on the writing & reading trail

Posts tagged ‘short story ideas’

Family saga edit slowing this week

Days 26-31   (June 9-14)

It’s been one of those weeks. Extra family and home maintenance matters had priority until today when I’ve managed a full day at the library.

We usually call for one quote for work that is needed, hoping it will look reasonable so we can accept it straight away. No such luck. First quote for what seemed like a low-level task to our inexpert eyes was $800+. Tried another tradie – result $500+. Discovered a trusted previous helper was back in business after a health layoff – work done next morning – $150. What were the others thinking? Can’t believe we seem old and senile enough to be taken in! Maybe they don’t want the work. OR . . . .? Can’t be bothered expending more energy on thinking about it – wasted enough time already.

Editing was bitty on previous days with a sense that inconsistencies may flourish because of the discontinuity. All was good today with many changes, mostly low-level, but should contribute to clarity and improved readability and more natural dialogue. On a visit to Maroochydore Freya had a difficult time when memories of Alexander surfaced unbidden.

Reading:  Today there were six requested books waiting for me on the reserved shelf. Two Patchett ones (a short story collection and a novel), and surprisingly several novels I’d tracked down when scanning Library Thing yesterday. Just love that site but what a time-eater – discipline needed. Also a memoir, telling of a young Muslim’s journey towards jettisoning the Islamic beliefs of his immigrant community – title is The young atheist’s handbook; author is Bangladeshi, Alom Shaha. The blurb says, ‘In this powerful narrative, Alom Shaha shows that it is possible to live a compassionate, fulfilling, and meaningful life without God.’ Couldn’t resist dipping into this one over a lunchtime bite. You can find author details on the web http://alomshaha.com/

Short story ideas were scribbled on receipts or entered into mobile phone notes in passing when I was out and about, and thankfully retrieved for entry into laptop files before they disappeared. For some unknown reason my trusty notebook was absent.


Family: Had a wonderful catch-up lunch with one of my sisters yesterday. Great meal at a Nursery restaurant to the cheerful sounds of kookaburras. Cold though as the breeze was brisk. Lucky for us that cosy wraps were provided. The leisurely walk through the paths and boardwalks in native flora and rainforest afterwards topped off a pleasant afternoon before we headed in our separate directions. We are vaguely thinking travel – maybe the European waterways? Maybe a stretch into Turkey? All hypothetical at the moment. But action has to start somewhere.

Friends: Tomorrow’s coffee and cake with two writer friends will complete a pleasant week.

Hopefully productivity next week will reach an all-time high.

Saga edit continues – grappling

Day 44 (April 10)

Saga editing: I’m still grappling with the unruly beginnings of Part One. The big structural change is much harder to deal with than I expected. My recent efforts don’t gel. The ideas and the content are the same as they were previously, but the relocation continues to be awkward. Re-reading shows more anomalies and gaps. So some more new writing is needed and consistency in the ordering of events is a challenge. Solution may lie in replacing one long chapter with three or four shorter ones. And contrary to all the good advice of the writing books and course presenters I’m thinking that a little dose of telling instead of showing might help. Some progress but still grappling after lunch break. Will take a turn at short story ideas  for a while.

Short story ideas:  I’ve pulled out two settings to work on, a main character and a trigger incident for each, around which to fabricate a fiction. Possibilities feel endless but I’ve found no firm direction. Next challenge is designated length – 1,500 words and 600 words feel too short for both so the trick is to narrow down the possibilities. Or maybe these ideas that I’ve become attached to belong somewhere else. I’ll have a go at both and see what happens.

And now there is a third competition in the offing – 3,000 words. Should I divert attention from editing for any of all of these entries? Results of two others are still to come. I’m appreciative about having made two recent longlists, and a highly commended last year, but it would be encouraging to get onto a shortlist.

Outcomes:  Not satisfied with where I got to, but know the disarray for both editing and new stories is clearer at the end of the day than it was at the beginning.

It is good to be back at the library after four days away. There is always a loss of momentum after an interruption to routine, but it will be better tomorrow.  And I want to raid my bookshelf at home tonight. Something niggles that there is help from a volume I haven’t visited for a long time. Can’t remember the author name or title of the book, but I’ll recognise it.


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