A Stable Love. This is a story that was commissioned by a friend, way back last year when I was toying with the idea of maybe offering commission slots for stories — just to see if I could develop a project process that would let me work fast enough to do them. Spoiler: I haven’t been able to crack this at all.
Part of it is the scope of what I’ve tried to do with this. The story as it stands is a bit stuffed, but that’s my own doing. Here’s the blurb — a shy, lonely hired hand feeds his horses a mix that mysteriously appeared in his barn one day and suddenly the three stallions he’s in charge of take charge of him! Each one teaches him a lesson in how to let go of the inhibitions holding him back while dealing with the impossible changes they’re going through. Will the guidances of the horses — and his faithful German shepherd companion — be enough to set him down the path of being a better man?
I’ve outlined the plot, how the three horses (and one dog) strip away one problem aspect at a time, how this changes him through the course of the story, and where he should be once it’s all said and done. The problem is (naturally) the beginning, where I’m trying to establish the main character’s personality, his relationship to the butler (who he’s secretly pining for), the horses, his dog — all while introducing the supernatural element that serves as the engine for the narrative. This introduction alone is about seven pages long, and I’m not sure that it needs to be so big to establish what needs to be in place before we start rolling. I’m sure there’s a more elegant way to set the table but it’s a bit beyond my reach at the moment.
Anyway, I’m through the weeds of that, and now that things have been set up and we’re into the main part of the action I’m hoping the writing will come more easily. I don’t really have a good timetable for when the first draft will be finished, but for the first time in a year or so, I can actually see myself seeing this through to the end. So that’s progress?
Backburner Stuff. I have this idea for a bit of fan-fiction. It’s embarrassing, but I’m going to lay it out anyway. Beast of the X-Men has been getting little love for years now, even though he’s done a few things under Bendis’ run that have set his story in motion all number of ways. I haven’t been caught up on the current state of Marvel for a while now, but if I understand correctly he might have hastened the death of the Marvel comics multiverse with a few of his actions.
Even still, there hasn’t been a whole lot of attention drawn to Beast as a *character*, and the particular problems that come with his baggage. While I admit that a LOT of my interest in him is prurient, I think there’s a great deal of story potential with him that’s being missed. So I thought I’d do something about that.
My idea is something along the lines of a prose version of a weekly “digital comic” — something along the lines of Batman ’66 or Injustice: Gods Among Us. Chapters will be published as a part of an interactive on writing.com once a week, and every month or so three or four chapters will be bundled together to make up an “issue” that appears on SoFurry and Weasyl. I have a rough idea of where I’d like the story to go, what the main internal conflict will be, a network of allies and relationships in the greater Marvel universe, and a rogue’s gallery. I’m slowly making progress on story beats; but it’s about time to open up Scrivener and really start nailing things down in an outline. Since I have such a problem with focus, I’m giving A Stable Love most of my attention, but this is something I’m fiddling with in the background, when an idea presents itself.
Acceptance. I’m reading the third and final book in Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy; it took me a while to get into it, but now the momentum of the plot is picking up. Once you get into it, the first inclination is to devour it, but I get the feeling that Vandermeer is using deceptively simple language to mask something deeper going on in the prose. A lot of the story features a fascination with words and phrases, so there’s really no wording that gets placed by accident. I’ve been slowing down with it, reading and re-reading sentences to feel their place in the story. It’s neat to be a bit more careful with the novel here.
Meanwhile, my “to-read” stack grows and grows. There are short stories, poems and novels from friends to get to; Avatar Tuner and 10 Billion Days and 100 Billion Nights lent to me by a dear friend; Secret Wars is ramping up, and Bendis’ X-Men run is ramping down. Seriously, I’m gonna have to cut out everything but writing and reading to catch up, but that’s not a bad thing!
How about you fine folks out there? What are you writing and reading?