Writing Report August 21, 2016
A productive weekend. I stumbled across a writing prompt that initially struck me as being pretty damn useless.
Writing prompts are tricky things. Too often they’re just meaningless generic ideas (“Write a story about a cat!”) or too gimmicky (“Write a story about a cat but don’t use any vowels!”). Finding a source of good writing prompts is always a blessing since a good prompt will light the fuse on an idea that can turn into a good, quirky story. Most people / books / websites that offer prompts fall into the first two categories, but some of the better instructors / coaches can find or create prompts that give you just enough specific details to generate a vivid idea yet remain vague enough to let you explore that idea on your own.
This particular prompt was a pretty generic one, but as I turned the phrase around in my head, I saw a not-very-obvious opening, one that I’m pretty sure violated what the original intent of the prompt was but who cares, it got the creative juices flowing, right?
I had the idea Friday night; Saturday we were visiting Soon-ok’s mom. I took along a collegiate notebook with me and starting writing at her apartment.
I completed about half the story there and the other half when I came home, clocking in at about 2,000+ words.
It’s not a good story -- not yet, anyway -- but it’s a good idea for a story and the skeleton is there and mostly fleshed out, so it’s going to be merely a matter of transcribing it and working on it on the computer.
I have several other stories in my notebooks awaiting their turn at beings transcribed: The aforementioned barbarian fantasy story, a one-act play, a couple of closet dramas, several fictoids, poems, and essays as well as a ton of free floating notes, all of which need to be transcribed and transferred to the particular story folders where they belong.
All this on top of the various books in their various stages of development.
Speaking of which….
I printed up the first draft of The Most Dangerous Man In The World so I can start polishing it over the next couple of weeks. I did a very light format / grammar / spellcheck on it as I was prepping it to be printed, but not nearly as detailed as the one I’ll do on the manuscript itself.
I’ve found for longer works it’s better to print out a hard copy and then work on it with a red pen. I print it on three hole punch paper and put it in a notebook with a number of lined school notebook paper in the back.
This was as I’m writing if I have any edits or additions that can’t be scribbled in on the margins, I write ‘em on the lined notebook paper and stick ‘em into the manuscript at the appropriate place.
(Short stories tend to not get that kind of attention from me; their virtue -- at least in my eyes -- is the primacy and immediacy of the story telling. I do go back and proofread and polish, but typically just on the computer, not a hard copy.)
Anyway, I’m all lined up for The Most Dangerous Man… I’ll tackle it as soon as I finish my edit on The Rustlers Of Rimrock.
 Back in the day we used to buy a copy of The World Weekly News, the ultra-low grade black and white red-haired stepchild to The National Equirer tabloid, and read it aloud at Ruby-Spears. TWWN was the home of Bat Boy and such insane headlines as DOCTORS SUCKED THE FAT FROM MY BODY (which -- surprise-surprise -- actually turned out to be a factual piece on liposuction, which was just then coming into vogue); it was always good for a laugh and at least three or four story ideas. Not a bad deal for $.25.
 If I’m working in an office for a studio or publisher, I prefer yellow legal pads; you can scribble stuff out quickly, tear it off, and pass it along to the poor schnook who has to decipher your writing and enter it into the document or script. For personal use I prefer the collegiate notebooks; you can’t tear the pages out easily, which discourages anusoids from helping themselves to something, and they’re easier to carry.
 I’ve discovered that whatever media I start a story in, I tend to prefer to finish it in that media even if I’m going to transcribe it to another format for final use.
 That’s the technical name for ‘em:Short stories that are told almost entirely through dialog.