Thursday, February 02, 2006

Ice station Europa

More writing has been committed by yours truly. I have yet to start any new stories, but instead am going back into those works which are fully written, yet unfinished. One of those is a piece I workshopped at Turkey City a year or so back, which got very positive responses from a number of folks (in the interest of full disclosure, it also earned fairly negative responses from a number of other folks, but hey, them's the breaks). These same folks also thought that I'd mangled the structure, wasting half of the manuscript's lenght before the story actually began. And they universally hated my title, which was "20,000 Leagues Under Europa."

The great thing about Turkey City (apart from the bloody carnage, that is) is that it's pretty easy to tell right away who "gets" your story and who doesn't. And the ones who understood what I was attempting with Europa, well, their comments were spot-on.

I've now renamed the piece "Europa, Deep and Cold," a title that strikes me as both literal and poetic. Considering the "20,000 Leagues" title was originally a placeholder that had way more baggage than I was willing to deal with, this particular revision was simple.

Everything else, however, is a royal pain. My story does start in the middle. Unfortunately, I sprinkled pertinent and critical facts and events throughout the first half of the manuscript, so simply chopping off the first 15 pages or so and saying "It's done!" isn't an option. I'm having to integrate a tremendous amount of material into the latter half of the story, and doing so without bloating the page count and grinding the narrative to a halt with infodumps is proving to be the opposite of easy. Which is exactly the reason why I left it alone for so long--I knew the revisions and rewriting would be just as involved, if not moreso, than writing it in the first place. And in the first place, "Europa" is probably the most difficult story I've ever written. So yeah, I've been hiding from it. It's not going to be finished anytime soon, but at least I'm working on it again.

There is new incentive to finish "Europa," however. A new tale of wondrous adventure has suggested itself to me. Years ago, when I attended Writers of the Future, I wrote a story in Dave Wolverton's writers workshop. The story sucked, but the character and setting were cool and entertaining. A couple of years later, I took that character and started writing a new story with him. That particular story died before I finished it, because I belatedly realized I'd essentially rewritten the Will Smith Wild, Wild West movie. Sure, mine was better, but there's that whole lipstick on the pig concept to deal with.

Now, however, a new an interesting idea is brewing somewhere within my brain. And the interesting part is that it takes the opening of that second, aborted story, and launches from there in an entirely different direction. The new idea is much smaller in scope, more intimate. What's more, it feels right for this character. The big set-pieces are pretty well defined in my mind, and even if I don't quite know how they fit together, I do believe they'll make for a tighter, leaner and overall better story than either of my first two attempts.

But I'm making myself finish "Europa" first.

Now Playing: Pink Floyd Atom Heart Mother

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