Saturday, May 03, 2008

Contemplating MEMORY

As I'm sitting here with Word Perfect fired up, starting in on part 12 of MEMORY, a number of thoughts occur to me.

First among them is how much I'd love one of those profoundly sweet steampunk keyboards for my computer. My prose would read sweetly as honey on the page were I typing on one of those, but that observation, true though it may be, has little to do with MEMORY.

The second thought is that I'm only blogging right now in order to avoid actual for-true real writing on MEMORY. Which is also true, but as this is my nature, I won't comment any more on it.

The third thought is how this experiment has unfolded in a vacuum. There's been virtually no feedback thus far (and by "virtually," I mean "none") which means one of several things: 1) Readers are dumbstruck by my amazing writing prowess; 2) Readers are dumbstruck at just how bad prose can be mangled online; and 3) Readers couldn't care skunk farts about what I write. Personally, I'm hoping for option 1.

The fourth thought is shame for how quickly the installments became irregular. A thousand words a week isn't all that much, but it becomes increasingly difficult to meet deadlines when one puts off the actual writing of said thousand words in favor of other things, such as writing blog entries. My goal when I started this was to publish a new chapter each Monday. To say I've slipped is an understatement. But I intend to get back on track.

The fifth thought is that 11,000 words, give or take, is actually a lot of words. Particularly if the goal was to write a short story. I don't think I ever kidded myself that MEMORY would end up being a short story. Hell, I can't write "short" stories even when that's the goal. As MEMORY was conceived as an ongoing serial, I figured it'd be considerably longer when all was said and done. In that light, 11,000 words, give or take, is actually not very many words at all.

The sixth thought is something akin to amazement at how I really don't know what's going to happen next. Oh, I have kind of general idea what main event is going to transpire in chapter 12. I've actually known about it from Day One, since it ties directly to the narrative's macguffin. But that's just a little milestone out in the middle of a whole lot of unknown. Most of what transpired to get the narrative to this point was as much a surprise to me when I wrote it as it was when my hypothetical readership read it for the first time. When I first sat down, I didn't know Flavius had a nephew. I'd never conceived of Knowicent before she appeared in Parric's room. I hadn't realized that I'd been misspelling her name until just this instant--the insight struck me that it's actually "Knowiscient." Funny that. Now the question arises of whether I retroactively change her name to the proper spelling or leave it be the rest of the way out, or change it in new installments while leaving it in those already published. That's a gray area in my rules, since I allowed for typo changes but not for edits impacting the narrative. And her name might do so, if only in a very small way. Hmm. Apart from that, I'm curious to see what course of action Parric and Flavius will take after Chapter 12. I don't know, other than the fact that neither one is going to spend a heck of a lot of time on the granite dome of a mountaintop underneath a violet sky.

The seventh thought is that I'm finding the writing of each installment falling into a pattern. The writing, that is. It's as if I'm structuring each chapter with a definite beginning, middle and end. They're not so well-defined as to be stand alone, obviously, but for the most part they're faithfully ending on a note of tension--outright cliffhangers in some instances. Monkey Girl fancies herself as something of an expert on cliffhangers, critiquing the chapters of the Nancy Drew mysteries I read to her at bedtime on occasion (modern Nancy Drew books pretty much stink where cliffhangers are concerned, while the older book in the series generally have the art of cliffhanging down pat, if you must know). I think some of that must have rubbed off on me, because I am very conscious about how and where my writing ends in regards to the narrative. Does this make it read choppily, or does it flow together smoothly despite the piecemeal nature of its construction?

The eight thought is that it is now one o'clock in the A.M. and I am tired. Going to bed now. G'nite folks.

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