Well, the weird opening resulted in a short story that I’ve titled “Daily Teds.” It was one of those gift stories.
Lisa will be working all day tomorrow, so I think I’ll challenge myself to write a story in its entirety in a day. Should be fun.
Thinking about it, I’ll make this game interesting in this fashion, too…if you drop me a comment (here on typosphere, or on Facebook) I’ll do my best to find a way to write your comment/thought/red herring/whatever into the plot.
Hey, I’m on a roll of whimsy, what’s the worst that can happen, eh?
I managed a couple thousand words on the new/weird story this morning. I think I know what the deal is now, and expect another couple hours will finish the first draft. It’s really in a form more toward a plot treatment than an actual story right now, as I want to make sure I get the story down.
Another good sign: at present, this one does appear as if it’s going to end up being a true short story rather than a novelette.
I’m trusting the title to come when it will.
We went out this afternoon to see Sherlock Holmes. I enjoyed it quite a bit, though admit to thinking that efforts to modernize Holmes and Watson changed its flavor a bit.
I woke up early this morning, as often happens because the cat has this thing abut eating. This usually means I wake up and get going for the morning. I have this tendency to fall asleep as soon as I hit the pillow, but once I’m up, I’m up for good.
This morning I went downstairs and started to work on this weird story of mine. I realized I really didn’t have enough to go on, so I needed to brainstorm some more. Since I wasn’t going to actually “write” I decided that I would use my computer’s processor time to grab a recording of some old Sherlock Holmes radio programs.
Those recordings were currently in album form, sitting in cardboard boxes on the floor of my basement. There were four shows on two albums. I remember having given the albums to my dad, probably for father’s day, as a kid. We enjoyed them back in the day, and they have now come full circle. Brigid, my daughter for those who may be newish to my meanderings, had been down here a month ago or so, and showed a bit of interest in them, so I figured I would put them into a format she could use given today’s modern whiz-bang technology. I envisioned her plugging in to them as mind-candy as she walked across campus up in West Lafayette.
So I cued up the first and started up Audacity.
The show started, and I enjoyed it again…so much that I paid more attention to it than I did my own brainstorming. The shows were taped mostly in 1945, and I found the advertisements for wine and port to be as interesting as the shows, and I found the public service announcements regarding the boys overseas to be somehow important to me as I sat quietly down in my basement.
The first show ended, and I prepared to stop the recording, when among the last things I heard was “Screenplay written by Anthony Boucher.”
Really? I thought? Did I hear that right? Anthony Boucher? The Anthony Boucher of F&SF fame?
So I fired up Google and do a quick search. Indeed, this Anthony Boucher was the Anthony Boucher of F&SF fame, and mystery fame, and all sorts of other good stuff. This bothered me. I should have known this. At least I think I should have, anyway. I’ve been in or around the field for awhile now, but I still feel so empty when it comes to this stuff. Earlier this year I spent a few weeks reading nothing but short stories from the 50sm, 60s, and early 70s. I read Ed Hamiltion, and Roger Zelazny, and Clifford Simak, and several others. Still it doesn’t feel like enough.
But I listened to the next episode more closely. It was a fun show. It moved quickly, and despite being a bit “dated,” was full of little nuances and interesting bits that included logic puzzles and plays on linguistics and other such stuff. The acting was varied, but generally pretty good, and I really enjoyed the essence of story without visuals.
Anthony Boucher. Interesting. Who would have known?
I felt very connected in many different ways.
Maybe Brigid will feel the same way as she trudges across campus. Maybe she will just find the radio plays silly or quaint. I expect it will be closer to the first than the last, but you never know.
In the meantime, I’ll go back to this story of mine.
Now I’m in deep.
I just wrote myself about 500 pretty spiffy words that, quite honestly, came out of nowhere. I had planned to write something else that has been congealing in my mind for the past week or so. But when I sat down this bit just kind of wrote itself. And it’s a really interesting opening. Well, it’s interesting to me, and right now I’m the only one who counts. So there.
The problem, however, is that is sets up a story I’m not sure I can deliver on. It’s going to require some serious thinking. So I’ve been sitting here for the past hour jotting notes down to myself, thinking about opportunities, and following thought patterns along their natural courses.
Title, you ask? Nope. Don’t got one of those, neither. [grin]
I can’t tell you how nice it is to be having fun with stories again, though.
As these things sometimes happen, I woke up today with a nagging doubt about “Life on Mars.” So, while I claimed it was finished through draft two yesterday, it turns out I was actually lying.
Sorry about that.
I added a new ending, and probably another thousand words overall after doing the detailed surgery it took to add it in. I like it quite a bit better. The problem with the original ending I had envisioned is that it kind of shoe-horned the main character into a few actions that I struggled to see her taking. Now the ending feels like a natural extension of the story. It breathes better.
And so now I’m off to the next project.
Seriously, I am. Trust me.
Except, of course, now I’m worried about the title again.
Hmmm…not sure about that title, but what the heck.
The second draft of “Life on Mars” is complete, taking two mornings rather than the one morning I had originally predicted. I’m sure it needs another few things, but I’ll let it sit a day or three and come back to it with fresher eyes.
But in the meantime, it’s onto another project.
I’ve now diverted my work on this novel twice, both times to work on a short story idea. Both times I’ve been happy with the result, but somehow my short stories keep growing into novelettes. This last one is now titled “Life on Mars,” and runs something around 10.5K words. This is fine and all, but these danged 10K stories take twice as long to write as the 5K shorts I keep expecting to write. (Go figure).
I expect I’ll finish the second draft of LoM tomorrow AM. It probably needs another, of course. Three seems to be my norm, sometimes four. Well, okay, sometimes it takes five or six or, ahem, considerably more, but I’m working hard to ignore those situations.
My concern right now is that I have, yes, another idea for a short story wriggling around in my mind. With Christmas holidays coming along I’ll decide what to work on next in the next day or so, but I suppose I should consider the old idea that good things come in threes? Ya think?
LISTENING TO: Neil Young
I’m claiming another thousand words this morning, though honesty requires I state it’s probably a little shy. Damn you honesty!
Two primary movements remain to be told to complete the story. Still think the final draft will be done Friday, of course it helps that I’ll be off that day and able to focus more than my morning stint upon it.
I find first drafts fun because I can drift a bit and explore threads of ideas that come from wherever they come from. But I find second drafts are more enjoyable, and third drafts the most fun. I’m not sure why that is. I guess the second draft is when the characters become truly real to me (as a rule, anyway–the truth is that none of my stories ever feels the same as any other while in the creation stage, but I’m ignoring that truth or else I might start worrying about my own mental health). By the third draft I have stories pretty much where I think I want them.
At least that’s what I tell myself, anyway.
Regardless, I got about a thousand words today, and I’m happy with that.
This is a bit of an unusual story for me in that I don’t have a working title for it. Usually I have an idea what I want to call something I’m actively writing. But this one has just kind of grown organically.
But I got about a thousand words down this morning, and an inkling of the title boiled up. It’s not right. I can tell that. But it’s in the right ballpark.