Episodically Extraneous

May 15, 2011

Just like the TV Show…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Schafe @ 01:50

I am now 24. I happen in real time. I involve terrorism, torture, explosions and dubious feasibility. I am just like the TV show and that is all.

Yeah, so I’m not writing for this blog with the sort of fictional nonsense that is at the heart of my best intentions (I quite like world hunger, all the intentions I have with high quality value judgements attached are self serving) so instead as I am now a day into my 24th rotation around a radioactive space thang I am going to pull an introspectivey thang. (Another one you ask yourself whilst I use the running commentary of the parentheses to assure you that this one won’t be so angsty and self-mutilation suggestive ). I was asked on my birthday if I felt older or wiser. My response was that I age incrementally and that as such I do not notice the change. It’s like my weight, I gain it (or less likely) lose it gradually, it isn’t a massive noticeable change that occurs upon standing upon the bathroom scales.  This makes it hard to make value judgements and offer insightful talk with the “what is the sum of my life” tallying.  Still I didn’t have as much terrorism or torture 48 hours ago so some noticeable changes are about. (Is that weak joke going to become a runner throughout this unplanned ramble? Don’t bet against it).

Later today I start working at a different supermarket. Same chain, different town. I imagine that’ll play out a bit like an overly flogged dead horse of a movie franchise. Ultimately the same old shit with tedium inducing cosmetic changes. I got asked if I was looking forward to it allot over the past week, I had a long-winded response about the linear nature of our experience of time, suffice to say, I can’t view the event in retrospect yet. There are good things about this though, it’ll be a cheaper commute to work and I’ll be able to have more free time as the journey to and from the workplace is shortened which should one would help translate in more time writing stuff since a while ago I kinda resolved stronger than before that selling my writing would be somewhat fulfilling.

Backstory time boys and girls. We’re going to fill in blanks many as friends of mine (random strangers reading this blog, hello, you’re now my closest friend) would already know. Earlier this year one of my admittedly stab in the dark submissions to the Black Library (I like writing (read thinking of stories), the IP that the Black Library deals with is engaging and fab (I am a warhammerer) and what not but it’d be hard to argue that I am due to be published properly so it’s always been a “submitting can’t hurt”-longshot type of hope attached to the submissions many of which haven’t been fantastic) got some interest and I ended up as one of four or three writers asked to submit full stories based on the pitches received. That was kinda a big deal for me,  still not a done deal but suddenly it seemed my wistful darts thrown blindly into the darkness in a hopeful manner was near some sort of target. It was exciting, it was cool, I had to reread my submission, replan the story as I had forgotten what I pitched and I got to struggle with the words in a way that was frustrating but fulfilling because it kinda now counted and ultimately the process was cool and I think parts of what I produced are probably amongst the best things I’ve written.

Anyway all that build up to it and the news wasn’t that favourable. The original promise of my submission wasn’t met (don’t ask me what that was, I’m as clueless as anyone)  which is disappointing if not unexpected, the full thing (as I sent to the editor) alongside further in the thread my pitch (so that the two can be compared) is here (on a thread that I find frustratingly under commented upon to be honest) and I just await the chance that Christian Dunn editor at large may find time to offer up some feedback to me before I finish off the current spate of submissions.

This hasn’t knocked my confidence or my resolve greatly, I’ll still be thinking of stories, it’s how I’m wired. Might as well be writing them down. The whole process has made somewhat clearer that I am a fantasist first and foremost and a writer through a knack of debatable size. Communicating the things I think up is the issue and whilst the written word is the medium I’m most comfortable with (you should listen to me talk, actually people have died, perhaps try not to if you value your life) making things work and be efficient and cool is something that needs thought. It isn’t easy and I don’t want it to be easy, I want to get it right so it’s fine.

Thus I’m now sort of working towards submissions for the current submission window which closes at the end of July. I’m distracting myself with things at the moment, probably still not over the hump that manifested the angry post the other day here. It’s useful stuff, I got myself “the seven basic plots” by Christopher Booker and whilst I’m not yet a full third through it is useful stuff. Whilst one may quaff at the concept that there are only seven stories, I think and upon reading some of the book feel more confident with the notion that storytelling is like music. Plot points are the notes, there are some recognisable general things, waltzes and the like where the plot beats happen in an order and a timing that is identifiable. As storytellers and writers we have to identify the notes and put them in an order that works. It’s not light reading though and it is wasting time arguably from the submissions but it is giving me some thoughts about the chapter outline for the novel pitch(es).

I have a novel idea I intend to submit. It’s cool, it has unorthodox knights, underused gods and fantasy goodness. I have others but they’re further back on the burners, I only have a finite amount of time to submit this year after all. Anyways the premise is down, the characters (not all named, must do more research) are formed and points A, B, C all the way to Z are in my head and noted down. Putting it into chapter summaries, working out what happens each chapter is the tricky part I feel. This is what I think the seven basic plots can help with, giving ideas of how to put things and when and where to do it within the narrative. Food for thought, but this musing is killing time I should maybe be using to do short story pitches or writing sample chapters for the novel pitch. The balancing act between these demands on time is probably a greater concern and worry than my thoughts on if the feminist tones developing in the novel are something that needs identifying in the pitch and if it’s a subplot or just background noise (before you all balk at the feminism and go “but it’s a clichéd fantasy world loosely drawing from historical europe so the position of women isn’t a thing that needs addressing” rest assured, I actually hate women and would hate to empower them through my stories but it fits and works with the set up I use and offers interesting things to play with for the characters so I’m for it). Not something easily resolved but that’s the quandary I’m grappling with at the moment along working out a pacing for a new 40k army (traitor guard with lots of converting) and other personal nonsense.

So that’s where I am now. I’m working on some stuff writing wise, not as efficiently or quickly as one might have hoped but I’m still slogging away and I am confident in my ideas. I have cool ideas, the ideas and plots aren’t my problem so much I don’t think (which again makes me consider if I’m wasting my time reading the seven plots book in time I could be writing) it’s more my actual standard of narrative and writing that’s my weakspot. Which is something I’ll only better by writing and with the gathering of some opinions on stuff. I dunno it’s all go now anyways. I best sleep soon, I may not work Sunday mornings anymore but it is fairly early and I am reasonably tired. Not much more to say other than an invitation for folk to engage with me and discuss stuff, be it Bride of Kharn (proper title was Skull Tithe btw wandering folk), chapter summary ideas or anything really I like chatting and any viewpoint could prove useful.

Tomorrow I will do some waterboarding to make the initial weak joke worth it. Don’t worry your pretty little heads.

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