Friday, October 8, 2010

Writing is re-writing...oh yes it is...

I have found an annoying aspect to my writing - for me to do a 5000 word short story, I have to write a 10,000 word story first, make a stab at trimming it then realise that I have to really start from scratch and blast out the desired 5000 words. It happened with "Miramar is Possum Free". Its earlier incarnation was an 8000 word sort of take on Blade Runner, set in a dystopian New Zealand where a private eye with a past hunted for a mutant cow. 8000 words and various attempts at editing made me produce a grim, gritty story, set in a ruined environment with a backstory of a tragic romance. While hunting a mutant cow.

Eventually I realised that no matter how grim and serious the underlying message of the story was, it was still about a huge great cow with an attitude. So I went for broke with a far more bonkers story of mutant possums - which turned out to be far more fun, certainly for me as a writer and, as far as some feedback is concerned, for a few readers.

And this is exactly where I find myself with my latest story - the big 10,000 word monster that I started with is bogged down in grim and violent detail, and, having re-written the opening section, I've managed to make it a reasonable 900 words as opposed to 3000...

There's still a lot of work to do before its ship-shape and ready to submit, but now, I can see something that will hopefully be fun, sparky and a bit satirical but without being too damn grim.

Am I going to have to do this when I write a novel - as in churn out some dark, weighty tome of 300,000 words before starting from scratch again and distilling the one decent idea in it to about 100,000 words? Yikes, that's a lot of work....

Ah well, 100 words is a little easier....

The alarm was going off and slowly burning my brain into mush. Was anyone listening? Who knew what the alarm was alarming people about? TURN OFF THAT BL**DY NOISE!
I had to finish the report and the procedure about writing the report but still that BL**DY NOISE carried on.
I grabbed my gun and stormed out of the office.
It wasn’t a car or burglar alarm. It was a trap.
The only sounds I hear now are the strange shrieks and moans of the other inmates when they open the padded door to feed me. It’s much more peaceful here.

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