I am trying not to write, at least until my divorce comes through – probably in April. To my horror, I discover that my husband is entitled to a share of anything that comes into the marriage – from my wedding ring to the putative lottery win the day before the Decree Absolute – and I’d rather he didn’t have any claim on my writing, thank you.
I might as well say that I’m not going to breathe until April, though – things keep seeping out of my brain! I’ve been having fun with a poem that’s writing itself, usually in the early hours of the morning, in haiku; that one’s about the feelings that the divorce has engendered, so may well stay strictly private.
But there’s two short stories that have been giving me a literal headache, as they both insist that they must be put down on paper Right Now. One is a steampunk story, which I’ve not been researching magic, cheese, or explosives for, honest. Any reading around these topics has been entirely coincidental, as has been any outlining taking place. At least it’s had the decency not to wake me up to capture scenes in the small hours.
The other is a story to meet a challenge my sister gave me – a magazine we read runs a regular story competition, any topic you like, £100 prize. “Go on,” says my sister, full of faith in me, “you can do it!” So off my subconscious goes, completely ignoring the practicalities of life.
Yesterday, the two stories were getting mixed in my head. I was getting an idea about a crippled girl for the magazine story, who kept on popping up making cheese in the other; it was getting hopelessly confusing, so today, I gave up and gave the girl her head. Talk about pushy! The first draft took about an hour, and she insisted it had to be in the 1st person. An interesting experiment, I hadn’t done anything longer than a poem in 1st person before; the choice of tense is problematic, strangely! Anyway, first edit done before 2nd cup of coffee (she really was that urgently insistent). 2nd edit done by lunchtime; story passed to Younger Daughter for comment. Lots of family stuff later, I pick up the magazine to read the rules at about 9pm. Yikes! 700 word limit! *checks word count* Hmmm. 1500 words. *edits frantically, removing obvious redundancies* 1100 words. *edits again, taking out stuff that only looks like fat with a 700 word limit* 750 words. Eats pencil end. Slaps forehead; move to present tense (get rid of “was -ing” constructions, save one word per verb). Can ANYTHING else go? Finds another 3 excess words. Re-reads. Hey, this is a good, tight story! Checks word count. 694. Yay!
Story is now sitting in sister’s inbox, waiting for her comments. I’m actually tempted to send it off, if only to get it well away from the steampunk story, which is starting to protest against favouritism… I really had no idea this would happen, when I took up this little writing hobby!
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