bITS 'N CHUNKS
More tales from the storage locker that is my OneNote here.
Since I decided to do short stories, sometimes I seem averse to attempting anything longer that 3,000 some odd words. Well, that's not true. I write longer works all the time, I just like to focus on more self contained works. It's what I prefer to read, too, coincidentally.
As of late, though, I think I've met my match in a story I am very excited to finish one of these days. It began life as an experiment in world-building, which since so many of my stories are more pedestrian these days I don't do a lot of. I think it's one of those writerly habits I actually should adopt more often. I started world-building with this tale and included a lot of details, really developed a strong roster of characters.
Curiously, for being a sports piece this story was actually influenced a lot by the imagery of El espiritu de la colmena because I think it deals with a lot of the same issues of blurring fantasy and reality.
As in acting, in writing it's okay to have details about your characters that you may never explicitly use I think. As I was developing my protagonist, I just made a lot of notes on things that I think would influence his decisions -- he's young, for example, and in a career that is unstable at the best of times and treacherous at worst. He's a bit of a nerd but is required to be a jock for TV. His rival/partner isn't a bad fellow either but let's his ego and age get the best of him sometimes. They clash...and there's a demon.
Oh, it ended up being one of...those.
So, let me introduce this story to y'all fully first off. It doesn't have a title quite yet but it's a Faustian story with independent wrestling as the backdrop. Now, as I warn y'all all over my site I'm a big wrestling fan but this is the first story I've written directly dealing with the subject and naturally I put my lil spin on it.
The story is about Duncan Shire, a young man interested in occultism and trying to make it big as a wrestler. His first tag team and eventual stable seems to be doing well, but he and his partner often clash. Duncan doesn't feel secure enough to strike out on his own so he takes a lot of bullshit he otherwise probably wouldn't, until one night he encounters a strange man with three heads that promises him a fuckton of money if only Duncan would provide the man/creature with his deep, innermost secrets.
Here's a piece from it so far:
Amex didn't have eyebrows per se, just a forehead ridge that he flexed. "I don't know if it would make sense or even matter to you. Let's just say they fuel my kingdom and keep me an honest man, eh? Look at this."
He reached inside his coat and carefully pulled out a handful of fine, glowing optical fibers. He started parsing the bundle with a talon, counting them up. Duncan leaned in, the soft light illuminating his face.
"Are those…secrets? How do you…"
"I pull 'em out. These are a little dim because they're from folks that keep running their mouths. I can't light my nightstand with this. A deep, meaningful secret? Could power a whole city."
"And you think I have those."
"But you must! You keep kayfabe stronger than anyone I've seen in a while, you gotta be hiding something in that meat shell."
Before Duncan could balk at the pejorative, the sharp pain seized Duncan's head again. He winced and whined, nearly screamed. Amex and Tony leaned in with gleeful grins.
"You're getting close."
Duncan groaned but resisted. Amex sighed and pushed the very end of his talon into Duncan's tear duct. Duncan instinctively yelled and tried to rotate away in space that was suddenly very cramped. Amex wiggled and jerked his finger, yanked until he pulled a long, pulsing optical fiber free.
"When I was little, I swore at my mom and told her I hated her. When she got sick I was too chicken to apologize. I pretended to pass out in the ER…so I didn't have to say sorry…she…"
"Died," Amex answered the disembodied voice. "Three weeks later." He checked something off the documentation and wrote 99 in the corner. "This is nice. Wrap this one up."
The pain subsided and it was quickly replaced with violation and outrage. "I never wanted to say that out loud!"
"You're going to be saying a lot of stuff soon." Amex grinned again and held out the stack of documentation. Tony laid his pen on top. "Do we have a deal?"
So I'm really enjoying writing this so far and this skeleton is probably going to end up being my NaNoWriMo project--wwwwaaaaait a minute
WHEN DO I STOP WRITING?
One thing I struggle with when I do break the conceivable territory of a "short story" is what am I going to do with this? There's not a ton I can do with a novella or a novelette. If you're unfamiliar with either of those, a novella/novelette is a few thousand words longer than a short story but not quite a novel. Novellas are not uncommon or unpopular and I have no doubt you have read at least one in your lifetime and likely enjoyed it. They still satisfy my need to get to the point and quickly without sparing an expense. My favorite example is definitely Clive Barker's Cabal.
Despite this story's density, I sincerely don't think it's going to become a novel. Maybe it'll just remain an exercise? Maybe I'll just serialize it somewhere. Or maybe it'll get picked up somewhere, but to be honest with you I just never feel like I'm ready to make the jump back to long form.
You know where it's going? The OneNote storage locker to gestate and get it's life together. Seriously.
Ia! If you've come this far, you're either looking for weird or you know you've found it...