax - Ha! I offer you a cyber high five then. Congrats.

Andrew - I never read the Screwtape Letters. I always meant to. I suppose it would be a good idea if I did, especially since I've been trying to write the same type of story. It seems like a long piece told through texts would be... disjointed.

Anonymous said...

I'm right along side you and M PAx. But, when are we really ever finished? Love the dust cover. He looks like justice personified.

Andrew, I haven't read Screwtape in like twenty years. I should read it again.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Award for you today, sir!
And praise for your work is never baseless.

Andrew said...

Oh, you should totally read Screwtape! It's awesome! And it's a quick read.