I've been writing a short story this past few weeks which I have more-or-less titled "Surprise Me". The title is fitting for the story itself, but it's also been an experience full of surprises throughout the whole writing process so it's kind of doubly apropos. The most surprising aspect of the whole thing is that I wrote a short story at all. I have started many but finished none in all the years that I've been writing and this one wasn't even planned. It just sort of spilled out whole cloth a couple of weeks ago and I've been massaging it ever since. Maybe that's the point. Maybe that's why it works. Had I set out to do it deliberately it might not have worked at all.
Having said that, the last few days have been a bit rough in terms of getting the work done.
I sat down last night like I've sat down many nights before that and just didn't get much writing done. I'm trying to do it on the computer now so that I can change things quickly and with less scribbling but I'm finding the process cold and...inefficient, weirdly enough. I've been scribbling in my Moleskine and just pounding the stuff out having a gay old time but you can't print that off or e-mail your notebook pages to someone to preview or proof. I do still want a handwritten copy of it in there (yeah, that's the romantic in me) but I need that digital copy.I also have a deadline of today to clean up a section which I promised to send to someone and I'm pulling my hair out trying to get that done in a timely manner.
The poetry I usually write is so immediate and rarely goes through this kind of rewriting process. Maybe a second draft to clean up an idea or two but, ultimately, if I rework a poem too much it breaks. Falls apart under its own weight. Feels manufactured and loses all immediacy and just feels...disingenuous.
This story is in its fourth and a half draft and it's only about 10 pages long. I really expected less, but maybe that's a fault of mine. Not having done a lot of prose work (as in so little it should be considered none) I guess I didn't anticipate what it would take. The need to back away from it for a while to let the dust settle before going in again, the major and minor tweaks that just keep coming every time I sit down with it.
Then, to top it off, there's my own overriding insecurity of whether or not it's any good. To put all this work into it and have it be absolute shite would be pretty heartbreaking. It's not, by any means, a great piece of fiction. I mean, call it what it is. It's a short erotica story. A blip of an encounter between two people done in such a way as to be provocative and sexy. But I still want it to be good, obviously.
So, I continue to toil away at it when I'm not fighting off sleep or dealing with the evil and weirdness in my everyday life.
Hopefully I'll be able to get a grasp on it today and work through the obstacles to get to a satisfactory endpoint.
Wish me luck.