Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The mechanics of writing

The acceptance of "Dispatches from The Troubles" (which is a dystopian Texas alternate history) by GUD got me thinking about an old story I started some time ago and then laid aside. It was a stab at a Texas future history, "Desarollo Separado". I started on it last week from scratch and got up to 2,700 words when I stopped for a few days.

Meanwhile I had a chore to do last weekend, which involved going through a box of old floppy disks. In the process I reorganized and re-labeled some of them, including disks which held backed-up s-f stories, and I found the disk that held the original version of "Desarollo". I didn't realize how long ago it was since I wrote it; at least six years.

Anyway, I read over my original start to the story, and realized I had written a good beginning, and maybe a good end - and didn't have the shakes to actually make a story of it. I copied the old text into my new version (the two parts were almost the same length) and I think I can actually put it all together.

I read all the time of authors who've written stories in segments, or who've spliced stories together, and I see from this example how that can happen. I think story scenes will actually benefit from the differing tones caused by the years of separation. It's almost like collaborating with yourself. It makes me think about going back to other false starts and seeing if I can ramp them up again.

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