Saturday 27th January 2018
Today has been quite a hectic day. I actually managed to get a decent night’s sleep for a change. I was then up and about trying to get some bits for dinner tonight where a friend came over for a meal and we watched IT.
However, in amongst all the chaos, I found time to start on the short story I’ve been asked to submit.
I’ve had the idea for this end-of-the-world story for about a year. At its base is the idea that our priorities are all a matter of perspective. The world could be ending but you could be more upset about a personal interaction. So it follows someone as they deal with the fallout from a party whilst in the background the world is ending. It’s the focus on the mundane against the background of the cataclysmic.
The plot is very simple. The protagonist decides to go and speak to the person who they have had a falling out with.
I want to do several things with this story. I want that the reader never knows what the falling out is about. In writing it I want to imagine various different scenarios and ensure that the story works for each of them. I’ll plant a number of seeds that readers could pick up and infer things, but my objective is that it remains open to personal interpretation.
The challenge with this is how to write it. I was tempted to go first person due to it being quite a personal story and first person would help convey the initimacy. But then I run into the problem of how I conceal what the actual problem is. I could go the whole “too painful to think about” route but I wanted to try something different.
So I’ve gone 3rd person perspective. This gives the story some distance which I have to combat against. I’ve also gone present tense which given that the Shade Knight books are also in the present tense, bothers me slightly. But given that the world is ending, I think present tense helps convey the urgency. Besides, I’ve changed the perspective so it’s not like I’m writing exactly the same style.
And because we never know what the argument was about, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to have absolutely no dialogue in the story. That can make the prose pretty heavy, but I think the idea works both with the voice I’ve chosen and the theme of the story.
I’m really trying to up my level of prose in this one. There’s always a danger when you do this that it will end up purple prose and be absolutely crap, but I think the combination of 3rd person perspective with present tense gives me the right balance of familiarity and experimentation that hopefully I’ll keep it controlled.
I wrote about 900 words today. I know that it’ll need to be edited, but what’s been interesting so far is how much the lack of dialogue condenses the story.
It’s still very much early days with this one and I could end up scrapping everything and rewriting from scratch but for now I’m interested to see where this one goes.
If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels. Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.
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