100 Days of Writing: Days 63-67

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Day 63 of #100daysofwriting and Mausu betrayal is her revenge. I consider the fine line between revenge and betrayal, they are different sides of the same coin, one feeds on another. We often excuse betrayal for the greater cause of revenge, but never the other way round. It becomes tragedy when turned around it becomes something far darker.

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Day 64 of #100daysofwriting and I am slipping into a routine of writing late on a Saturday night. Two hours fly by and it is well after midnight by the time I finish. The back end of Mausu’s story is crumbling, this is down to the fact that Mausu, like Robinson Crusoe, has been alone too long on the ship. Unable to navigate, she is adrift and aging, the prose is starting to allude to the fact that the ship is getting faster and faster, and her past and present are merging, as if her brain is failing like the ship. It’s an odd one and I have to tread carefully or I could easily find myself become poetical in my prose, images crash into each other and instead of merging, jar and make you wince when you read them back. Mausu was always a difficult story and I find myself wanting to start on something bigger than Mausu but back on Earth, and not so far into the future from now. At present, I am stuck with the religion of the denial of stars.

 

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Day 65 of #100daysofwriting and Mausu has come home. Sometimes a death penalty can mean dying on your own terms, and Mausu has waited so long to make the settlers look up, and she does so in the end. I am on the fifth draft of the story, and most of the structure is there, just need to listen a bit more for all the background noise. I have been reading Stephen King’s On Writing today and I was struck by his adage that all writers should write with a door closed, my office is open plan, and I have to disagree with him. He also says a new writer should try to write a 1,000 words a day — again, I disagree, not because I am being a snob but because to make such claims are often worthless, it places a weight around a new writer’s neck. ‘KING’S RULE: If you are to write, do so with a door closed and write a least a 1,000 words or you’re not a writer’. I love Stephen King and the book, On Writing but then I think of Bradbury hammering out Fahrenheit 451 in the basement of a public library or John Cheever by the furnace of his apartment building. Did think think, ‘Ooh, I have a door and it’s closed’. No. Maybe King is being metaphorical but I doubt it. He’s spot on about drowning out the world, do it with music or learn zen (I add the zen in homage of Bradbury). Every writer is different and I have had offices with doors. I have written on stairs, in bed, in the school toilets as a child and in forests, in Welsh farms, up sides of mountains, in deserted city streets. Doors do not make a writer. The ability to focus and immerse yourself in the world of your story, and allow the story to become everything, the character everything and this becomes a form of meditation. It means you could write in the middle of a city intersection as the voices and story comes rushing in and something so satisfying, clicks into place. Sometimes you can hear the click, most of the time you have to hunt for it and forge on with love and violence. So, Mausu, have your revenge, crash your ship into the settlement who never knew you’d gone, let them hear the roar of the engines and let them look up and see the stars before your deaths. Click.

 

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Day 66 of #100daysofwriting and I am in to the sixth draft of Mausu’s story, and knowing what I know now about how the story has clicked — see yesterday’s post — I find myself giddy with foreshadowing in the women mourning by the river. It is here that Mausu starts to wonder why the women look at her and not her mother, the idea that her mother condemned her to a short life because of one selfish act, loneliness. Her mother is frail, and human, the women in the settlement tow the line of their religion which is immovable.

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Day 67 of #100daysofwriting and promises of corn, of growing old are all stolen from my characters lost among the stars. A fascinating trope of some SF is the promise of the final goal, and not the journey.

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