Friday, March 20, 2009

Baffu's First Story: Part One

No pictures today. Sorry about that...

So I want to apply to this writer's workshop, Viable Paradise. They want somewhere in the neighborhood of eight thousand words of fiction -- one or two stories or a chunk of a larger work. What makes this tricky is that what you submit is what you work on over the course of the workshop.

I want to get in, so I want to send my best work -- but if my best work works, why would I want to spend a week having it prodded at? It seems as if I'd rather spend the time working on something that needs help.

I thought about it and realized that I have a story that contains some of my best stuff -- but the story isn't quite there. It was good enough to be published in issue seven of Monday Night but it still feels as if it's not quite there. Nothing that's in submission to a pro market is allowed but Monday Night is strictly small press. So that takes care of story number one.

That leaves me with story number two. And that problem has been driving me out of my mind. See, Viable Paradise is a SF/Fantasy-oriented workshop. That appeals to me because my genre side has been a wee tad hampered by the writers I work with. It's great to have had so much of a mainstream/literary influence on my work but genre fiction is important to me as well.

But my first story, God's Tourists, is about five thousand five hundred words long. And I don't have any fantastic fiction that's short enough to fit into the remaining space.

I wanted to do something really SF-y for the second story. I wanted to do something action-oriented.

I haven't been able to come up with an idea.

So in casting around I remembered a story idea that I should be able to write within the permitted word count. The thing is, is that the story uses character and setting details from what I intend to eventually be my Big Work, the series of novels that I want to write for my bread and butter in the long run. I've been working on it both mentally and on paper since I was a kid. It was the subject of my first attempt at game design -- I tried to write it as an adventure game before there was Dungeons and Dragons.

The shape of the thing has changed radically over the years, going from goofy far-future SF to weird fantasy, from being intentionally escapist to being a tool for confronting issues both personal and political. It's really, really ambitious and I wasn't going to try and tackle it until I had at least one successful (in the artistic rather than the commercial sense of the word) novel under my belt.

Thing is, there's still a lot of work to be done. A lot of world-building is still ahead of me. Much of what I'm going to do is gonna have to be changed because I cannibalized a good chunk of the material for my current novel-in-progress...

And part of this story touches on elements that are central to my pal Allison's big work in progress. They actually predate my friendship with Allison but I'm nervous about working her side of the street, especially on issues as sensitive as this.

But I need a fucking story. So here's the deal.

This is a test boring. This is an experiment. This is the first attempt I've made at working with these characters since I've achieved any success with my writing.

So I'm gonna liveblog the story. Gonna do a draft of the whole thing today and then send it out to my Monday night writer's group. I'll post each page (ending at the last completed paragraph) as I go. I'll lead each post with a sample paragraph and then put the rest of the page in the comments section.

See you next post...

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