Categories: Whatever Wednesday
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Published on: July 27, 2011

So, a month of story starters has passed, and again you’re back to reading my less structured ramblings. Did I learn anything? Well, sure. I learned that I have an awful lot of conceits in my fiction writing that I have a hard time overcoming, first off. As I moved through the month, I found that I had a lot of trouble making the stories feel different. I haven’t written a lot of fiction, so I went for the writing style that felt most natural to me, and I think that hurt a couple of the stories.

I tend to write fiction like I write these blog posts: More or less stream of consciousness, and from a limited internal narrator. The only difference is that there are characters I’m trying to determine the motivations of in the fiction, and odds are good that I know what I’m thinking already in the blog. (That’s not as guaranteed as you’d think.) I think Trailblazer is the clearest example of this. If I were a magical space navigator, my blog would read more or less like that story. I don’t think this is a bad thing, but, as I started to write the rest of the stories I found that they read very much the same. So I tried to make each of them a little different. They all frankly hold to pretty much the same construction, but I’m still fairly proud of even my little variants.

I think as far as variation is concerned that I’m the most happy with Red. Red was already a bit of a stretch for me. The other stories have a lot of components that have been kicking around in my head for a long time. For instance, some of you recognized the setting of Trailblazer as that of a D&D campaign that I ran in college. Doors is actually even older. As a kid I imagined a world made of different small areas linked by magic doors. That concept made its way in to the first D&D campaign world I ever created (although it never showed up much). Caravan is the second youngest of the concepts, being based on a dream I had a few years ago. Still, I like the idea of guys driving armored semis across a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it since then. (And, honestly, I like post-apocalyptic wastelands in general, so it wasn’t a far walk to get there.)

What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, Red. So the idea for Red came from a conversation I had with my wife while I was planning how I was going to do this whole Choose Your Tuesday thing. The hook of the conversation that I liked, and that led me to write the story was just how utterly strange the wolf in the story of Red Riding Hood is. There’s a lot of weirdness that gets taken for granted in fairy tales, but a wolf who can impersonate a person, but still sort of look like a wolf, and also talks, and is smart and malicious enough to lay a trap for a little girl is a genuinely scary concept. But yeah, the idea was pretty fresh, so I had to build a world around it a lot less organically than I usually do.

Because of this and the perspective thing, Red is the only story for which there exists a first draft that is radically different than the final project. The original actually is all from Red’s viewpoint, instead of shifting narrators like the final, and the storytelling was a lot messier.

I’ve rambled enough about writing for today. I’m really looking forward to writing more stuff for you folks. Don’t forget to vote here if you haven’t yet, and I’ll see you Friday.

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