And this post consists (almost) purely of me be happy about it. Don’t say you didn’t know that before you read it.
After I got home from work this morning, I sat, bleary eyed in front of the computer for forty-five minutes and imported the final three scenes of a story from the dictated files and cleaned them up so the sentences at least made sense. Making it pretty is for a later draft.
With all of the cleaning and tidying done, “Klaatu Barada Nikto, Baby!” is a 5,000 7,500 12,000 16,000 17,500 19,704 word short story novelette novella that’s part adventure, part parody, and a lot of fun (if I do say so myself), setting things off with a character who can only speak in well known Science Fiction TV and movie quotes.
But how did this story get so damned big? It started out so simple. Weird character shows up, convinces POV character that something big and bad is about to happen, and they go fix it. Simple. Too simple. Things need to make sense. For things to make sense, other things need to happen. Sometimes more things had to happen for those to make sense. And I still feel like there are a lot of very bare spots in the story, a lot of things to fill in.
I am glad I finally finished the first draft. The original story idea is about six years old and at one point I even had the first several thousand words written without a clear idea of where it was going after that. Dusted it off late last year and poked it with a stick for a while before deciding I could figure it out. Now it works, more or less, but needs a lot of duct tape and polish before another human being will get to see it and I’ve got a number of little things, and a couple of big ones, to finish off before I’ll get back to it.
This hyper-expansion of a story has happened to me before (discussed here) and while I still struggle with novel-length, I am starting to wonder if I’ve lost the art of short fiction in favour of medium length. So I’m attempting some shorter stuff right now, working on a pair of short stories. “The King’s Blessing” and “Listening Station” should both come in at 3-4k, in theory. We’ll see.
But it’s always a good day to finish a story, right! So today was definitely a good day.by