(June 22 – 28)

I’ve decided to take a break from the novel and am instead revisiting a short story I first finished back in 2013. It was the second or third story that I wrote (following Graves and Colder Still), but I never truly felt that I’d gotten it right, hence it never got to sit on my Smashwords page alongside my other stories.

I won’t say that the problems (and solutions) jumped out at me right away, but there was one point where my ‘mind map’ of the story (the version of the narrative path that sits in my head) diverged quite significantly from what was already on the page. In short, there was a whole section in the story that I didn’t expect to find there. Naturally, this ended up being cut fairly swiftly, and the story is hopefully much stronger for it.

There has also been some minor knitting required at various points. I decided to change the secondary character’s progression through the story, which necessitated some story beats being shuffled around or omitted entirely.

I’m still not 100% convinced I’ve got the story right (though, in all honesty, I rarely am) but I’m hoping I’ve excised some of the more obvious errors and crafted a far more naturalistic version of this tale about a single mum finding a living skeleton in the local park …

One good thing

My good thing this week is that I’m getting a story published! Yes, I have been shortlisted for the KSP Writers’ Center annual spooky stories competition. Pretty exciting. 

One bad thing

My bad thing this week isn’t really a bad thing, tho it is a bad film. I decided to check out Io on Netflix as my Sunday night sci-fi. It wasn’t good, but films that fail to be good can still be interesting to study as it’s always useful to note what prevents a story from working.

In the case of Io, it came down to weak direction and an underdeveloped script for me. The film has a reasonably interesting idea, two great actors, and looks gorgeous. It reminded me very much of the sort of science fiction movies we’d have seen in the seventies (Silent Running, for example) where the idea is the big thing, and the character’s journey is what carries you through it.

In the case of Io, the idea alone isn’t strong enough to carry a story and there’s not enough else going on to maintain interest. A more developed script would have teased out stronger characterisation, or drawn more drama from the situation (particularly when the two characters finally meet). Meanwhile, a stronger director might have worked harder on the performances, found ways around the weaknesses in the script, and possibly drawn more from the setting. Not a disaster, ultimately, but kinda boring.