I see now what Jay Lake is talking about when he says writing a short story a week will teach you about scaling. All I can say is that it’s going to take me a while to get that down.
January’s Week Three story ballooned into novelette (with the working title of Izzy Crow). I just completed the draft yesterday and true to my Order v. Chaos theory, this draft is a glorious MESS! It’s currently at 14,000 words with close to 3,000 words in the trash bin (I decided not to count shearing off and dumping my extraneous flailings-about as revising).
I’m spending today attempting* to draft a couple flash pieces. I don’t know if I’ll come up with much as I’m pretty spent, but I’ll be writing and I’ll keep W1S1 obligation on track for January. I think it’s going to take a few months to get this write-a-story-a-week thing up and running smoothly. I’m surprisingly okay with that. Despite my shaky start in terms of meeting the letter of my goals, I think I’ve met the spirit of them. I have written more regularly and produced a greater volume of words than I did in any single month last year. Instead of struggling to write a thousand words a day, most days I wrote at least 1K words and even had a couple 2K days!
I’m hoping that this new velocity will produce, if not cohesion, then more passion in my stories. I’ll know more after I give Izzy Crow a read through this weekend. Next week I’ll start revising. I will be very interested in the difference in the word count between this draft and the first revision.
Inspired by Cheezburger’s Auto-Complete Writes a Poem, I decided to let Google auto-complete prompt me. If you want to try it just type in a pronoun and the first letter of any “be” verb. I wanted to write in third person, here’s what I got with “she” and “he.” Fun!
Here’s and example what I got with one:
He who arrived two hours after the party started.
He who never answered the invitation because he never received one, but his old college roommate did.
He who is always hungry for meaning, which is not to be confused with mere information.
He who corners you between the buffet table and the wall for forty-five minutes, but never tells you his name. He must consider that “information.”
He who tells you, more than once, that he would normally never attend a party whose hosts are so cruelly uninformed as to serve overpriced eggs torn from the bellies of the magnificent fish that swim in streams or are raised in aquaculture or are freakishly enlarged due to genetic modification or hormones or maybe all of the above.
He who tells you about the cabin he lived in after he graduated. It belonged to his grandma, though the land belongs to the county now.
He who spent the winter writing truth after truth about the degradation of our culture in a pile of spiral notebooks.
He who would have everyone believe that the cabin is as pristine as the unmarred wilderness that embraces it. But you have been in a few cabins yourself, and looked out at the wind driving the rain through the slender gaps between each gray plank of aging wood.
He who huddled on the bed, blank notebooks at his feet, wrapped in an ancient blanket so thoroughly eaten by moths that the holes resemble a spray of buck-shot. While he talks, you remember the marred roadside signs that still say Yield despite the paint that has been torn away.
He who will not yield, but will instead hike out of the valley, watched silently by bobcat and snake, harangued by jay and squirrel.
He who returns to the city and begs a spot on your friend’s couch.
He who sleeps quiet as a mouse and turned discretely toward the cushions until the roommate’s wife and new baby wake him, she singing softly to it until the two of them fall asleep again in the rocking chair that has been moved into the kitchen.
He who when he cannot sleep, slips out into the slick-paved night where he discovers an all-night coffee house filled with fantastic and impossible animal heads mounted on the wall.
He who is seriously considering a career in papier-mâché, because art is art, right?
He who stays until all of the guests have left including his old college roommate.
He who does not have cab fare.
He who ate all the caviar.
*The novelette was supposed to be a flash story. It grew out of a prompt from Storymatic (more about that nifty little item in another post). The cards I drew were: a pig, plastic flowers, and royalty.