Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Writeapalooza: The best for 2008

Janie at Write Stuff wrote yesterday about sharing your favourite 10 articles/stories for the year. Paul followed suit and I've been mulling since yesterday about what could constitute mine. Part of me feels like I haven't possibly produced 10 great pieces of work this year (says the critic) but this isn't necessarily about 'great' work (sit down critic) but what I've enjoyed writing and working on.

So here are my list of ten.

Demon Lover
This was written on the knife edge of a deadline and is truly one of those miracle stories that is 'gifted' from the creative ether. Literally downloaded in less than 90 minutes (with almost no alterations) it was my exploration of what happens when you compromise your ethics and reset your boundaries - just how far do you go before you stop. I'm hoping in the new year that I will be able to push the boundaries of this story a little further with a short film adaptation.

Mercurial Madness
This short story was intended as my dig at the medical profession and while it has elements of that, it also explores the downfall of one woman who has all her bad karma come home to roost when she most needs help. This will hopefully be the flagship story of a new writing project in 2009.

Naphta's Mountain
Spawned from a Fiction Friday prompt, this was the first piece of fiction I wrote after reading 100 Years of Solitude and my first dabble into magical realism - a genre I would like to explore more of in the new year. This is the story of Naph and an old man who sits in his kitchen and the ethical dilemma faced when confronted with the opportunity to leave the city with some misappropriated relocation visas. Set in post apocalyptic Brisbane it was the beginning of my exploration of what Brisbane may look and how it may function after 'the end of the world'.

Voodoo Cowboy: Part One
Using the Cat Empire's song Voodoo Cowboy as inspiration this was my first conscious foray into writing speculative fiction. It may not necessarily work fanastically as a story as it stands. It contains dream elements (lettuce juice), unlike Demon Lover which was based entirely on a dream. I love the idea of my cowboy - a dude with no pigment in his skin, who is travelling on a horse, across the blazing world, descimated by global warming who is coming into his own as a shaman. I haven't managed yet to write about the guy he came across who tried to trade him Tag Heuer watch for a bottle of water. Perhaps my dig at commericalism/consumerism and where it will eventually lead us!

A Giant Falls
My modern adaptation of Jack and the Bean Stalk. It was written at the beginning of the demise of Eddie Groves (of ABC Learning Centres fame) and could possibly be further explored because it was impossible to fit everything I wanted into such a short piece. This was another contribution to Fiction Friday.

Hobbled together from 10 snippets of conversations harvested from a cafe visit, this story was both challenging and fun to write - and it turned out far better than I could have hoped. It follows the first assignment post facial reconstruction surgery, of operativeAudrey as she repatriates retired operative Kingsley. The twist comes as a reminder to us all - that you should be careful in every move you make and every decision that you bring to the fore, because you never know who it is that is watching your back. It was definitely influenced by having seen the remake of Get Smart (one of my all time favourite TV shows as a kid) at the movies.

Was one of a number of short stories that dredged up bits from my past and processed them in fiction. It was also one of a raft of short stories that had me exploring the use of the first person point of view which was something that to date (this was the early part of the year) I hadn't been comfortable with as a writer. Combined it was part of my writing that pushed me into professional and person places of discomfort.

This was the original name given to this piece - I think since it's been through various name changes and I think it's currently called '24'. I loved writing this because I knew the ending that I wanted and it was a trip for me to create the tension, the build up and then deliver the final horrific blow. Voila! The best element of this story though, was getting the feedback - to discover that I had created what I had set out to make.

Of all the stories that I've worked on this year - this has had the most amount of time and effort ploughed into it. The link is to the original story. Since posting this it's under gone a major metamorphosis. Evie (now named Graceville) is the most experimental of my stories and pushes the boundaries I believe, written in all three points of view to delinate each of the three characters. I intended to submit it to the One Brisbane Many Stories competition, but decided that I didn't have it in me to rewrite the final section by the deadline. Evie/Graceville taught me more about writing and perserverance than any other piece of writing this year and it will never be forgotten - even if it never makes it into the published sphere.

Takes a scenario straight out of my highschool years and fast forwards about fifteen or so years. The premise was to write about a character who had been wronged and never got over it. I also drew on a conversation I was privy to in my early 20's between a boyfriend at the time and one of his old school mates who was talking about seeking revenge on those at boarding school who teased and tortured him. I was surprised that so many years on from high school he would consider it worthy of air time - let along energy to plot and scheme. It also brings into question - just how safe are our identities are now that so much of our personal information is storied Just how easy would it be for one person to be wiped from existence?

Honourable mentions ....
Additionally I have to mention two other projects that have been off and on all year - 'Adam & Eve' and 'Captain Juan'. Half a dozen short stories born from my attempt to get my head around Adam and Eve in preparation for NaNo. But I realised that it was too big for NaNo and it's on the backburner for 2009. There is more research to be done, more exploration of my characters, an incomplete world to build - you get the idea. But having shared the concept with a couple of people they all assure me that it's a novel/story that must be told - so I am being held accountable for my ideas.

Captain Juan was my writers candy for the year. If I am completely honest - I loved writing Captain Juan more than I have ever loved writing anything in my entire life. At this point in time, I dont and can't imagine a professional life as a writer without Captain Juan and I thank Paul for bringing him to life in the first place and to Annie for bringing us all together to write Captain Juan as a collective. The absolute highlight of my year!

You will notice all the pieces referenced here are ficton pieces. While the bulk of my published work is non fiction (this year) I have to admit that I don't particularly enjoy writing it (especially the last piece I wrote 'The Path Lest Trod" for DTB) and I find that it saps my creative strength.

So cheers to 2008 - a year I still feel quite ambivalent about and bring on 2009 . I'll be back tomorrow with my list of '5' - books, CDs, movies and people who shaped my 2008.

PS: having compiled that list I feel a little better about my writing year as a whole!

Image found at Crux and Flux

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