getting the tone right

October. I don’t feel like I’ve really settled into 2007 and it’s three quarters finished. At least it’s coming up to Halloween, which is a brilliant holiday.

I completed a new short story, which is great since my mindset has not been the best of late. Still, that’s no excuse not to write. If can slip myself into writing mode despite the prevailing blues I find it improves my mood. Not writing only makes me glummer.

I’ve a tricky rewrite to tackle now. I need to mull on it a bit.

The new story saw a continuation of a particular drift in my writing at the moment. Currently, I’m less inclined towards plotty stories. I just can’t get into them. I’ve never found it hard to construct a plot: you think of an event and imagine consequences. I suspect my training in screenwriting has helped because plot is often (not always) a crucial element in scripts. Recently, however, if I started a short story and began to imagine subsequent events it became rather blah in my head. I lost interest.

Instead, I focus on a particular mood, or tone that I want to evoke, and characters that are tied into that. The story evolves from these elements. I’m not discounting plot, of course. I’m just not using it as my originating point.

In many ways I find this a harder way to write. It’s slower. I have to retain a line of sight on my setting and characters at all times. I wrote an entire scene towards the end of the story that I had to excise because I allowed a typical narrative drive to dictate the action. I let my attention wander from the mood for only a moment and plot popped up to lead the way. It was hard to go back to the point where I was pleased with the story, sit with it, and allow it show me the right way forward.

This does not mean what I’ve accomplished is perfect. Rewriting is essential after all. Still, I’m pleased with what I achieved.

I’d like to write another short story or two this month, but I have to prep for the novel, and it will require a lot of research. Not much of a chore as I love research, but it is time-consuming. Since my goals for the year are coinciding with NaNoWriMo I’ve signed up. I’m conflicted about the usefulness of NaNoWriMo, but since I want need to get this novel onto the page I suspect it might help this year. I’ll find out in November.

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