Friday, June 16, 2017

A Review on Revisions

As promised, I read over Draft Two of "My Soul to Take," made a few revisions, and here it is.

So go ahead and read that, because we're going to talk about it.

First off, my whole determination to have a proper omniscience narrator didn't really work out. The whole point of that was to explain the soul thing, because most people don't really grasp the metaphysical junk going on around them. But then Evie just says, "…it ripped something out of them. Like it tore their souls out." And boom, there we are. Souls and things that eat them. So maybe I don't need an omniscient narrator. Or maybe I'm still just no good at writing one.

Second, I have some interesting descriptions. I was trying to think outside the box and not use the same tired old phrases. Because I fall back on the same tired old phrases all the time. So I tried to get creative.

One was an attempt to describe the feeling of sensation returning to your limbs after they've been asleep. That tingly pins-and-needles feeling. What I ended up with was, "Blood ran back down into his hands with a feeling like water in a hot frying pan." Now this makes perfect sense to me. If you heat up a pan, and then flick some water into it, the drops do this sizzling thing where they rapidly boil and disappear. And that's what that tingly pins-and-needles feeling is like. Obviously if you have to explain it, it's not a good description, but it's still a rough draft. Even if it's Rough Draft 2.0.

Another was that feeling when the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Here it's rendered as "He got that feeling, like spiders crawling up his spine." I honestly think that's a cool description, but I'm some would say I should say it normally and be done with it. It's a fine line between avoiding clichés and not being too weird.

And I know I use plenty of clichés. Namely, "everything faded to black." I managed to only say it once, but I think that's still too much. That's like my life's work, trying to find a better way to say, "and then he passed out on the floor." I've had mixed success. Maybe people should just start maintaining consciousness better, and then we wouldn't have that problem.

Now, my third thing I wanted to talk about is something that's relevant for my next project as well.  Since, as I've mentioned, "My Soul to Take" supposedly takes place in the 1930s. 1934 to be exact. Now, from reading it (which I'm sure you've just done), you can't tell that it's supposed to be set in any particular time. There's nothing to indicate it one way or another. And I'm okay with that, in this case. It's such a short, self-contained story, I don't think it needs a concrete setting. My upcoming project, well, that may be another story.

Honestly, I kind of hate writing period pieces. I keep doing it, but I hate it. Now, of the stories I've written set in the past (I think there's been three), all had a sort of steampunk and/or supernatural slant to them, so it's not straight up historical fiction. But you still have to fit it into a reasonably accurate history. Which brings me to the bane of my existence.


It's the words, man. When you're writing a story set in 1888, you can't use a word coined in the 1960s. And it gets exhausting, looking up every other word to make sure you're using it in the proper historical context. And finding the perfect word to describe what you want, only to find it hadn't been invented yet. There was some word I was going to use in my first NaNo novel, set in 1888 (hence my use of it here), but it wasn't a word then, so I had to find something else.

Now, I've studied history. A lot. I have a piece of paper to prove it. So it's not a completely foreign concept. I have a good idea of the, I guess, overall feeling of an era. The attitudes and sensibilities. The prior historical context that created that era. I get it. But you try to limit my vocabulary… If I don't get all the right word and only the right words, the whole thing is going to fall apart and be set adrift in a sea of timelessness.

So while the aesthetic of my subterranean occult detective romance lends itself to the turn of the twentieth century, when sci-fi was fanciful and anything was possible… I may have to alter that if I don't want to get in a fight with words.

And that will be my next project. I plan to write that story for Camp NaNo: July Edition. Which means I have two weeks to prep, and maybe *gasp* make an outline.

So that's it for today. Let me know what you think of my second draft story.

I'll see you Tuesday.

No comments:

Post a Comment