Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday Morning Haircut

As I mentioned yesterday, I googled a random seed generator, here, and came up with this:
"This is a dark comedy with an undercurrent about exploration and the differences between the classes. The story is about elegant barbers. It takes place in Prague. Cultures colliding plays a major role in this story."
Once my eyes hit the phrase "elegant barbers" I was already writing.

This one was pretty fun. It takes me a lot more time to write good dialogue. I was down to a rate hovering somewhere between 800 and 1200 words per hour on this one, because I have to sound everything out in my head, make sure it's something the character in question would say, ask myself if what was said was something the other characters would feel the need to comment on. Fun, but a little taxing mentally.

As I mentioned yesterday, I pantsed this one, because I wasn't so concerned this time around with plot. My goal, once I sat down on the project long enough to acquire one, was to mostly focus on characterization and efficient description, which is why this one is filled with more oddball metaphors than usual.

The Prague detail in the random seed had some interesting repercussions. It took me to some interesting ends of Google as I found myself having to search for "bad neighborhoods in Prague" or "large Czech companies". It's okay for research to be a little shallow when writing fiction, particularly in rough drafts. You just need enough tidbits to scatter throughout your story to give your writing a veneer of authenticity, like ornaments on a Christmas tree.

Even if you feel like a complete phony, the deception can be surprisingly effective. People read the random details and just fill in the rest, assuming you know what the hell you're talking about, even if that's very far from the case. If there's one thing I've learned in my life is that it's okay to be talking out of your ass, as long as you say your complete bullshit with enough authority and gravitas.

Every once in a while you get caught with your pants down--somebody will point out that the Hotel du Palais is actually on the other side of town from where your characters are eating lunch and there's NO WAY they could have made it there in time to see Mrs. Jones get it in the neck from Watson, YOU BIG PHONY. That's okay. That's why you have an extra eyeball or two around to look at your bizniss before you do anything with it.


228,000 words this year as far as my fiction goes, 295k or so if you count my blog entries. Seven more stories to go. Home stretch! I'm going to try not to fuck it up.

Probably another short one this week. Partly because this late in the game I'm just resting up for next year, which should be novel-tastic--I've got tons of ideas for staying on track with my various novels, it's going to be epic, folks--partly because I want to focus more on exercises and writing drills to strengthen my kung fu. And mostly because I'm moving this week and I'm going to be busy doing moving stuff.

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