Wednesday, March 27, 2013

1566 words

Good to attack Woolly Coelodont again. Now at 1566 words.

The short story contest idea I had needs to percolate, perhaps it'll be ready for next year's contest. For now still concentrating on this project, completing the Wheel of Time blog, and a laying the groundwork on a collaboration with a friend for another longer term project.

Which means slow progress. Sigh...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Short story contest

Deadline: 2 weeks to write a 7 page mystery short story. It took me from the time I saw the poster until I reached my car in the parking lot to come up with a brilliant bureaucrat oriented mystery.

The eternal question: Do I set aside other writing time to pursue this...?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Immersive third person point of view

After writing the actions in the opening sequence, I saw two things wrong.

First, I want to write an immersive third person narrator, where the only information is that which the character knows. Describing his room as dimly lit by moonlight may be correct, but it ignores both his perspective and how I want readers to feel. A room 'dimly lit by enough moonlight to find his way around' conveys a different mood than Wispy clouds obscured the moonlight coming through the barred windows. He waited after he sat up in bed, letting his eyes adjust to the gloom. Shadows and shapes resolved into the familiar trappings of his room. A faint outline of light limned the door. Almost invisible next to that halo was a narrow table which he needed to avoid. 

I included words with connotations of entrapment, such as 'obscured', 'barred', 'gloom', 'trappings', 'invisible', 'avoid' and more obliquely and maybe morbidly, 'halo'. This conveys the character's perspective about the room and its lighting, as well as making the reader share those feelings.

Secondly, I want to capture the theme. My fat character could be jolly, or repulsive, or give any of several other adjectives which will have the reader perceive him with admiration, or pity, or anger, or anything. Writing the opening description of the character was made easier by first identifying a theme, and then describing him according to that theme.

Calling him fat was an understatement, he knew. The typical reaction to his appearance was one of marvel, because they had never seen anyone so enormously huge in their lives.

'Marvel' works better than 'wonder', which I had tried originally, but led to wondering how he got fat, or other side questions I don't want to answer yet, if ever. I want him to simply be fat, and for him and others to accept his size. 'Marvel' also conveys that an appropriate emotion with little negativity.

Word count: 1070


Monday, March 11, 2013

It begins!

This blog chronicles my progress writing my first full-length novel, code-named Woolly Coelodont.

Every project NEEDS a code-name. Code names used to be assigned to military projects somewhat randomly to prevent spies from knowing what they were about. Over time, secrecy became less important than branding, so you get code names like Desert Storm. For my purposes, secrecy and coolness dictate the code name. Yes, I think Woolly Coelodont is a cool code name. SOOOO COOOL!

It was a heart-wrenching surprise to find that I first took a crack at this novel in 2005, writing only a prologue to establish the concept. Eight years later, it is a far more vibrant idea with much detail filled out in my head. I suppose the idea first came to mind after reading the excellent Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy by Crawford Kilian. In this book he questioned the basis of a well-used science-fiction plot, and I came up with what I believe to be a very original answer. I certainly haven't seen anything like what I am planning in any previous work.

What kept this idea alive over all these years was a quiz we held at, yeesh, must have been between 2003-2006. The relevant factoid was that William Taft was an immensely fat President. It struck me that I wanted someone similarly large, no, even larger, as my hero. I may or may not keep the name Rodney Randolph, but whatever his name, he is the fattest world leader ever. And he belongs to Canada.

So there it is, an original answer to an old science fiction plot, an atypical and identifiable hero, and the story now has some pillars to rest on.

Current progress: 168 words. (I started over, today)

Targeted completion date: June 30, 2013.