Wednesday, March 07, 2007

new short story - Song of the Samaritan: mentioned in the last post - I actually had the notes for a new (science fiction) short story hanging about in a notepad having been written over a series of lunchtimes last year. It's a great surprise to find something you'd forgotten you'd put a lot of conceptual work into. As far as typing it in goes, that's done. As far as whatever the hell it is goes? Well, it's really taken the last few evenings to come to some creative solution as to what "Song Of The Samaritan" is actually about, rearrange some sections of the multi-persona testimony and solifidy the denouement(I've become a real fan of tedious-seeming fiction with a Tales of the Unexpected ending). In truth the notes were just that - sketches of scenes without a cogent linking thread or presentational flavour, the whole meal needed serious seasoning.

I now have a good idea of how the story should end and this will help me go back in (in classic mystery-fiction fashion) and do a etirwer, adding in the dark relevancies so far only hinted at as oblique asides. It's all typed in but it's still a bit messy (and I think I'm missing some vital scene from the end of the story - maybe squirreled away in some other notepad I'm yet to find in the house). I need to go back in, maybe in a few weeks' time, and really look at what I was trying to do with this story.

I could always send "Song Of The Samaritan" to Clarkesworld Magazine where editor Nick Mamatas is generally brutally honest with his editorial responses and (in the case of my THE GIRL WHO DATED SUICIDE BOMBERS, sold recently to Red Scream's obituary issue) gave me some really solid tips on what the core of the story actually was and how to make it MUCH better. He wrote, "I think the story starts right here: 'The thrill of public sex – that was Melissa's kink.' The story would be far more effective, in general, I think, if 1000 words were cut, and if the ending wasn't a punchline." He was right, of course. Maybe I should heed his advice about 'ending punchlines' for this story, too.

All that said, I DO have an ending for "Song of the Samaritan" but I wanna leave it to stew in my sleeping mind and see if I can't come up with something even more sinister after a few good nights' sleep. That generally works better than I'd like to admit, sleeping on it. God bless the sleeping brain.

post-sleeping notes: Unified the action to one iconic character, The Samaritan. Dropped hints at what's really going on through the story, but only confirmed it in the last entry. Actually, I really fucking hate how this story came out. Feels so unspontaneous, so scripted, so 'etirwer'ed - not at all my usual stream of conscious narrative. But as William Burroughs once said, the shit we hate may one day turn out to be our best work. Came out at just under 4,000 words.

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