Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Works in progress -- where they stand

By my count I have three things I am working on. They are all in various states of progress.

I am calling the first my calendar story. It has a title -- These Brave Men of Dust and Steel. Actually I came up with the title first and liked it so much I built a story around it. Probably not the best idea, but it worked this time. Now I think the title sounds a bit pretentious, but it ties in to the end so I am keeping it for now.

The second also has a title -- Dignity Mission. The title, in this case, came second.

The third is the piece I started writing while I was editing other things. The working title is On the Wire. It's a crime story with a sci-fi element at its heart. It's fun to write so far, but I am afraid it's starting to stall out.

So here's where I am and where I want to go with them, in list form.

These Brave Men of Dust and Steel
Half outlined/synopsised. I know this story the best of the three. I know its beginning. I know its end. I know the better part of its middle. It's being told in a journal/diary format, and I have about half of the entries synopsised so far. Just need to get the last few done and I can start writing the piece in earnest. I think it will go pretty quickly once I am done with the synopsis. What's keeping me from finishing it? I have no idea.

Dignity Mission
I know the beginning and I know the end, I just don't know the middle. Problem is all of this story is what happens in the middle. You know how this story is going to end by the third paragraph. The story is what happens between the beginning and the end. And yes, I know that's true for every story.

On the Wire
Still have no idea where this is going, and I am afraid that things may be spinning out of control. My plot may be getting too complicated. I have introduced some very interesting things in the beginning of the story that could provide some very interesting wrinkles. Problem is I have almost completely forgotten them at this point. I need to bring them back in somehow.
I am about 13,000 words in and have no idea where it will end up. But the novella that I was thinking in my head could be getting more novel length.

So that's it. Those are my works in progress that are getting my attention right now. I do have one more thing I need to work on. In our writers' group last weekend we agreed to try a writing prompt and see what we all came up with. We got the prompt from our group's founder. It's this quote.

"A man dreamt that he slipped out of his flesh just as a snake sheds its old skin. He died on the following day. For his soul, which was about to depart from his body, provided him with these images."
-- ARTEMIDORUS, The Interpretation of Dreams, c.AD 150

I had an idea for this that I started working on already, but I am scrapping it -- the idea, not the bit I've already written. I think it could work for other things. This morning while getting ready for work I cooked up an idea I like better. It's going to help me work on some weaknesses I have heard about from people whose opinion I trust (Gina and some people in my group). I tend to use minimal description when I write. I give necessary details on setting and appearance and let the reader fill in the blanks. Some have suggested I need to paint the picture better, and I agree that it is something I need to work on.

I am setting this story overseas and have a clear picture of where it's taking place. A cafe, seating ourdoors, a river a few feet away. A band in the background with a singer whose trying to perform American standards in broken English. I am going to try and really paint that picture for the reader. Should be a fun challenge and, hopefully, a fun story.

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