Novel no longer novel - but meanwhile...

Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:07 am
Location: Norwich, Merrie Engelunde

Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:40 pm Post

I started a novel 10 years ago - then it went stagnant on me (or I on it, or...) until last week, when it erupted again. So now I'm getting on with it, hence Scrivener.

Meanwhile, I and some friends send each other 3 unrelated words, and when we get them, we have to write a story using (but not necessarily including) them. You're not allowed to think too much first. It's fun, basically. Here's my only one that hasn't got rude bits in it (I hope theists will not be offended):


Boats, Boots, Books

There have always been those who want to know how to walk on water – and always those who looked for the answer in books.

Even before there were books, people looked for the secret in the stories born of word, they sought the way: the way not to get drowned. When the Great Paranoid One whispered in Noah's ear, it was to make a story that people would follow – that's why the Ark always looks like its roof is an open book, so you had to be on board to read the secret story.

Then he gave it to the his Boy, but that was all a Fish story – still, people followed that one like crazy, because the arc of the Ark was the one about not going under in the first place, but the Fish Boy story was about coming back up after, and that's what people really wanted to know about. The far easterners knew a thing or two – there's no name that keeps your feet dry, because the secret of the story is this: where the power is, is not walking on water, it's being water.


Oh, and I haiku sometimes:

lovers fear silence
harmless, yet spurned - like the string
on a banana

Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:35 pm

Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:40 pm Post

Wow, I'd love to see more of your work! Really impressive opener, and I wonder if Boats... goes any further.


Joely xx
Driven by biscuits; fueled by tea.

Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:07 am
Location: Norwich, Merrie Engelunde

Sat Jul 31, 2010 7:11 am Post

Thanks for the feedback - Boats doesn't go any further (follow-through has often been an issue :)) but I like the shorter-than-short format anyway.

Something else I've been playing with is an exercise I got from a writing retreat: write a story in 50 words - then write the same story again in only 16 words - then write the same story again in only one word! (plus title each time, of course - more leniency in title length allowed as the story gets shorter). It's a great way to essentialise - or at least to get a sense of what the most important theme in a story actually is.

By accident, the first time I did this my 16-word version turned out to be a haiku (at least in syllable-count - I'm not so fussed about 'mention a season'). So these days, when I'm writing a short story, I sometimes break off to write it again as a haiku to see what's really going on.

I got sent the 3 words bright-blacksmith-whistle and that story's kind of a weird little love tale, but the haiku is this:

the mute smith who loved
the shepherd forged a silver
rose that sang like birds

Meanwhile, my novel has seriously taken over my life, and about time too. Though I'm finding Scrivener really valuable in holding all the back-data, timelines, and so forth together to get at easily (and for experimenting with story ideas and prose fiddling), I still find the best way to write the actual text is straight into NeoOffice (a very tasty mac port of OpenOffice). I've got much more immediate control there over how large the text is in the view, and formatting and so on, and that's where the text is going to end up anyway.