The way this creativity workshop works is that each writer creates three goals - typically from the list of Issues and Interests we'd been asked to compile just a few days earlier - and then spends a month devoted to each goal, with one short story written towards that goal each week. Each of the stories in the sequence should be linked, somehow.
Three goals; one goal a month; one story a week; three months, twelve stories.
It's going to be quite the ride.
This post, essentially, is me tentatively outlining my three goals, the tasks within those goals, and maybe - just maybe - a rough outline of what I'm writing for each week. I haven't really thought that far ahead, but you know. Have to have something planned.
Below, comrades, the Glorious Goals of my Three-Month Plan:
1. Australia Dreaming
Whatnow: For the past, oh, two or three years Australia has been of much fascination to me, especially as a setting in which to place urban fantasy. I want to explore this further, with a deeper emphasis on Australia itself. I want to do urban fantasy, especially set around Melbourne. This is the easiest goal, being strongly related to my writing past and a throwback to my earlier attempts at a novel, and yet something I wish to reach a state of perfection on.
Links and Stories: Exoteric setting, obviously. Each story will be set in Australia. They'll also be tied together, I think, by a common protagonist - a riff on the Sorcerer and Private Investigator trope I find myself enjoying more and more, in the lines of Harry Dresden, John Taylor, etc - who's actually given up magic entirely. A murder brings him back to the Art, but he finds that he's lost the talent forever - and yet his old enemies haven't forgotten him, things are heating up, etc. These four stories will be vignettes from the overall tale. I like the idea of a protagonist who is powerless in the sense that he has no supernatural abilities and yet strives towards a different sort of power - the power to be free and secure.
Tasks: 1. Write for thirty minutes to an hour each night, no matter what. 2. Figure out exactly what four stories you wish to tell, and where in Australia they fit. 3. Think some more on the protagonist. 4. Finish the stories.
2. Mars! Exotic Mars!
Whatnow: The Sword and Planet subgenre of speculative fiction has long been a favourite of mine. John Carter, Lietenant Gulliver, whatshisname Carson, Michael Kane: I enjoy them all. I love the idea of a jungle-wrought, savage Mars, a place so close to our world and yet so far... and I've long been wanting to write a series of stories set in my own fictional Mars, Aukrahk. I want to pay loving homage to the stories which have so recently inspired me, to the pulps of that era, and to the idea of good, readable fantasy with my own unique spin. The last time I wrote an honest fantasy? It was my first story and novelette, written when I was ten or eleven, entitled The Unholy Ale. It's been a while - time to try my hand once again at a genre I love and a subgenre I adore. This will also be my chance to start thinking about the Exotic Cultures held within the cradle of the Red Planet, merging - I hope - two of my Interests.
Links: The setting will be the link between the four stories - Mars - though each story will take place with different characters within a different Martian locale, whether it be the Earth-obsessed, sprawling Yordes or the metal-infested utterly western, antagonistic nation of Edgarb. The stories..? I'm not entirely sure, yet.
Tasks: 1. Start reading some more Savage Mars fiction - both to get me in the mood and because I still haven't finished Edgar Rice Burroughs full Barsoom sequence. 2. Solidify my understanding of Aukrahk so that I might feasibly set a series of tales within it.
3. The End
Whatnow: Okay, this might sound a little mad, but for my last, and presumably toughest, goal I want to write each of four stories to be an understanding of the ending, the finale - I'm not entirely sure what the technical term is, but each story will encapture an ending to a longer tale, perhaps explained, maybe not. Each story should, if I succeed, at once be as self-containing as a good short story, wrapping up all loose ends, while simultaneously feeling as if it were an ending of something larger. It's evoking a false, though perhaps valid, sense of mood through the style of the story itself. I hope.
Links: The link will be the fact that they have all been designed to feel like an ending. Probably nothing else, though each story may explore unused Issues/Interests from my list.
Tasks: 1. Don't give up. You're going to want to because you're a coward, Nat, and this will be hard. But it doesn't matter whether you succeed wonderfully or fail miserably - all that matters is that you learn and you finish what you start. 2. Start seriously studying how the Ending is formed, and how I can try to emulate that.