Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Writing, writing, writing

So last night I threw myself into revisions on a story that's been languishing untouched for far too long: "Being An Account of the Final Voyage of La Riaza: A Circumstance in Eight Parts." Catchy, innit? Just sort of trips off the tongue.

I knew the story needed two new scenes inserted--which isn't a great thing when you realize my stories are invariably too long to begin with. I knew exactly where a death scene would fit (I had it happening off-page before, and that undercut the dramatic tension), and lo and behold, it practically wrote itself. I was actually surprised at how painlessly it went down on the page. The second scene, between two secondary characters, I wasn't as sure of. I knew where it'd fit most naturally, but I felt that would place it too far towards the end of the story, whereas the narrative would benefit more if it occurred earlier. But there are specific events happening in the first half of the story that keep these two characters separated, and I can't justify the major restructuring that would demand--this scene isn't crucial to the plot, but adds some needed character balance. Ultimately, I erred on the side of caution and grafted it in towards the end. Something's still not quite 100 percent right with it--it's a tad talky, which is a sign from my subconscious that I haven't quite got a solid grasp on the scene--but overall I believe the story significantly benefits from the additions.

What struck me most about the writing session was how unaware I was of it. 'Round about midnight, when I hit SAVE and put it to bed, I was surprised at the hour. I'd been wholly focused on the narrative problems before me, as opposed to having problems with the process. After a long fallow period where the very thought of sitting down at the keyboard launched a nasty glob of bile up into my throat, experiencing a "normal" writing session was an extremely pleasant change.

And for better or for worse, some things haven't changed. I did a word count when after I finished the last new scene, and the manuscript tips the scales at 11,000 words. In case you're wondering, that breaks down to a 1:733.3 title/manuscript word ratio for "La Riaza." I immediately shipped it off, of course, to Interzone. It's not anything like what Interzone normally runs, but then again, it's not anything like what anyone normally runs. I'll let Jetse worry about it.

Now Playing: Steve Winwood Back In the High Life

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