I finished redrafting a few things lately — specifically my Machine of Death submission, which is all but ready to go out after one more proofread, and “Cai and her Ten Thousand Husbands” which I’ve already sent to Clarkesworld. After that, I got stuck on my new projects, but happily, a story I wrote a while back (and which I think had great ideas and a so-so execution) started haunting me again. Those who used to hang out here a few years ago might remember by story “The Plea From Factory Unit 5”. This story is a total reworking not of that tale, but the telling of it. More suspense, combined with much more visual imagery and a necessary shift from first-person epistolary to third-person limited-omniscient POV. I’m shooting for 4000-5000 words, but we’ll have to see. I think it shall be even more bleak, even nastier, but might come off less like a preachy polemic. Shorter and less preachy are two things I’ve been working on lately, and feedback from a recent rejection seems to confirm that this is the right track.
Since I had a good chunk of time today during my trip down to Jeonju, I spent a lot of time tidying up my writing archives — things in progress, things abandoned, things I may return to later but not soon, etc. Finally, I put in a few hours of work and ended up with 1200 words of my redraft of “Solvjaynghi’s Christmas Wish”, which is my current work-in-progress. I should be done the draft (though it’ll still be needing polishing, proofreading, crits, and more polishing and proofreading) later this week or sometime next week. If I can keep it under 5000 words I’ll be very happy… but the good news is, I probably will be able to do so, though the one strange thing is that the ending from the original will not work. Epistolary form let me end the story before any natural conclusion, and now I need to figure out what happens after a certain major chain of events plays out. It’ll take some thinking. But hey, what’s the rush? Oh, wait, this is a Christmas story, and it’s March. But I really would like to try see it in print this Christmas, so…
UPDATE (2 March 2007): I’ve added another 1000 words and some thickening to the plot. There’s a character (Phuong, which is, yes, a nod to Graham Greene, but only the vaguest of nods) who isn’t getting as much stage time as she is supposed to, and is hovering somewhere between emblematic slave-child and an important minor character. I orginally imagined her as more of a “small major character”, so I know I’ll have t to go back and fill something in or go backand cut something. I’m not yet sure which, but the story is coming along and I can sort-of see the end in sight, though it’s still a kind of amorphous mix of a small but joyful success and a dark, gloomy termination.