A Year of Writing: Days 291-300

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Day 291 of #ayearofwriting and when I am not writing or on here, I think about my characters and what needs to be done or could be done. I have been concerned at the ending of my Ms Hayashida story, this will be my last story before I move back into climate change fiction, that it simply doesn’t gel and then I remember that I compared to Miss Haversham. I start to wonder whether Haversham is a femme fatal who lives vicariously through another and then it clicks. A tiny click. Hayashida hides the way she really looks, I want the reader to see her and be repulsed, which echoes the characters at the start of the story in the diner. However, I want the man who loves her to see beyond this. The story then becomes a commentary on how we only see form and not substance. Some times things just go click but you have to work hard to get here. Took me a month.
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Day 292 of #ayearofwriting and though I am exhausted, I am here at my keyboard, just a page, just a page about a hillside in a dream. Just a foreshadowing that all fate is decided (bar my own because I was born on a special day) and that we are just pawns in a large game. That’s the story. Not the reality. You must never confuse them. Though they echo each other.
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Day 293 of #ayearofwriting and reading climate change fiction from the start to me.
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Day 294 of #ayearofwriting and in a part painted bedroom I rewrite my second draft but it feels like a later draft. I have been carrying the idea for this story for so long, essentially a love story between a man and a forest goddess, that I am enjoying twisting the idea of what you are thinking now. Oh my, such filth you are thinking, so wrong, so weird and so much owed to an earlier story I wrote about the end of The Tin Grasshopper’s narrator. The idea of myth permeates what I write. For what I write becomes myth, given time, given whispers, given the memory of language.
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Day 295 of #ayearofwriting and it seems fitting that in the final run of short fiction before I go back to my climate change stories that the willow pattern trilogy from #100daysofwriting creeps effortlessly into my Ms Hayashida story. The seduction of my narrator is with a willow pattern cup, gin and the realisation that he cannot resist, for her seduction is like a fisherman with a club, the inevitability is everything in this story. The idea of fate already decided. And sure as eggs is eggs, there’s the boat on the willow pattern.
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Day 296 of #ayearofwriting and I hope by day 315 I will have put the Ms Hayashida story to bed so I can use the final 50 days to turn to climate change. Climate change has run so thickly through my writing. It doesn’t surprise me that a climactic disaster has become a tourist trap or something to view in a gallery. I wonder what will come after us, and how they will walk from room to room trying to make sense of our last moments. That will be my next story.
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Day 297 of #ayearofwriting and if any of you have seen 2001 you know where I am coming from with this photo. This is literally hovering in my peripheral vision as I write. The last sentinel. Oh, the heady lifestyle of a writer.
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Day 298 of #ayearofwriting and a little light reading. All to do with me now being a part time researcher.
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Day 299 of #ayearofwriting and as I near the end of Ms Hayashida I want to run for goal but experience has taught me to stop writing when you are on a roll. Not when you have come to a rest. So, I stop at the moment that Ms Hayashida drops her housecoat and reveals her true form. I do not show the nakedness or the horror of the flesh beneath, I have already foreshadowed that, sometimes it is good to let the reader step in and create the horror for you. Most times as a writer, it is good to step back and stop before the full stop. Even a rolling stone comes to a rest.
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Day 300 of #ayearofwriting and I am going through a short story that has gone through the editorial process. This is the back and forth of edits, lines deleted, punctuation added, ideas and themes queried – that’s the simplistic view – the true view is that a good editor will go through your work line by line. For those of you who have never worked with an editor, there is give and take but you must always defend your character if you believe in them. If you just give in to the editor, then you do yourself a disservice and the editor will get suspicious. If you cannot defend your decisions or expand on them, then your decisions have only been made to see your name in lights, and has nothing to do with craft. A good editor smells that, and they will go in for the kill. Writing is not just the creation of words but the understanding of them also. That sounds like something you’d find in one of those self help books.
If you want to learn more about craft or practice, or just follow my day to day glowing bones, you can find me on Facebook here and under my twitter handle @bongosherbert
Thanks for reading and following #ayearofwriting
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