Friday, August 22, 2008

One Draft Down, X to Go

Earlier in the summer we had a garage sale. The very weird people that came out for that, and trust me, we got all types of weirdos, inspired an idea for a new short story. What if Merlin had a garage sale, selling magical items at his house in the suburbs, in modern day?

It was one of the rare cases where I knew where the story would go from beginning to end with many of the details. So I charged right in and got about 2,000 words of the story. Then life happened to get in the way, as it usually does, and the story sat for a couple months. Finally, I kicked my ass enough that I picked it up again, and I finished up the first draft yesterday.

The story comes in at just under 3,500 words. There are parts that I'm definately considering cutting, others that need to be reworked and other things that need to be added. I want to keep it to a max of 4,000 words.

It's definately not as funny as it could be (although I do think parts are pretty funny), and the ending feels a little rushed. It's not perfect, but it's down on paper and awaiting the next draft. I have several red pens ready. I do prefer to draft on paper instead of on the screen. I also used to hand write out all my first drafts and make the typing of said draft into a second draft, changing as I entered it into the computer. I use MS Word for my writing, because it's already on the computer and I don't need to go spending money on another computer program.

I've also been thinking about NaNoWriMo lately. It's still a couple months away, but it's coming up. I tried it for the first time last year and hit the 50,000-word mark on the last day (I haven't done anything with it since). I had another idea about half way through last year that I liked better and ended up doing about 12,000 words of that after NaNo, but didn't like where it was heading. It's scope got much bigger than I wanted.

I'm thinking about starting that over for NaNo and see how that goes. I know some of the other UCFers have done NaNo in the past. Is anyone thinking of doing it this year?

Anyway, here's an excerpt of Merlin's Garage Sale (working title). Is it perfect? No. Is it funny? I think so. It's one of my favorite parts of the story as it stands now.

“That, is the twelfth of the Thirteen Gazing Globes of Glandrial. Look into the crystal and you shall see what your greatest enemies are doing,” said Merlin, looking into the sphere’s crystalline depths. He saw the Johnson boy from down the street stuffing a sling shot into his back pocket. Several stink bombs were clutched in his free hand. “Curses,” he muttered to himself.

“But you don’t have the set,” said the man in the Old Navy hoodie.

“What? Of course I don’t have the whole set. Three were destroyed when Morgan and her army of undead barbarians laid siege on Avalon. Two were lost in the Desert of Despair. Four were spent in weaving the enchantments that continue to protect Excalibur from false kings that seek its power. One is used to seal the great and terrible Nomolos in his ethereal prison. The other two were misplaced in the move to the suburbs.”

“Well…if you don’t have the set…thanks anyway.”

Merlin scowled as the man walked away. Looking into Glandrial’s globe made him scowl further. The Johnson boy was in his garage, mounting his bike. The boy had an uncanny ability to sense when he was being watched, and he stuck out his tongue and sneered at the old wizard.

“Oh no, not this weekend,” he sighed.

Ah, what the heck, here's another little bit that I really like too:

“Good morning,” Merlin called to an elderly couple walking hand and hand up his driveway. The man was wearing a faded Navy sweatshirt, while the woman wore a blouse that was so loud that for a moment the centuries-old wizard couldn’t hear the voices of the old ones.

“Morning,” the man called back. “Nice day for a garage sale, huh?”

“You couldn’t have asked for a better day,” the woman added.

“I know,” Merlin said matter-of-factly, “I conjured it that way. It was a simple spell really.”

The man grunted and ushered his wife away from the old wizard.


kimby said...

Matt, I am doing Nano this year, although not sure how it will fit into my schedule with school. I have started edits on last years novel having been spurred on by recent sales of Nano novels.
I have a small idea in my head for this years, but have tried not to think too much about it. This will be my 6th (i think) year attempting the Nano thing....Last year, the only year I hit the target number, i went in with almost NO ideas in my head, other than the main character and her job. Gonna try to go at it the same way, since it seemed to work for me last year.

mattw said...

I did it last year on a whim and tried to get others in the office to do it too. I heard about it the year before, but not until November was half over.

I have a basic idea of what the main character does to begin the action of the story, and who he is, but where it ends up, I don't know. I think I'm going to have to cheat a little though, because there is some dialogue from the first attempt that I just cannot give up.

Anonymous said...

I'm doing it this year again. Although I'm not sure if I've told my husband yet. LOL

I had a blast doing it last year. My writing partner was a seriously overachieving friend here in Seattle (Beast Mom) who had nearly 100K words by the end of November.

She's since written that novel off as too personal, written ANOTHER, and is editing it for submission to a publisher.

She's my hero.