19 October 2007

Twee(n) noir and blancmange

Uh, you know, when you've been mostly writing screenplays, your prose muscles get a bit creaky.

I broke a pulp short story a few weeks ago to submit to Astonishing Adventures. I've been tight on time lately - house crap, marriage crap, work crap - and haven't been able to put in the time to actually write the thing. Yesterday evening, finally, I put in an hour or so and got half the first scene completed. Today, another hour or two and I've finally finished the big fight scene on the docks where readers meet our dashing vigilante.

Problem the first: I've adopted some sort of semi-twee narrative voice for the story. I think it's my own natural inability to take something like this too seriously making me write tongue in cheek. I think it's perfectly acceptable to have cheesy, comic book/B-movie dialog, but I feel the narration should be straight-up noir. Instead, it feels like a cross between noir and Jim Dale's great work on Pushing Daisies. So I have to decide whether to re-tone the narration, stick with the current mode, or take it to another level. I just don't know which way to go.

Problem the second: good god it's gotten hard to write prose! For the length this piece will be - six scenes with a couple that are really short action bits - I could bang it out in maybe 15 pages of script tops. And it would go *fast*. Remember, it's a pulp story, and once my twee narrator is just doing actions and sluglines, there's not much dialog left. Instead, I've got to find the right balance between environmental description, character description, action narration, and dialog. (I'm falling quite short on the first two.) Very rusty am I.

However, at least I'm writing again (if you don't count this break to blog, or the breaks to check and write email, or the breaks to read the various blogs I follow, or any of the myriad other breaks I take.) And I promise that as soon as AA rejects the story, I'll post it here!

Yeah, I'm confident it'll be rejected. Mostly because I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep the twee narrative tone and I think that's going to be a major hurdle over there. I *should* try to make it feel more like a traditional pulp story, but I just can't. When it's not Jim Dale I hear in my head, it's the narrator from Dynomutt (not Gary Owens, who narrates the intro here, but Ron Feinberg.)

*Very* campy. Also, a little like The Evil Midnight Bomber (What Bombs at Midnight!)

Ah well, I guess I should be true to the story in my head. If they like, they like. If they don't, I can always hunt them down and smoke 'em out.