It’s time to go through stuff. I’ve shedloads, literally: comics, SF paperbacks, & Fantasy, Penguin Classics, PC Games (in their boxes) etc.
This time it’s my back catalogue. When you go to writing groups you, almost invariably, get a writing prompt.
“Write something about this word I found on the net; come back next time and we can have a jolly laugh at the frustration it caused us.”
Some things you don’t finish, there isn’t time.
“Have you anything to say?”
“Write what you know.”
It’s that or… well finish what you started with the prompt. They’re a waste of time. If you haven’t anything too say, what’s the point of a random narrative you’ll never finish. How about a carefully crafted poem that looks like a shape, or is produced to a pattern?
“Ooh look at this. It’s got 15 lines and if you look at it sideways through a mirror, repeating the Lord’s Prayer backwards, you can see something crawling out.”
Yep, more creative writing to a nice easy formula. Sounds familiar, mechanical and dreary. Do your best to avoid getting sucked in.
The are some areas where a mechanised approach is essential, my poetry… indeed most of everything I’ve done is tabulated. It’s in Excel: Unfinished Schedule.xls. Rather than explain why – kinda obvious – I thought I’d note the categories I use for analysis.
- Status: There’s all sorts of considerations for this: is the work aborted? / to redevelop? / a fragment-chapter of a longer piece? / the most recent fragment (and thus the one I am working on)? / completed? (a, d, f, l, c)
- Year – self explanatory
- Timestamp – when I last worked on a piece
- Wordcount – self explanatory
- Expected length – how long’s it gonna be
- Title: of each respective fragment-chapter
- Story – the writing process gets broken by attending writing group but I do actually write stories 🙂
- Genre: Anecdote, Children’s, Detective, Dystopia, Fantasy, Historical, Humour, Poetry, Retro, SF… I find it worth identifying significant sub-genres. This is great for tracking down those bits of unfinished whimsy e.g. a pantomime I once started – The Glass Slipper – my only attempt (so far) to do something from stage.
Finally I have a marker to make sure I know what’s self-published and what’s in the locker. Keep on top of your catalogue and know where you are.