Monday, March 8, 2010

WIPs (writing style)

I don't even want to talk about the stalled fiber projects I have hanging around. I do, however, want to get some of my thoughts about what I'm writing organized.

The horror story I wrote a couple of weeks ago is still sitting. I have character backgrounds in my head, and a rough idea of some story to go forward on. I don't think it's book-quality work, however I think it may be weird enough and engaging enough for a web serial. Watch this space for details. (My life is a funny thing. I was contacted last week by one of the people that I based a minor character on. He was even weirder than the story. Go figure.)

I don't write much fantasy anymore. Certainly not the sword and sorcery type that I loved when I was younger. I don't read much of it either unless it's mixed into a volume of short stories. It's possible that The Unschooled Wizard was the last fantasy book I read, unless you count Conan. Now that I think about it The Unschooled Wizard and Conan fit into the same subgenre of fantasy, a subgenre to which I would also add Jennifer Roberson's Sword Dancer series.

But the two fantasy stories I have bouncing around in my head don't fit into that category. One is a oddball combination of Shadowrun (post-awakening magical world without the anarchy) and coming-of-age that would probably fit best as a Young Adult novel, though I am trying to avoid angst in favor of more interesting conflicts. The other is...well, it's not fully formed yet, but it's a feminist take on the old prince marries girl stories. No, strike that -- not feminist, humanist. I want to write a fairy tale where the main characters have enough good sense to be disagreeable at times, and to fight the roles they're being forced into.

Romeo Falling is as it has been -- constantly in the back of my mind. It's a sort of incorporeal worry stone; I take it out and run it through my mind to distract myself from being worried or stressed. The title, which it has borne for almost ten years, has to go. It in no way describes what's happening. What's falling is Carly, the main character, and I don't know that she ever really hits bottom (though she repeatedly thinks she does). I dislike (due to overuse) the phrase "down the rabbit hole" and I'd rather think of freefall in space, though that metaphor for what's happening to Carly falls apart quickly. The most frustrating thing about that story, though, is that I have the entire thing outlined, which is usually the hard part for me. It's the writing that's proving problematic.

And that brings me to the work that I'm avoiding now by writing this blog post. I have never written a hard science fiction story. Correction, "Cold Dawn" is clearly hard SF, even if it happens to be 40K style. Cyberpunk has been more my thing, and borderline SF/fantasy. Psychers appeal to me, as do netrunners. I haven't the faintest idea how to write an alien. As of this story I'm trying anyway. What's more, I'm throwing the whole book of hard SF issues into it: FTL travel, colonization of other planets by humans, first contact, name it, it wants to be there. The work in this one will be the research. I have to decide which rules to bend to make it plausible, I have to map out alien psychologies. On top of all that -- wait for it -- I have three groups of characters I want to follow. It's a Game Master's nightmare and I'm doing it to myself. (Though it can't possibly be as bad as having a character set on a suicide for which an entire audience wants to lynch you because they blame the GM. At least I hope it won't be that bad.) Oh, and I need a linguist, because I sure as hell am not going to be able to make up convincing alien names. Maybe I'll just make 'em all speak Portuguese.

Okay, enough avoidance. My brain has wandered off to a planet that Terra has colonized for farming, and my fingers are cold from typing in front of a draft. I'll write if I find work...or if I find a plausible story in this drek.


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