Journal, Writing

Chekhov Diary – Week 7 – “Swallow”

Monday – 12/12 – Began this week’s story, and got about 700 words in. Not quite as fast as other days, but that’s okay–I’m trying something a bit new on this one. I’ve been reading a bunch of Roald Dahl short stories (he’s one of my absolute favorite macabre authors, particularly in short-form), and I’ve noticed than in a handful of his stories, his narrator is just an observer of an incident. It’s strange though, because although the narrator is just an observer, he seemed intimately involved in the emotional roller coaster of events playing out, maybe all the more so because he has no control over what happens to the people around him, or over the decisions they make for good or for bad. “The Man from the South” is a particularly good example of this, and all the more gripping because like the narrator, the reader can only hold her breath and watch as the events unfold. So I’m trying that–I’m bringing an innocent narrator into the middle of something far from normal, and letting myself play along those lines. We’ll see how it goes by mid-week. It’s going to be a busy (and stressful) week, it seems, and I’ve been a little worried about how this is going to impact my ability to be creative. That in and of itself is making me more stressed.

Tuesday – 12/13 – 1.1k of progress on story now titled “Swallow.” This story is totally unrelated to any music selection, so it’s not *quite* following my monthly prompt…at all, actually…but it’s getting on the page, and that’s all I’m really worried about. :) I am totally loving writing about a setting I’m familiar with. It feels so much more real to me, and I’m having a blast remembering details. I’ve set this story in the bungalow of a friend of mine–or at least in the house they lived in when we all lived in Portland–and it makes the story feel so alive. I’m going to have to do this more often. Writing a lot of far-future and distant-past styled stories makes it hard to literally incorporate many of the places I’ve lived, besides in a general way, but I really do enjoy writing more modern-set pieces which I can populate with real places I’ve known. There’s something deliciously intimate about it. It’s the same feeling I got writing “The Road to Ki’o Ahi” which is set in the Manoa Valley of O’ahu where I lived for a year and a half–I love that story, because when I read it, I feel like I’m back there. It managed to capture a lot of my memories of the place at the time, and that’s a really neat thing to be able to do in fiction. Recognizing a location is certainly something I enjoy immensely in other authors’ works. It’s fun to try my own hand at it now. :)

Wednesday – 12/14 – It’s Wednesday again, isn’t it? How is this week going by so fast? Added another 1.2k, but I’m going to have to pick up the pace. This is another one of those weird ones that seems to be writing itself–it’s not quite an unpleasant experience, though experience has taught me that just because something writes itself doesn’t mean it writes itself well. These kinds of stories tend to have a really tight flow to them, which is great if I get it right the first time through, but usually I don’t, and then the tight flow makes the revising so much more difficult because every change feels like it’s disrupting the natural groove. It’s rather like the story’s on pre-destined tracks, and it’s just rolling along, at its own pace, on the tracks, and I’m just sitting in the car waiting to see where it ends up. Maybe I’ll add more to it this afternoon if I have time. I need to do some other things also, but I’d like to get through the next scene to lock it down. There are a bunch of other steps I have to hit before the finale, and only a couple of my characters’ days to hit them in, so we’ll see…we’ll see… It may be tight….

Thursday – 12/15 – Eeeeeeek! We’re getting down to the wire. I have a feeling I’m going to be spending some time on this tonight to prep for tomorrow. It’s going to be a bit of a squeeze. So far today, I’ve added 1.9k, but I’m going to need to add a good deal more to get to where I need to be for tomorrow. The writing itself is going well, if a little slow. It’s happily chugging along at its own pace, which means all I can do is put in the hours and hope it gets where it’s going by tomorrow night. *bites nails*

Friday – 12/16 – Tried adding some to the story last night, and fell on my face. Was just too tired and too unmotivated to come up with more than a handful of sentences. BUT! That said, this morning I got an early start, and after 2.9k, the story’s a wrap at another ridiculous 8,484 words. So, shorter than last week, but then I did have to crunch it a bit at the end to hit my deadline of finishing today. Overall impression? I like it. It’s a reworking of a story I wrote a long time ago of the same name, possibly even during the last Chekhov year. The problem with that story was it was interesting, but wasn’t quite horror enough. Granted, I’m not sure this one is either–it’s sure longer, but I was definitely going more towards the Roald Dahl eerie feel than obvious horror. I very much like the personal details of this one better than the last one, though I worry the last one may have a bit more soul. But then, it’s been ages since I read it, so who knows? I may just be projecting that. I’ll have to dig it up and see. This one, I believe, is definitely creepier, but at such a long length, I’m going to have to edit it like crazy to get it down to a decent size. At any rate, Week 7 is complete!

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