Monday, December 8, 2008

It's A Wrap

Well, that was an interesting experiment, for me if for no one else. Inspired by similar efforts on the part of Blue Girl and Men D, I decided to write fifty posts of fifty words each in fifty days and try to tell a story in the process.

The first post, the one about the eggs, was something from last spring. I ended up not using it where I'd planned but I liked it (he said with characteristic modesty) and figured what better way to start?

With that, I was kind of committed, in tone and style at least. For the most part I avoided writing ahead, except when I knew I'd be away from a computer for a day. That had the advantage of forcing me to actually work on writing and editing on a regular basis. By publishing daily, it also allowed some suspense to build, something which dissipates pretty quickly when a reader blows through the entire story in one sitting. In any event, it also had a couple disadvantages.

To begin with, I wasn't always sure where the plot was going and how to wrap it up in fifty posts. In the third and fourth weeks in particular, I realized the story was moving along more quickly than I'd expected. Hence the appearance of Officer Steenson, who graciously bought me several diversions along the way.

In addition, because I also tried to avoid going back and re-reading more than the last few posts before working on a new one, there was never any holistic editing. At one reading a day that's not so much a problem and in some cases it was intentional, as with the repetitive phone calling. In other ways, taking it together reveals things like all of the "shrugging" going on; in fact, I notice reading this as a piece how many of the writing tics evident here can also be found in many of my posts. Which means this exercise will either make me more careful about editing my posts or, more likely, self-conscious about the laziness publicly exhibited by my failure to do anything about these habits.

The part with which I struggled the most was the end. Endings have always been hardest for me as a writer (as a human being too, but that's another story). There were a few alternatives here.

A bloody shoot out of some sort. That was my original plan. I abandoned it, only within the last week, because it seemed too easy.

A surreal and stupid ending, such as a talking moose breaking up an assault on the Woodards. While this type of finale had a certain entertainment value, my previous efforts were serious enough I didn't want to cheapen whatever I had managed to accomplish for myself.

What I did. It's far from perfect but seemed the most consistent with what had been established earlier. Although I'd change some of the set up if I rewrote it, and make a number of other revisions, it presents Ray and Mike the way I think of them; especially Ray, who in my own mind at least is the most fully developed character.

Anyway, it was fun. As much as I enjoy writing about my family and moose it was good to do something else for a change. Thanks for reading.

And now for something completely different.


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

well, the surreal and stupid ending worked for Monty Python and The Holy Grail

I don't know if anybody tumbled to the 50-100-50 thing. What a giveaway if you had told us.

Here's the thing I've always thought about endings: An ending is an artifice. Real life doesn't end. well, it does, but even then, it's just the end of one character, but the story doesn't end, not really. The beginning and end are just the points at which the author decides to drop us in and out.

Thanks for writing.

Jennifer said...

I enjoy all of your writing, Snag, whether it be moose, home cookin' or Camry serials!

Vercingetorix said...


Thanks for the link. I guess your readers went from pert and pithy to ponderous and prolix.

Say, if you have an obnoxiously long post followed by overly long comments, does blogspot punish you by making comments disappear? Or am I just a stupid human who pressed the wrong button at some point?

Anonymous said...

I'm shocked that Snag had the indecency to inhumanely experiment on his own readers. I shan't be back.

Jennifer said...

does blogspot punish you by making comments disappear?

Snag knows all about making comments disappear...

Mendacious D said...

Wow. Serious Snag is serious.

I hadn't clued in on the 50 posts thing, actually. I thought you were just doing a story in installments, and in a style well-suited to Blogger.

Talking of moose, construction on Mighty Stoorn begins next year.