It’s over; now it’s time to start again

The story, I mean. I made myself finish it. In fact, to be honest, I hammered out the last third as fast and sketchy as I could, because the backlog of crud I’d written at the start was beginning to infuriate me beyond measure and I just wanted to get it over with so I could say I’d finished a story as I’d promised myself I would.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

6,479 / 7,500


No, you can’t see it. No one ever will, either, at least not in its current incarnation – it is unutterably terrible. Calling it juvenilia would be flattery – calling it prose might even be stretching things a little.

Perhaps you think I’m exaggerating; that I’m being all artistic and self-deprecating or something. Wrong! It really is dreadful – but having forced myself to finish it I can see the mistakes. Leaving aside the obvious spur-of-the-moment continuity errors (and the masses of unnecessary explanations and background blarney), the main flaw is this – my main character didn’t really do anything. Stuff just kind of happened to him. This is not how good stories are written. Good stories have active characters who, when thrown into crisis, make a move toward doing something about it. I know this as a reader – teaching myself to know it as a writer is obviously going to take some time.

Still, I got the bugger finished before the end of the month, which is an achievement. Hell, getting it finished is an achievement, and a first for me. Maybe I’ll go back to it when I have a bit more confidence and try to make something decent from it. Hopefully February’s effort will be better.

It should certainly be an experience. You see, Gabe Chouinard is throwing a ‘novelette in a weekend’ challenge over at the Urban Drift forum. The clues are in the title – this weekend coming, participants have to try to write a short (‘old-school Moorcock-sized’) novel. Like NaNoWriMo, but over two days. Now, I know damn well that’s way beyond my grasp, so I’ve said I’m going to do an entire short over the weekend instead. I have an idea of what I want to write about, and I have until Saturday morning to throw together a vague plot and structure in my head (and on paper to some extent).

Sure as eggs, it’ll be pretty bad, even if I do complete it. But it’ll be a first draft, or at least the best part of one, and first drafts can be edited. I’ve got a full (if short) month to work on it, and I reckon getting a good hefty start at the beginning of February will be a step in the right direction. Reports will be made available here (and at the forum) for those who find themselves unable to avoid looking at road accidents …

Oh yeah, and thanks ever so much for all the good wishes for my interview yesterday. I get the results today – which will probably determine whether the February story will be dark or light in tone!

4 thoughts on “It’s over; now it’s time to start again”

  1. Congratulations. Forget the faults, bask in the glory of a first draft. If you’ve finished one, you can finish more 🙂

  2. Congrats on finishing. I can sympathize about the “do-nothing” character. I had the same problem, or rather, I’m trying very hard to overcome that problem. Two things helped me: one, thinking in terms of television/movie plots; and two, roughly mapping the plots of larger stories (novels) to Joseph Campbell’s mythic hero’s journey structure.

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