If you want to go devour the latest short story, by all means do so! I’ll still be here when you return.
The accent discussed in my previous post is gone. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when they saw that, including myself I must admit. Yet, there are still traces of an accent when Tharad talks. Ironically, this was more due to syntax than any attempt to reflect an accent in his speech. One of my last Beta readers caught this and pointed it out to me when I had the Captain make a remark. Her comment was to the effect that “the Captain is speaking with Tharad’s accent here.” I did a double-take when I read that and sure enough, he was. That line has been fixed, but the interesting point for me was that in some ways Tharad’s accent was still there, just not the one I had originally intended him to have. I’m not sure how that happened, but there it is.
Dreamland is the next Pa’adhe short story I’m writing. I’ve hit an interesting speed bump working on this one.
Normally, I write these short stories from the start to the finish. Also, I always get the whole story into D1 before I even start D2 and begin any serious editing. These two points are being subverted by this tale.
To begin with, I already have 4,799 words written for Dreamland. That’s great, right? Normally I would agree except this time probably 1,000 of those words are notes that got jammed into the story. This makes it hard for me to follow from start to end the actual story I’ve already written so that I can maintain continuity. Somehow, D1 became not only the story but also the note file for this story. Worse, these notes are mixed in with the story rather than being in a specific place like the very start or the very end as usually is the case.
The end result is that I had to move to D2 now, half-way through this new Pa’adhe short. My guess was pretty close: 3,692 words were left as the actual story after I made that jump to D2 and removed the notes. I had considered removing the story from a copy of D1 and re-naming the resulting file to be the note file, but I decided against that for no discernible reason. How the heck did this happen?
The other thing I wanted to bring up about Dreamland is that it is not following my normal writing style. As I mentioned earlier, normally I sit down, start writing, zone out, and the story unfolds from start to finish. That’s true whether I get my writing done in a full day’s work or over several days. Every short story so far has followed this order from start to finish. Every short story, that is, except Dreamland. Between what I’ve written so far and the notes I wrote in D1, I actually already have the first third of the story, the details that go into the middle, and the ending is already done.
It almost seems like cheating. It feels as if I were reading a story, jumped to the end to see how it ends, then jumped to the middle to see what interesting things might be happening between the end and where I was in my reading. That’s actually the order in which I wrote those three sections: first third, ending, middle notes.
With Dreamland I’m concerned about two things.
First, it feels odd writing this way because that is how I tend to write my larger stories, the novella and novel size. I have mentioned before I have a couple of these larger, non-Pa’adhe works on the back burner while I focus on these short stories for the time being. Those are so “big” that when I work on them I need to jot things down as soon as they come to mind, no matter where in the story they are or where I am in my writing. Otherwise, I fear losing those ideas or research and when the time comes not being able to remember what great action or event I had planned for this part of the story.
The second is that Dreamland is funny. I don’t mean funny-ha-ha but rather funny-uncertain. Could I be writing Dreamland the way I am because it really should be written as a larger story? Do I unconsciously realize I have a grander story to tell here than can be shoe-horned into a short story? Should this be 50,000 words instead of 5,000?
Consciously, I see Dreamland telling the back story of ONE of the persistent characters. It could easily be expanded to give the back story of all of them but I’m not sure I want to do that. Is that why it’s being written in such a different manner? The uncertainty derives from not knowing if it needs to be more than a short story. Or if it should give all the back stories instead of just one.
I don’t know. All I know is I’m working on Dreamland and when I get the time to sit and write this tale, I feel like I could just sit there and write it all out, if only I had the time. I almost feel if I could take a day or two off to do nothing but write, Dreamland would be done and it would be larger than any other story, Pa’adhe or otherwise, that I’ve yet put out.
It remains to be seen if all this is a maturing of my writing process, a subconscious perception of Dreamland, or mere happenstance.
All I can do, really, is write it and then see.
Now, if you read this first, go enjoy my new story, The Mercenaries, now.