Re-organizing the files for Stupor Mundi has taken longer than I thought it would. It was actually quite a big job to go through all the files and see what should go where. One of the longest parts of this was actually taking files down from my 4shared account and saving them on my hard drive. But now I have complete copies of everything on both my laptop and desktop, as well as back-up copies on a usb stick and soon hopefully on Skydrive (files are currently being uploaded!).
I’m pleased to say that I managed to do five pages of translation from Huillard–Breholles yesterday, thus achieving on of my targets! It definitely felt like things were moving faster than before. I’m aiming to do a couple of pages this morning and then work on re-organizing my files. Might use SkyDrive as I am finding 4shared increasingly unreliable, plus Skydrive now allows for 25GB space!
I have had a bad head cold for the last two days, so productivity has been slow even though I have been at home. My head feels rather fuzzy!
I spent some of the weekend working out where I should start on the Stupor Mundi project. My conclusion is that I should concentrate on the most important sources first. In the past I think I made the mistake of starting outward and working in, so trying to build up a complete understanding of the period by reading secondary and primary texts connected with the period but not directly on the subject of the novel. I’ve decided to deal with my primary sources first and then read elsewhere if needed.
I’m on the cusp of a potentially big decision here. I am seriously contemplating just going back to the Stupor Mundi novel project rather than continuing with short stories. I think I have developed and learnt as a writer in the last few months, and this could help me with the novel length project I would really like to do.
I was going to start on War Veteran again now that I have done the first draft of the Easy River to Success revision. I like to wait a few days before going back to the whole story and reading it through. But when I sat down I really started to feel conscious that there was something missing from my preparation. The story is a satire on the common fantasy tropes. So far the main satire I have found is the Michael Swanwick book, Iron Dragon’s Daughter, which I haven’t read. I think I ought to first.
I didn’t do an update yesterday, but I did manage a bit of planning – again regarding the cult of Arax. This was all on paper, so didn’t even turn the PC on to do. Sometimes this works better, and I don’t even feel the need to commit it to an electronic document.
Quite a lot to do on the home front today, and now its the evening I doubt I’ll do anymore today. However, in the half hour I did have I brainstormed some ideas for how Arax’s religion works and I think I have a few basics. He’s going to be the God of False Promies. Anyone who’s ever had their hopes dashed and their ambitions ruined can pray to Arax, and he’ll take vengeance on whatever caused the hopes to be dashed.
The use of the synopsis in planning was discussed at the writers’ circle meeting on Wednesday. I thought I would try this to help me get the rest of Easy River to Success writen. I’ve done this today. Did about 300 words, which I hope to turn into about 1000+ words for the last scene, to leave me with a story just under 5000 in total. The process seemed to work quite well. It can help you work through what you need to cover in the story and where you bring in different bits of information. Also showed me where I need to flesh out some more detail of the setting before actually writing the narrative.
I attended an informal session of the writers’ circle I belong to last night: Verulam Writers’ Circle. I received some feedback on the first scene of my story Bird Talk. The feedback seemed to be positive, which was pleasing, and the other writers in the group seemed to be interested in the content as well as the style of the story.
What surprised me was that they thought I should turn it into a longer piece. Maybe a novella, as I had started out as if it was going to be a longer story, building up the characters, setting the scene etc. I thought this was a fair point as it is quite a long story, over 8000 words.
I think I may do this, however, the story’s with a magazine at the moment, so I’ll wait to see what their feedback is first. Suggestions were that I could develop the social conflict/political side of the story, with the magical element running through it. Also some allusions could be made between medieval and modern times regarding the use of belief to control people and the hysteria of the witch-trial, like in the Crucible.
This does give me a dilemma about my writing strategy, as it seems I naturally want to write longer pieces, flesh out the characters, but I feel I only have time for short stories. So what to do?
The easier option maybe to actually try to get better at short stories, and this may need some further studies of good stories to see how I should be doing this.
“Bird Talk” has been published in Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #33