I've now been on this subject for several posts. With me, it's an exciting month when I'm here once.
The novella I'm doing at the request of StarShipSofa editor Tony C. Smith will be a one-off book with art and illustrations by Skeet Scienski. The sale of that book will be to benefit Spider and Jeanne Robinson. Jeanne has cancer and, even in Canada, the illness and the human complications that come with it have pretty much drained the Robinson's resources.
In the wake of the release of the StarShip's first print venture, Tony thought to put together a long story and the art that both inspired and will, I'm sure, enhance it, bring them together in a book -- One Book -- and sell that single copy to whomever puts up the most money for Spider and Jeanne.
I'm told that person has been identified and the money committed. Thank you whomever you are.
At present the title of the story is: LORD DICKENS'S DECLARATION. Not set in stone but that's how my computer knows it. When finished, LORD DICKENS will probably come in at 10 to 12K words. As mentioned, if you stop by the Starship and listen to Aural Delights 100 and 101 there are reports being posted. I've called them Progress Reports but they're less about progress than they are about process. Progress? A couple words can cover that: 750 words today... 825 yesterday... Cut some. Added a scene... Not very interesting audio.
What I'm doing is an audio diary of where the stuff is coming from as it arrives. For my own sake as well as anyone who's interestd, I'm trying to keep a record of the starts and stops, the surprises, how pissed off I get at myself, how good it feels to actually get through some passages and my ongoing reluctance at times to let something alone! It's about the frustration at my own limitations. Well, Tony wanted this, "warts and all."
In several publications and with all of the audio pieces I've done for the StarShip, I've provided short "making-of" documents. These are about finished products. LITTLE GIRL DOWN THE WAY, for example. I wrote that story in anger because a real little girl died at the hands of a loved one just down the way from my apartment in Chicago. I gave her a voice from the grave, gave her a happy ending. As I mention in that post-script, the story posits the not very original notion that heaven and hell can be the same place -- depending on who you are. That summary was arrived at only after I'd finished the thing, something I realized I was saying only after I'd said it. I could never have included that assessment while progressing with the story.
Does that make me glib? Facile but insincere? Well...
I've said to friends that my writing process is like dumpster diving. It's probably more like (nicer image here) running out a net and seeing what flops out on deck.
Generally, I've no idea where I'm going when I start a project. A whim, a notion, character, an image and I'll start typing. Then things happen from here to...wherethefuckever...then its over. I can be writing in one direction and some sonofabitch on the page says or does something and I'm off in another. Surprise!
Had one the other morning. Eating my Cheerios and the radio plays a song and WHAM... I know this story's going to swerve. It swerves. And I've got a new ending. No, to be honest, I should say, I have an ending!
Glib? I don't know. Bungling off without a roadmap in Storyland certainly makes me less intellectually rigorous than i'd like to think I am. And I suppose, in a nutshell, that's what glib is.
In any event, all I have to do now is finish the thing AND get enough pieces of it to Skeet so he can do his thing.
I'll keep posting Process Reports on the Sofa in hopes that listeners will have an interest in them.
I know I will.