(September 7 – 13)
It’s been another deeply average writing week, but the good news is that the new short story is starting to find its shape. It’s proven a relatively complex beast to (mentally) plot out. Given that it’s the offspring of three separate story ideas this is hardly surprising. I’ve had the basic story worked out for a while, but the right tone has eluded me.
In a moment of inspiration over the weekend I realised that it needed to be told in the first person: it needed to be more about the main character’s experience, as opposed to being a direct observation of them. So I sat down with my first scene, and rewrote it … and the damn thing stayed in third person. I hadn’t changed it dramatically, but I’d changed enough—it’s now more of a direct POV type narration—but when I reread it again and considered changing it to first person again, I realised that it was working the way it was.
It’s one of those instances of the story finding its own way, and my job as writer is to stay out of the way as much as possible.
I only hope the story continues to find its way for me, so I can get on and get it written.
Learned from …
This week I watched Mortal Engines, the infamous cinematic bomb from 2018. While it definitely wasn’t essential viewing, it wasn’t bad and I find myself perplexed that it did so badly. I think its biggest flaw was to take itself too seriously—we’re talking about a story based around the concept of mobile cities that attack each other like tanks (London being one of these cities). Something like this needs to be present with a bit of a wink of the eye, but this was altogether too earnest.
There were also some minor character issues; most egregiously, a supporting character getting a big payoff battle with the main villain near the climax that has in no way been earned or telegraphed. I suspect they were aiming for Ben Kenobi battling Darth Vader in a New Hope, but it came across a bit more as though Han Solo had randomly decided to take on Vader instead.