I guess it can’t be called a completed piece because it just got workshopped in class, but it is almost completed, I believe. This was a departure from my usual fantasy and sci-fi writing, which I don’t do very often. I went ahead and tried to write a story that is one we’ve heard quite often: woman gets into a relationship, relationship is abusive, woman runs. But I wanted to do it with a new twist, and out came a story called “Of Ghosts and Sky.” It’s a departure for me because even the tone sounds different, turning it into something else that I haven’t really written before.
Completed (almost?): “Of Ghosts and Sky”
Word Count: 4,777
Pages: 16 (double spaced)
It’s a good feeling to get something different out there. I can’t describe exactly where the story came from, but when my roommate read it she said she nearly felt a panic attack coming on. Apparently, my work still does the heavy feeling of anxiety/horror well, even when I’m not aiming for overtly horrific, and that’s what I wanted to bring across. So I’ve achieved what I set out to achieve. It’s not finished, of course – my workshop in class said I had some things to adjust to make it more effective, but I think that with some changes it can be a really effective story.
Speaking of doing effective stories: I am working my way through Stephen King’s non-fiction book, Danse Macabre, his analysis of horror in not only literature but television and film. It is right up my alley as part of my studies at college have been film and television as well as literature. I’m hoping that it gives me a better appreciation of what to look for to create more effective horror. It’s given me a lot to think about in terms of what kind of psychology and themology should be going behind every story, and where the horror in a story really comes from. I really love his analysis of classic monster/horror books such as Frankenstein and Dracula as well as his recommendations about things to go out and ready/see. I am certainly tracking down a copy of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House after everything he said. I can’t believe the mess they made of the movie by comparison to what the book describes… though should I really be surprised?
I now have a list of stuff I need to go read, but I’m tearing my way through this book as best I can. I seriously recommend.
There is nothing in the world that can make it hard to write like being ill. Since last January I have been battling massive stomach/intestinal issues which have knocked me on my ass, coupled with the problem of ye olde migraines. And you know what I’ve found? Being sick drives the old muse away. It just kicks it right in the ass and sends it running in another direction, far far away. Today however, I managed to write something finally, and I think I may be on a roll.
The piece was originally named ‘Anie’ and now I’m not sure what it’s called, about a Muslim immigrant woman who ends up in an abusive relationship. And you know what? It’s not about anything supernatural. AT ALL. I managed finally to knock out a story that didn’t have anything supernatural in it and I did it on a sick day, recovering from not feeling well. So hah. I can do it after all.
Final page count: 16 (double spaced)
Final word count: 4603 words
And all it took apparently was a few weeks. This is the first work I’ve done really and it feels really good. I may keep it up right now.
In the land of struggling writers, nothing is more terrifying than the concept of getting a rejection letter from someplace you submitted your work. At least, that’s how I feel about it – I am petrified by the whole process. You pour your heart and soul into a story, you pound at it until it hurts, and then just when you think it’s safe to feel good about things, you realize that you need to send your stuff out for submissions. You realize you need to listen to someone else evaluate your work. You realize that, in the end, the creative process is up for review by some editor somewhere who can decide whether or not your work gets published.
Hurts, don’t it?
Submitting my work is the most difficult thing I can imagine. I have stayed away from it, preferring instead to ‘hone’ my work. Really what I was doing was hiding, but I didn’t want to call it that. So yesterday, when I was busy being utterly ballsy about finishing my grad school application (more about that in next post) I decided to just get it over with. Get my first rejection letter – who cares! Just do it! And so I sent out my story. To hell with it! I know the work I sent out isn’t half as good as it should be, but there it goes. And if it gets rejected, well… at least the first one’s out of the way. Then, I can just keep going from there.
First one underway. Let’s see what happens.