Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Le Ecrits

Looks like Dominique's out of the Mensa NaNoWriMo event, due to unforeseen developments. He'll probably be back for the November event, though, so I figure that his readers shouldn't have long to wait.

Me, I'm somewhere around 2,400 words at the moment. The bad news is that, if I were writing at the steady rate I forecasted earlier, I should have around 6,450 words to my credit already. As it stands, I'm four thousand words behind, and that's not a good sign.

I've noticed that, with regards to the NaNoWriMo entry, I'm only writing about 300 to 500 words per session -- significantly less than my 500-word blogging average. Part of that is probably due to the fact that I'm piecing the story together as I go along, and I literally have to stop after each bout of typing just to decide what's supposed to happen next. While I don't have any problems finding my "flow", that "flow" only seems to last for the aforementioned 300 to 500 words before slowing to a trickle.

I've also noticed that I seem to be falling back on a traditional style of narrative -- the one-on-one dialogue -- in order to flesh out the characters and the story background. I think that I unconsciously favor this over direct description, although I've made an effort to avoid it over the last few months in an attempt to diversify my writing. With that said, however, using this style makes it easy for me to work hundreds of words into the story with little effort.

Then, there's Dean Alfar's Second Spec Fic Anthology, which will be accepting submissions until September 15th. I usually only work on one story at a time, but my current states of unemployment and pseudo-insomnia have caused most of the ideas in my head to come out and assert themselves. That, in effect, means that I'm writing multiple pieces at the same time, and I'm worried about the quality.

In addition, all of these considerations don't even take into account the fact that I'm still writing blog entries. My blog entries, however, are probably the french bread to the penne arribiata: They're not quite the focus of the dish, but rather, they're something nice that's served on the side. They're also far, far easier to write, if only because I don't place the same overthinking zeal into them that I do into my stories. (This would probably also explain why I've written far more blog entries in the last two years than short fiction in the last fifteen.)

The Antaria stories, for the two or three people out there who read them, have fallen by the wayside in all these developments. I was surprised to learn that people assumed that one of my independent pieces ("Masks") was an Antaria story when it actually wasn't; I concluded that I had been spending a little too much time in Antaria as a result. The stories will therefore be on hiatus for a month or so, although I'll be writing up descriptions on the setting for interested parties.

I figure that, within the next few days, I'm going to have to make a choice between the NaNoWriMo novel and the Spec Fic submission. If that does turn out to be the case, then I'll have to go for Dean Alfar's initiative. It's difficult to jump into novel-writing when you've been perfecting an approach to short stories all your life, and I'd prefer to submit something I know I can tweak and rework with relative ease. I've also endorsed the anthology to a number of other unpublished writers of my acquaintance, and I want to hand in something just to make sure that we all run a nice horse race together.

Now, with all of the above items neatly arranged and summarized for your knowledge, all that remains is for me to get off my duff and actually start writing. What complicates matters, you see, is the fact that I still have to deal with the stuff of modern living: Job-hunting, busted modems, freelance writing assignments, invitations for various business ventures, and that scourge of scourges, that ultimate time-waster, the SNES Emulator. (I could almost swear at this point that there is no better way to melt one's brain... except maybe for copious doses of local TV.)

I suppose that I've also written far too many posts about writing lately, and it's probably time to get back to other random topics just to carry peoples' attention. I should write something about chocolate someday. Or maybe something about the role of undead characters in fantasy culture. Or maybe something about fanatical obsession and its long-term effects. Or maybe I should just write something about monkeys... everybody likes monkeys, after all.


Charo said...


Monkeys mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! :(

Sean said...

Charo: I should be the one asking for a share of the profits, seeing that you got the monkeys idea while observing me in action. :)

banzai cat said...

Well, I thought your Masks piece was fascinating.

But then again, I like masks. :)

Sean said...

Banzai Cat: Yeah, well, "Masks" was probably better than the credit I gave it. But I worry constantly about getting stuck in a rut, and it didn't assuage my fears in that regard.

janet said...

Hey Sean. Take it from me, another short story nut--if you have to choose between the Crew NaNoWriMo and Dean's Spec Fic, do the Spec Fic. =) The NaNoWriMo's just there to jumpstart our writing, to get the words out of us, and silence that editor/critic on our shoulders; but if the NaNoWriMo gets in the way of a writing project up for publication, then you can just hit the PAUSE button on it, finish the SpecFic piece, then return to the project afterwards. Dunno about the others, but that sounds good to me. =)

I myself haven't written a single word, yeegads. That means I have to write about 1,600 a day starting Monday! Nyaaar. Don't have a story/plot either, but, you know, I am so excited to start. The beauty of such a project is that there is no pressure to come up with good stuff. So we can go back to the pleasure of writing: without an audience in mind; without the constraints of characterization, dialogue, POV and all that riffraff. Sulat lang nang sulat. Beautiful, no?

Sean said...

Janet: Ironically, the NaNoWriMo story's hit a point where I can read the most recent entries and consequently get inspired to add more stuff to it, which is a good indication. The bad part is that I really want to finish this within the one-month time period, just to prove to myself that I can write a story whenever I darn well feel like writing one. I think that that goal's pretty unreachable now, unfortunately.

I suppose that you're right on the priorities part, though. The story's online and readily available anyway. I just have to hope that nobody steals it in the meantime.

Yes, I suppose that there's no pressure to come up with good stuff either. But I feel that we have to invest even a little potential in our stories somehow... otherwise we'd be facing the question of why we bothered to start writing them in the first place, or why we continue to add new chapters to them. That's probably why I worry about "Self Termination Protocol" as much as I worry about my other stories. Anyone's welcome to think otherwise with regards to their own, however.

janet said...

You're right, Sean, we do invest potential in our stories. And it'll be healthy to worry--in small doses--about your stories. That spells how committed you are to them. Wonderful.

Just in case people do steal your story, you already hold the copyright to it, even without registering it yet. If I remember right, you have intellectual rights over it upon its creation. Still, let's hope nobody does filch it!

Sean said...

Janet: Let's just hope that, yes.