getting on with it

I brought my laptop into the living room this afternoon, and tapped away on the new short story as I sat on the couch. It was a nice change of venue. One of the reasons I bought this model laptop is that even though it is small and portable it has a proper-size keyboard, and it’s very comfortable to type on. I made good progress on the story, but I guess I have a third left to go (often the most difficult part for me).

I’m not too happy with how some of the back story is explained: there’s too much exposition via dialogue. I’ve become sensitised to this device because of writing for film. It’s not something that you can’t do in short fiction, or movies for that matter, but there are ways of doing it that are more interesting than just “talking heads” (and I’m not referring to the band). Lately, I’m always watching how information is handed out to the reader, or viewer, and it irritates me when it’s just spoon-fed. I’m hoping to ease up on the buffet-style exposition in my story during the re-write. For the moment it’s the easiest way for the story to reveal itself to me, because once again I’m winging it a bit. At least with this story I know, roughly, how it is going to end; it’s just a matter of how I’m going to get there. Already, I’ve had a couple of surprises with the plot.

What I like about this story is that it’s fun to write. I did something unusual for me and read out a sequence to Martin after I’d written it because I liked it so much. Which probably means most of it will be cut later! Often the bits I like the most get trimmed, because they are too self-indulgent.

The story isn’t very original, however. Many stories, aren’t, after all. I’m hoping that the characters, and how the story is told, will be interesting enough to make it saleable. And if not, well, it’s been an enjoyable experience, and as usual I learn something new with every story. I’m doing my best to apply the “show don’t tell” motto to this one; for instance, instead of saying that it’s late evening, showing the light lengthening and the dusk settling. A rather simple example, but sometimes basic lessons are the most profound.

Tomorrow I will be busy for much of the day, and I’m away from Tuesday until Thursday. This doesn’t allow much time for writing. I’ll aim to have the story completed by next weekend, which is a realistic ambition.

I find that if I set myself goals that are unobtainable then it’s a disincentive. It bums me out when I don’t make the objective, and I end up focusing on what I didn’t achieve rather on what I did. The best way to keep going is to remain positive, and concentrate on anything that results in forward momentum.

I’m not describing amazing tricks here kiddies, just the simple shit that keeps me on track.