Two weeks ago, I spent the best part of seven days bashing my head against the same short story brief, before concluding that I simply didn't have the right idea. So, last week, I went off to write other things, only to be distracted by the plumbing in our house going wrong.
This week, at last, I got my shit together. A nice man came over and rearranged our pipework (only sounds dirty) so we can have both hot water and heating at the same time. Meanwhile, I went to multiple cafes, battered the keys of my poor netbook within an inch of their lives and seem to have produced, at long last... stuff.
Splash Bang Wallop
I'd love to take sole credit for my recent breakthrough on the stuck short story, but the kick was actually provided by Alastair JR Ball, good friend and fellow writing chap. Once he made a handy suggestion about setting, the rest of it dropped into place like Tetris blocks.
And so I took myself to various cafes for the best part of 1.5 days, drank enough tea to keep five regular English people going and hammered out the first six thousand words of the probably-about-eight-thousand-word piece. If you're curious exactly what it is, there are more hinty-details on tomorrow's Hobson & Choi Podcast.
Suffice to say, you'll hopefully get the chance to read it in the near future, but it is pretty cool. And funny. And sweary. And maybe at times a bit harsh, but aren't all the good things? Just me?
One last point, as just talking about myself typing isn't amazing blog-fodder: I've been using the web-app Hemingway to edit some of my old work, during breaks from tapping out the new story. It suggests various ways to smooth out and improve text phrasing, attempts to spotlight long sentences and adverbs, etc.
Now, it isn't flawless and I'm by no means advocating blindly implementing every change it suggests. Sometimes long sentences are long for a reason, and it also has a fun habit of marking any word ending in -ly as an adverb for destruction.
Still, Hemingway proves a useful broad tool for finding spaces where I can use a stronger, less rambling phrasing, so I'm recommending it anyway. Worth a look. And now, I've got another few bits of work to run through that site, and then the remainder of this story to tap out. Fare ye well.