A Weekend of Word-Thought

Few times make me more conscious of my “ohmigosh, must write!” compulsion than a weekend when I am not at home. On those Saturdays and Sundays when I’m running around Orlando with my kids and husband, I become worried that I won’t be able to make the time to write, and that I’ll destroy the wonderful streak on the Magic Spreadsheet. Of course, that is usually followed by my finding my phone and opening a document like this one here, and I get my wordcount done.

Last night at the fireworks, I actually got a great first.line for a new story, and I started writing. I kept writing before bed, and I got in another page of story before going to sleep.

Writers write. Even if it happens in the.line to Space Mountain while my younger son can’t stop staring at the instructional video. It’s the compulsion to put down words and continue a story.

The story that I started last night includes brass goggles, a young knight looking for a princess to save, and a young tinkering alchemist in her castle-laboratory who does not need to be saved. Oh, and an enchanted Seersland pony named Aloysius. It’s going well, a cute little exploration in the vein of JoCo’s “Princess Who Saved Herself.” When you’re surrounded by admittedly beautiful costumes and fairy tales, it’s hard to not get sucked into the fun.

Okay, so mine is more along the lines of cosplay than princess rescue. My Prince Charming comes with coffee, a USB charger, and the ability to repair my wireless connection. And, I remember his name. So many of these pretty boy rescuers don’t have memorable names. I can only think of a handful of princes who had memorable names, really. They’re all one or two syllables, too. Hmm.

My would-be rescuer in the story is named Lyle, after a high school friend. The Queen of the Brass Goggles is named Zohra, and she has a lab coat that Lyle mistakes for a flowing white gown. At this point in the story, she has invited him to spend the night at her castle-laboratory; he objects because he thinks that might not be chivalrous. We’ll see what happens after that… I’m thinking that chivalry might happen in the most unexpected way. Waffles, maybe.

I did finish a short story last week, something like urban fantasy with a twist of magic. I don’t often write short stories, but after my frustration with Hollow, it seemed that the best thing to do was just keep writing, but on a smaller scale.

(Sunday)

And with another Disney weekend finished, including another sunburn on my shoulders and chest, two more broken nails, and a whirlwind of laundry and grocery shopping, it is now time for more words. More words. More words.

Dear heavens, do I have any more words in me? Somewhere… I’ll have to drag them out from the corner where they are hiding, behind the cookies and cream frozen yogurt, chocolate chip cookies, and coffee. They’re giggling like some inane little mythical critters, wondering if I’ll manage to find them before I throw my hands in the air and give up.

Hah. Give up on words. Hell, no. I have yet to give in, after more than four hundred and fifty days. I will not yield!

As I was coming back home from Orlando with the family this morning, I was thinking about the next story I wanted to write. With lots of good songs on my music player, I considered using a few more of them as inspiration and trying to tell the story behind the song. Using fairy tales and reworking them is appealing, but it seems like something that many people are doing. Many of the songs that I’ve considered aren’t exactly new or mainstream, and there are elements of either fantasy or science fiction that I could employ to make them worthy of a short story. Once I finish with Zohra and Lyle, I plan to start with a folk song that I remembered from when I was little, listening to the folk music radio show on Sunday nights.

There are other stories I’ve considered, but I’ve realized that I’m a little scared of some of them because of the level of emotion they require. Silly? Perhaps… there are some characters that I created and played who required an enormous emotional investment. Charlie Duke at her rawest required tears and tissues; the poor thing was used to never getting what she wanted, always accustomed to looking in from the outside, and rarely speaking the truth about how she felt about anyone. Tragic hero? Maybe, although I think that the only thing ‘heroic’ about her was that she would sacrifice herself for the well-being of a very few people. She’s one of those characters who deserves a good story to survive, and I don’t quite know how to give her that good story just yet. I’ve tried with the Outer Colonies, but that ‘verse is going to take a lot of time and development to be worthy of the characters there.

And, let’s face it. I need to keep writing more on a smaller scale to improve so that I can face the larger projects. At the same time, there’s going to be dissertation work, and I’ll have to devote time and wordcount to that. Words is words, right?

Right. And there’s always time for fiction. Giving myself permission to sit down and play with ideas via pen and paper in the notebook has been helpful, and it’s been satisfying to write a short story that doesn’t have to have some long and elaborate arc. I’m not sure what will come of it, if I’ll submit it anywhere or if I’ll just put it out on my own. At the very least, I’ll just… write another one.

And another one. And then, maybe another one.

The only way to improve the craft is to keep writing, although I need to share that writing, get feedback, and use that feedback to improve. It would likely be helpful to find a local writing group, but time is limited these days. And… well, until I finish the dissertation, devoting a lot of time and energy to working with a mentor wouldn’t be fair to either of us. Comprehensives, dissertation, and then I can really focus on being a fiction writer.

By that time, I might have enough eavesdropping fodder from the university to write some amazing coming of age tale… that, or a collection of short stories based upon overheard snippets of conversation. I mean, what else would I do with this jewel: “Remember the time we had to chew flavored condoms to stay awake?”

That’s got to go in a story somewhere, someday. No idea how, but I’ll find a way to make it happen.

Until then… it’s writing bits and pieces, working on school, and recording awesome fiction for other authors. It’s taking the unique opportunity to study an author’s work for weeks at a time and figure out what makes that fiction work so well and what I can learn from that author. It’s having fun with others’ characters and helping to bring them to life. In a way, it’s one of the best ways to learn how to improve, because I don’t limit myself to one particular genre or style. There’s technique to learn, no matter the story or the author.

More little steps to getting better, right? Right.

Write.

This entry was posted on Sunday, May 11th, 2014 at 7:01 pm and is filed under writing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “A Weekend of Word-Thought”

  1. Anne Elizabeth Baldwin Says:

    Sounds like a good weekend. I hope that’s true on the family front as well as the writing front. {Smile}

    I like the idea of concentrating on short stories, but then I would. My “natural length” is from just under 300 to just under 9000 words. Stories that length tend to be much less trouble than longer ones. {Smile, wink}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  2. Doc Coleman Says:

    Right. Write. ;D

    Doc