Saturday, February 10, 2007

Alone in the Wilderness

I guess I should actually try to use this blog for something other than data storage. A workblog is a good idea, I think.

So here goes.

There was a time when I wrote all the time. I have a file of stories that I really enjoyed creating. I wrote a number of stories that won prizes in my college fiction competitions, and I turned them into a collection that served as my Master's Thesis and also took First Place in the West Virginia Writers Conference competition a few years back. But then I stopped writing for a number of reasons I really don't feel like going into.

Anyway, over the last couple of years, I've been trying to get the ball rolling again and have taken part in the the 3 Day Novel competition and tried to take part in this year's NaNoWriMo. That last one didn't work out so well, but I did complete short novels (novellas, really) for the 3 Day Novels. They weren't good, but they had beginnings, middles, and endings, and that's something.

Recently, a friend of mine (Mr. Martini) suggested organizing a writing group in order to help motivate us to actually sit down and put words on the page. It seems that without a deadline, I can't get worked up to write. Since that seems to be the problem with some other people I know, as well, we have kick-started a writing group of sorts. It's fairly minimalist, with a minimum of 5 pages due each Monday, emailed to everyone in the group. There's no reward beyond a sense of accomplishment and personal pride, but there's also no punishment beyond shame and self-loathing. Hopefully that will be enough.

So I've dug out the latest work and begun the painful process of rewrites. And it is painful.

The work I did for NaNoWriMo is horrendous. There are good ideas, I think, but the execution is disturbingly bad. Nerve shaking bad, actually. I used to be pretty confident in my writing skills, and now, reading over this stuff, I considered giving up. Instead, I just put it aside and reread my 3Day Novels.

My first "novel" isn't bad, but is pretty short (70-odd pages) and needs major work. I don't think I'm up to that just yet. But I wasn't horrified by it, so that's good, eh?

My second "novel" also wasn't bad (to me, anyway), and clocked in a healthy 120ish pages, with a solid structure and a lot of entertainment value (to me, anyway). Granted, at the moment it is in first draft shape, meaning it pretty much sucks and needs a lot of attention. But I'm going to give it some love and try to expand it to around twice its current length. Since it was written over the course of 3 days and in a cloud of caffeine and beer there are things that need work. A lot of work, really. So that's actually a good thing.

It's Science Fiction / Horror with a fair balance of humorous and disturbing characters and events. So far, after one week with the writing group, I've reworked 2 short chapters into an 8 page prologue of sorts that I like. For the past few days, I've been thinking about the next section of the story and should start doing rewrites in the morning and all day Sunday. That deadline is looming.

The only real question (and it's not even a question that needs answered just yet) is which storyline do I jump into first. The prologue sets up one storyline and introduces 2 of the main characters, but there are 2 other narratives that I follow through the story. Which to choose?

I guess I'll decide that tomorrow when I start writing again.

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