Monday, October 01, 2007

Writing Journal: Unreality Bites #1

I'm planning to participate in Fully Booked's Graphic/Fiction Contest and this is a peek at my writing process.

It's October 1, 2007 and the deadline is thirty days away. Even if this is just a short story (people have written novels in the span of one month), I never underestimate my deadlines. I would have probably started earlier if it weren't for the fact that I had another deadline the month before (Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 3).

Anyway, here's my plan: I should be finished with the short story by the middle of the month (say, October 15) and then use the two weeks after that to edit and revise my work. I plan to submit my work at October 30 at the latest, allotting myself one extra day just in case I run into printing errors or if my computer crashes (remember Murphy's Law!).

The first thing I check are the contest guidelines. It's such a simple thing to do yet some people forget. Important things I notice:
  • I can't submit previously published work so no shortcuts for me in case I get lazy.
  • Genre can be fantasy, horror, or science fiction. Right now I'm still deciding whether to write a fantasy or a science fiction story. My horror writing still needs work.
  • Works must be in English. Not really a problem for me.
  • Word count can't exceed 7,500 words. I don't think I'll be approaching 7,000 words.
  • Manuscript must be replicated and submitted to the Fully Booked branch in Serendra. Sorry, no last minute email submissions!
Off the top of my head, I have no short story in mind. Fortunately, I have an inventory at home, some completely finished works that just needs intensive revision and polishing, others one sentence that can serve as the seed of a story. Most are somewhere in between, not quite an entire short story but more than a phrase. Here's one piece for example which I haven't a clue how it started nor how to continue it:
When Michael opened the closet door, he knew the apocalypse had arrived. There was neither a storm nor an earthquake but Michael knew the world would unravel this very day. His clothes were still in his closet but there was a minute difference about them—one with an untrained eye wouldn’t have spotted at first glance. It was a subtle yet certain sign that the end had come: Michael’s clothes were missing their buttons.
Anyway, so far I have no definite direction where I plan to go, so I'll be spending the night thinking of my story and attempt to write the first paragraph. While it's tempting to postpone the endeavor to tomorrow, procrastination has killed a lot of stories, especially with a deadline looming.


Joanna/JP/Pauie said...

Hey, Charles! I'm glad I clicked the link to your homepage (I'm Joanna the probinsyana from Mr Alfar's blog). But I'm gobsmacked which entry to read first here! You're a veritable writer dedicated to our craft, aren't you? Me, I'm busy editing Harry Potter fanfiction at Mugglenet, don't have time to reflect about my pen and keyboard...which brings me to...thank you for reminding me about the evils of procrastination! I'm also joining this jaunt with Neil Gaiman. This 'missing buttons' excerpt intrigues and can pop to anywhere from anywhere. Nice. Good luck to you and to me and to everyone of us scribblers!

banzai cat said...

Pssst! It's only up to 7,000 words!