Antenna (antennapedia) wrote,
Antenna
antennapedia

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You will remember, perhaps, a long time back I said I had some ideas for a story with Giles, Buffy, and Xander in Montana post-Chosen, in which the plan in "Chosen" didn't quite work out as expected? Sort of post-apocalyptic angst, except not really apocalypse for anyone but them. What, you don't remember? That's okay. I can't keep track either. Anyway. I finished one of the scenes and posted it over, you know, there.

I suck at this anonymity thing.

It'll need to get shorter when I write the rest of the story. It's interesting what changes I had to make to help it stand on its own. They'll have to be un-made. I both added references to the situation that wouldn't be necessary in context, and removed them. Discussion about exactly what happened when Sunnydale fell is irrelevant to the purpose of that scene when it's posted to a kink meme, but required when it's replaced into the story context.

Also, I'm not really sure about the present tense choice. I'm not sure it can sustain the longer, chewier story I want that scene to be a part of. But I want the dreaminess, so... I might have to sweat to make it work.

I like the rushy, dreamy, detached-from-reality feel of the present tense for shorter things, or things where I want to distance the reader a bit from what's going on. But if I'm telling a longer story, or have structural complexity to manage, or simply want the reader to think about the story and not the prose, I'll switch back to past tense. And sigh in relief, because my natural storytelling voice is in the past tense without a lot of meta-fictional game-playing.

Though by "natural", what I really mean is "the voice I'm used to using", which can be changed with practice. I have been thinking recently that I've fallen into some stylistic ruts. To break myself out, I do things like try writing stuff explicitly differently. Hence, the present tense in that scene. I'll try a first-person point of view some time soon for the same reason. And I'd really like to do a straight 19th century style omniscient narrator sometime as well. That will be a tasty change from the tight third, free indirect thing I usually do.

I'm just fretting. I worry that the present tense pulls readers out of the fictional dream I want them in when they're reading. It often does for me. Any deviation from the conventions of fiction calls attention to itself; this is just another tool to use, of course. I feel like I only have so much reader attention-capital to spend per story. What do I want to spend it on?

I have inflicted on some of you my rant about "talent" really meaning "obsession + opportunity". This is the obsession part of the equation in evidence. Am thinking about my craft and wondering how to improve it. How to break out of current ruts. Yammer, yammer. I'm just as tedious at cocktail parties as you might imagine.
Tags: craft
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