Monday, April 20, 2009

A weekend that didn't suck

Spurred, I'm sure, by the below-mentioned acceptance of one of my stories to Brain Harvest -- not to mention a writing challenge between myself and my fellow Codex member Jay Ridler -- I actually got some shit done this weekend. First I wrote a 3400-word draft of a short story titled "A Kiss for Krin." Ridler and I had challenged each other to write one hard SF story and one high fantasy story in two weeks' time, in an effort to launch ourselves (at least temporarily) out of the dusty, weird, slipstream ruts we'd dug for ourselves lately. Sometimes, when trying to write this edgy, interstitial, genre-smearing type of stuff, it's easy to forget where you came from: aliens, spaceships, wizards, and swords.

I had no idea what I was going to do for this weekend's fantasy story, but I did have a character in mind: a down-on-his luck assassin named Pinchbeck the Poisoner. The story I wrote around him came pouring out of my head in about five or six hours, and I think it might actually turn out decent upon revision. Total Robert E. Howard/Michael Moorcock/Fritz Leiber type of stuff, with a bit of M. John Harrison's Viriconium and KJ Bishop's The Etched City throw in (hey, there had to be SOME weirdness to it). I had a fucking blast writing it. I just put my head down, took aim at the screen, and went for broke.

Riding on that wave of momentum, I jumped back into a story I'd been tinkering with for a few weeks: "Octopus Factory Galaxy." It's one of those fuzzier slipstream type of things; set in 1913, it's the tale a blind man who's recently regained his site thanks to an experimental medical procedure. He slowly begins to realize, though, that his doctor has other motives for curing him after his new eyes start taking on a life of their own. I've been reading a lot of Thomas Ligotti lately, and there's definitely some of that in there -- not to mention a shout out to my boy, Giambattista Vico. And, of course, J.G. Ballard had an unwitting hand in the midwifery, as he does with most stories I write. Anyway, I finally nailed the two halves of the story together and sent it out to the slush pile! Fingers crossed.

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