Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Shortest Straw-ry

 So that title is probably the worst play on words in history. I’ve chosen it because this update is about the first short (and shortest) story I’ve ever written. As I thought about a title Metallica’s ‘The Shortest Straw’ came to mind (it’s one of my favs) and as you can see I seamlessly blended it with ‘Short Story…’ Well maybe the opposite of seamlessly, but I’m keeping it because I think it’s funny. It’s a sign I probably need to get out more but I’m attempting to be a writer and that means being somewhere between a little quirky and totally ‘there came a tapping… a tapping my chamber door’ crazy. I’ll leave it to you to judge where you think I fall in that spectrum. Now that I’ve done my usual and rambled it’s time to tell you about the story behind the story.
 A few months ago my friend Starbuck (Sammy) asked me to write a short story for an anthology she was putting together. I haven't read many short stories and having never written one I thanked her for the offer but declined. The back story for the short story was Steampunk and one of the themes we could play with was Gothic Horror. I love Gothic classics like Frankenstein, Dracula, and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, so decided to give it some more thought.
It wasn’t long before I remembered an idea I had that was related to one of those classics. It was for a branch off story, like ‘what if this had happened instead.’ It did feel a little blasphemous to touch such an amazing story, but it was an idea I liked. I was always going to play with it at some point, so why not now? I spoke to Starbuck and told her I wasn’t going to make any promises but would explore the idea and send it to her for her thoughts.
            Surprisingly the first draft was a lot of fun and I enjoyed exploring the ideas. I sent it off to Starbuck and she said she liked it, but as with all my writing it needed some work. I decided to just leave the story and not have it in the anthology as I felt I got what I wanted out of it.
A couple weeks later Starbuck motivated me to finish it. I didn’t want to let her down so decided to give it a try. I think the break had been good because when I went back to it the story came together pretty well. I sent it back to Starbuck and she said it would be good to have in the Anthology; once it had some editing. She cut the 11,000 words to 7,000 and said it was ready to put in. I was a bit deflated to think 4,000 words were taken out and part of me wanted it to stay the way it was. However I wasn’t going to let my pride get in the way and the 7,000 words version is better for the anthology and as a story. I will always have the 11,000 word version to enjoy and I know Starbuck was right to cut so much as people will prefer to read the catchier, less rambling version. I talked about this in a previous blog and how that vital aspect of story telling is so important. However I threw it out the window for this short story as the Gothic novels have a wordy style which I tried to emulate. Yet I probably just rambled and what Starbuck did shows her skills as a story telling. As always I’m very thankful for her help and efforts to help me in my writing.
            So that’s the update about my shortest straw-ry and I’m assuming that most of the traffic to this update has come from  where the story can be found, but if not head over there to find the anthology of short stories that I’m sure you will enjoy.
 As always there is a lot more going on and I’m working on various projects at the moment. The best thing to do is like my facebook page for my updates (link on the right side bar), although they can be very erratic. Also Kristell Ink will be publishing lots of good stories from talented authors so like their facebook page for updates
Lastly this update marks a half way point of something I’m working on and just writing this last bit as a point of reference even though it makes no sense to anyone but me. Thanks for reading and I really really hope you enjoy the Anthology.  

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Time Is Relative But Becoming Irrelevant

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated this- in fact it may not be that long at all because I feel like I'm losing the concept I time. The update, as you can probably guess, is another learning one and not really an update of events. There will be things to announce at some point just not yet... I know... what a tease...
           This journey, over two and a half years now, has been brilliant and there has been so much more going on in my head, and in my life, than will ever be written about in this blog. Something I do want to record is that this whole process is teaching me to be a better person. That statement may be strange to some but to me it’s an attitude and way of living that is almost part of my DNA. There are some absolutes I believe in and one of these is that there are ways to be a good person and ways to be a bad one. I won’t get into a moral or philosophical debate but the good characteristic I want to write about today is having patience. There are obviously hundreds of things that can make someone good but patience is today’s topic and something I often think about. There are several types of patience: patience with circumstance, patience with people, patience in a crisis events and patience with ourselves (I’m sure there are more types but these are the obvious to me). I know I’ve talked about this before but in a way this is an update on the subject.
            The main point to start with is that I’m terrible at being patient (I’ve mentioned this before, probably several time). The type of patience I’m worst at is patience with my circumstance. Patience with people isn’t great but I think I’m doing okay with it. (I’m just thankful for the patience people show me despite my craziness). Patience with circumstance was never a problem at high school, as every fifty minutes the subject change. I had variation within school, a social life, work, and any spare time was either spent reading or exercising. It was a great life and in some ways I miss it. My life slowed down a bit at University but there was always something to keep me busy. Since leaving and having the health problems I cannot do as much as I want and because of this I’ve learned a lot about patience, being comfortable spending time by myself, and not worrying about how fast or slow things are moving in my life.
             How does this relate to the book? Well I don’t get frustrated any more with the fact this seems like a constant fight that is going no where. In January it will be three years since I started writing stories and to me it has felt like several life times. The difference is that it doesn’t bother me any more. Whether I get frustrated or not makes no difference and although it has been a source of motivation to work harder, it’s pointless.
Thanks to my journey with writing (and other parts of my life out of my control) I can now accept my circumstances better and just get on with the work and not feel happy or sad about it. It’s so much better this way as it stresses me out less. The great thing is that this pans over to all my life and I’m so much more relaxed about my life. Things will happen when they happen and I’ve got plenty of work to keep me busy. When the time is right to try and get exposure then I’ll do that again, but there is no rush to do that and I’m okay with it. On the surface it seems like I don’t care, but if you know me that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Having said all this I had a bombshell recently that makes me want to move things forward at a faster pace again. It was certainly a test of putting theory into practice. I want awesome adventures so bad, but they will happen when they happen. I’m doing everything I can to make my dreams come true, what more can I give? Not getting angry or frustrated by my limitations, or how long this has felt at times, is proof I’m learning. Time is relative but becoming irrelevant.
Lastly I want to say I’m thankful for my life, for my amazing family and friends, and for those who are helping me more than I feel like I deserve. I know there will be fun times ahead and everyone’s patience with me will pay off. It may make little sense now but I can promise you that.