Saturday, August 25, 2007

Writing Something Else -- Gambling but No Cowboys

Well, I've actually been writing. Fiction even, which is good. But not any of the stories I'd been working on earlier or even doing prep-work on, which is... not bad, but sort of wierd and sigh-inducing because it'd be nice to be able to work a bit more efficiently, or something like that. I guess that's not how creative work goes, though, or at least it never has for me, so as long as I'm working on something I suppose I should be happy. [wry smile]

So I was working on the djinn story and babbling in my notes file about it and the plot kept growing. On the one hand this is good because the anthology guidelines say "up to twenty thousand words" and even though there's no lower limit, I have a feeling that if I ended up with something only three thousand words long it likely wouldn't be looked upon in quite as positive a light as if it were more in the eighteen thousand word area, you know? But it was bad because the theme is gamblers and gambling (and cowboys but I'm ignoring that part because it also said "throughout time" and I don't get the impression that they'll be insisting on the cowboys if you're not in a setting which had them [crossed fingers] or even the gambling if you have a good cowboy story although that part is irrelevant to my current project) and the way the plot was developing, the gambling had turned into just a bit of a gimmick at the very beginning and then was left behind and forgotten. That didn't sound good, in a theme anthology and all. But I do like where the plot was going and how the setting was developing so I shoved it onto the back burner for later, then went back to my original image of a starting scene and opened a new notes file and started babbling again and now I have a plot idea which actually revolves around gambling throughout and to the end, yay.

I'm back to SF this time, with a setting on a colony world which had lost a lot of its tech as well as some of the more enlightened social structures in the struggle for basic survival during some extended period after the founding. It's fun coming up with a workable mix of high- and low-tech, figuring what might've survived and what might not have and what they would've re-built or re-invented and in what direction, because it's not reasonable to expect that the population "now" will have the same priorities and values and preferences that their ancestors did a dozen generations earlier, so as they redevelop and rework various things, they'll do a lot of them differently just because it suits them to do so.

And of course you have to figure out how things were before you can figure out how they'd have logically changed, which means that once again I'm coming up with a lot more worldbuilding info than is likely to make it into the final story. Although with 20K words to play with this time (my last SF story was only about 3300 words and change) I'll probably get more into it. But still, I expect to have a lot left over because there are things you need to know before you can figure out other things, which you need to know before you can decide about still other things which will actually make it into the story. Assuming you care about things making sense, that is. :)

Of course I could make this a cowboy story if I wanted to, since the tech level in some areas is pretty close and it makes sense that the colonists (who aren't really colonists anymore, but anyway) would be herding animals for food and other resources, assuming they either brought or discovered suitable animals in their new home. But I really don't want this to sound like a Firefly fanfic or something [sigh] so I'm avoiding the whole cowboys-in-space thing as much as I can. Despite the fact that the whole Colony World Loses Tech and Claws Its Way Back theme is older than Firefly and in fact is older than Joss Whedon himself, it's still a pretty visible example of the subgenre right now and I'd just as soon avoid comparisons (or insinuations) whenever possible. So no cowboys. [wry smile]

But I am writing, so setting aside the other story temporarily doesn't feel so bad.



Travis Erwin said...

Glad to hear you are getting some writing in.

I have a rather short gambling story 1200 words that I would love to find a home for. I have it out for submission to a couple of places but who knows if it will ever find a home.

The main character wears a cowboy hat but its modern and not what I would call a cowboy story.

Angie said...

Travis -- good luck with your story too! I hope one of the editors you've sent it to likes it. [crossed fingers]

And yes, it's nice to actually be writing writing. :) Plot and setting development is interesting and can be fun, but producing actual fictional verbage is always more satisfying.