Saturday, May 7, 2011

On Rough Drafts

New layout for the blog, if anyone noticed.  Since I've been posting some fiction on here I figured it'd be nice to have a bigger space to read it.  Iz nize, yes?

Also been working on my Machine of Death entry.  I'm leaving the country next week, so I'm just realizing that I need to get this thing done.  It's kinda a rush, I haven't written anything for my novel for a while, and my rough draft of this is absolutely terrible.

  Which leads us to this post.  I sat down and started writing this with a protagonist that I loathed, and someone who didn't fit the story at all.  Whiny, obsessive, a character that just crawled out of the woodwork to hijack my pretty cool idea.  He lasted for a few hundred words, and then I had to scrap the whole thing.  Not what I was looking for and I have no idea how he got there.  So now I'm going, in fits and starts, and I still don't like it.  There's nothing overtly wrong with it, now, no obviously pathetic main character, but it's missing something vital.  I really, really like my idea for this.  There's a lot going on, and if I do it right it will be very good.  But if I don't get all of the elements perfect, it won't be.  And there's the scary part - I need it to be perfect.

Do you ever realize that, in the middle of writing something?  I'm not used to writing for deadlines, and maybe it's something I need to get used to.  I only have until June 15th... wait a sec.  Checking website... July.  JULY 15th.  Oh, man.  That changes everything!  Whew!  Well, that makes a big difference.  I was gonna ask for some tips on how to avoid stressing on how to make something perfect in a limited time frame, but it looks like I have longer than I thought.

Still applicable, though.  When submitting to anything, there's gotta be a point when you think, "well, good enough."  When is that?  I'll keep asking this question, I think, as I get closer and closer to the actual submission of my story.  But I have enough time to do as many rewrites as I need to to get it closer to the perfection I seek.

P.S.  I've been talking a lot about my daily writing prompts, and I think I'm going to continue to share them here, if no one minds.  They're pretty short, and some of them are pretty good.  This one is in response to this prompt.  It went okay.

 I watch them, out of my window. So high that all of the people on the streets below were nothing but formless shapes, and if they looked up I would be nothing but a speck of a head, sticking out of an open window. This was my only interaction with humanity, with the world outside, and I loved it. I would pause in my work sometimes, gaze out of the window and pick one of the numerous dots at random.
“Pew,” I would say, making my forefinger and thumb into a crude weapon. “Pew, pew. Enjoy your dreamless life. And you!” Pointing to another. “Have fun moping around your one bedroom apartment for the rest of your miserable days.”

I'm a little bit of a sadist. I'll admit it, openly. I don't have anything to hide. Except myself, cloistered away in this room I've made into a laboratory. Except my work, the project that got me kicked out of school and made to live this bleak existence. Except my Magical Dream Killing Machine.

It isn't done yet. I'm within a year, I'm certain, but the MDKM needs certain elements that are not readily available to outcast civilians like myself. At this point, I halfway expected someone from a shadowy government organization (or the Russians) to take an interest, maybe offer me funding, or the materials I need, if I work for them. But that hasn't happened. I don't know how to get in contact with secret organizations. Wherever these people are, whatever they're doing, I can tell you that they're not paying attention to me.

Which is fine. Really, it is. In fact, I prefer it that way. Sour grapes? Maybe. It's not like I'm very vocal about my project. None of my former colleagues even know that it still exists, and when I was at the University it wasn't like any of them knew what the Machine was for anyway. But I'll tell you.

As might be readily apparent at the name, my Machine kills dreams. Every hope, every aspiration, every ounce of wishful thinking that you may have, it destroys. It's basically a reality machine, even though I like my name better. Pew! You're never going to win the lottery. Pew! You are forever going to be working minimum wage, a cog in the machine. Pew! You are never going to actually use your degree in Art History.

And all of those hopeful chumps down there are going to realize exactly what they are, and exactly what they will never become. This is my dream, and it's going to be the only one that survives the coming storm.


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