2011 short story status

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front, but if you’ve nothing to say, no point clogging the internet with bland witterings.

What I have spent February doing is revising. Starting in mid-December, I completed the 1st drafts of four short stories by the first week of February. This is alarmingly prolific for me, leading to palpitations, mud baths and a good lie down to cope.

However, I put aside the remainder of February for revision. Things have been a little slower, having revised the crap out of only two of the four stories. Still, having two in the bank, as it were, is always a nice position to be in.

I did make notes to myself on my progress, so I’ll now proceed with boring you to tears with word counts and dates of commencement and completion.

The first story is called Suffer the Children, which is a play on words you’d need to read the story to get the full meaning of. This was completed on 3/1/11 after managing to work on it during my Christmas break while on holidays with my family. Written mostly in the dead of night while everyone was asleep, while the heat pulsed outside, it’s a story that starts slowly, but ends packing a very definite punch. Again, informed a little by my experience of small country towns, it turns very nasty about half way through. Not subtle, but a decent enough story and I’m quite pleased with the energy of the ending. Fingers crossed.

While finishing Suffer the Children, I had an idea for the next story, originally titled Castaway (now Tropic of Cancer) which I started on 4/1 and managing a whole 630 words that evening. The idea was in two parts – a documentary on huge crabs called ‘robber’ crabs, and a news item about the possible discvery of Amelia Earhart’s remains (you can see where this is going, surely?). The story was completed in first draft by the 13/1 and clocks in, after revisions at a touch over 4000 words, which I hopes makes for a nice, tight story.

A short break, then back into it. I finished in August last year the first draft of a story called Shivers, which at the time I thought was the bees’ knees, but looking at it, didn’t really live up to its potential in the 1st person perspective it was written. The expansion went as follows:

Started: expanded 1st draft of Shivers 16/1/11 – 1200 words completed.
19th 723 words.
20/1/11 1281 words.
21/1/11 1181 words – 2nd draft completed.

Since I had the bones laid out beforehand, putting the flesh onto it, expanding the story, deepening the main character, was an easy task to accomplish. It’s the next story to get the full editing treatment, and I’ll need to work on a decent title.

The final story is drawn on a bit of personal knowledge – where my wife works and when she does, my experiences looking after the kids. Let it be said that ‘Mummy’, other than those two facts, thankfully bares no resemblance to reality.

26/1/11 – began ‘Mummy’ 891 words.
27/1/11 – revised first 891 words.
29/1/11 – 860 words ‘Mummy’.
6/2/11 – Mummy completed.

It all seems rather neat and tidy in the breakdown of the writing above, but I did find myself having to slog through the story – I definitely needed to take a rest from the writing, which was in part why I’ve spent the last few weeks revising. Mummy will likely need the most revising – it sags in the middle and needs a polish to give it some spark and a greater sense of menace.

So, there you have it, what I’ve been doing over the last few weeks. Fascinating, no?

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