Monday, August 10, 2009

Water your thoughts

A piece of short fiction of mine has just been published here. It's the one I wrote especially for the submission, and I feel rather nervous and proud all at the same time. I had to re-read it a few times to check I hadn't let any mistakes slip through or something equally as hideous (do tell me if you see any, I'm a shocker for typing gibberish under stress/excitement/worry!)

Anyhow, I think I'll include it in the collection I've been working on for the past year. I have twenty-one pieces of short fiction included in this, but I've just decided that half of them can go towards a second collection, having changed my overall theme, so I have about as many to write again for each. And I'm really enjoying writing them. I have a lot of other, very random, pieces to do something with at some point, too.

Of all the short fiction I've written, there are only a handful which have been anything I could term hard work. Mostly they just pop into my head and I go with them. Of course I change and edit them afterwards, and some end up nothing like how they began, but some simply appear finished; as this one did. And I like those the best.
Let me know what you think of the story!


shug said...

It's a dreamlike story, some arresting imagery and language. Your lucky that short stories come so easily. I got totally stuck in the middle of a story 3 years ago and haven't written one since.

Jim Murdoch said...

There's some beautiful language in this piece. It's not really my kind of thing though. My main issue was, in my head the fish wife is a bit of a cliché, she's been done to death and I was looking to see what new you might bring to the piece. What you brought was a palette of interesting ideas – I liked very much that they only 'word' what's spoken is "O" and how that simple vowel is made to mean so much – but although the journey was a distracting one and, at times, I have to admit, a puzzling one, I didn't feel that I could complete it. It does benefit from multiple readings. I misread a few things at the start although I have to say the sentence that begins, "Some other wives have come down from their cottages…" didn't feel right no matter how many times I read it; I kept expecting the verb "collaged" to refer to the women and not the cottages.

Part of my problem I think was that I didn't know what I was reading. Your description of it as "a sort of hybrid magic realist/prose poem/short story" only added to my confusion. So, I'm probably the wrong reader for this piece. I don’t possess the missing bits it needs to become a unified work in my head. And that's a shame.

shug said...

A dreamlike piece with lots of startling and unusual imagery. I envy you writing stories so freely. I got stuck in the middle of one 3 years ago and haven't written a story since.

shug said...

woops did I send that twice?

Donna Hosie said...

Congratulations! I can't write shorts to save my life; I'm far too verbose, and so I have huge admiration for those who can.

Rachel Fenton said...

Thanks, Shug, and yes you did duplicate, but I'll take the compliment, twice! Never look a gift horse and all that! I think I view writing short fiction in the same way as reading...if I'm not hooked by x amount of words, I put it down. Sometimes I'll revisit, but I don't beat myself up if not...the ideas are all bubbling around my melting pot and, invariably, pop out in another piece; nothing's lost or wasted.

Another thing to try is chop up the story (I do this literally, on paper with scissors, but modern folk use computers) and choose a different bit as the start, see where that takes you. It should be enjoyable though.

Hi Jim, thanks. I always like what you bring to the table. The imagery is deliberately ambiguous. It can be interpreted several different ways - but now it's out there, it's up to you to make of it what you will. It can mean whatever you want it to. If you want it to be about a woman who drowns herself when her lover returns freom sea into the arms of another, make it so; if you want it to be a woman who is also a fish who was causght and cannot voice her unhappiness, it can be that, too; and lots of other things - or none at all. As I was saying to Shug, if something isn't your thing, don't feel bad about putting it aside and moving on.

I guess the title was more to make a contrast between the cliché (gossipers) and the lack of dialogue the character uses. Obvisously it all ties in with the imagery, too.

The description wasn't intended to be published with the piece, though all of those elements are in there.

Thank you, Donna, I'm like that with speech! Sometimes a simple yes or no would do me more favours, I'm sure!

Thanks for popping by everyone, and I appreciate your comments, as always.

Andrea said...

I like this story a lot :) It's interesting to read one of your stories after reading about your thoughts on writing.

Rachel Fenton said...

Thanks Andrea, I like psychological/lots of dialogue or weird! I like to think I have a big bag of tricks, though! :) I still have your white reindeer poem going through my head!

Lori said...

I finally got to read your piece. I am so impressed. I smelled the fish, I swear. But the air was very dense there. It did indeed have a dreamy quality to it. I thought the ending was beautiful because it opened more possibilities.

Dave King said...

Jim has echoed my thoughts exactly by mentioning the beautiful language. Very impressive indeed. I understand you feeling nervous, but really you've no need to. The work is exemplary.

Rachel Fenton said...

Lori - I'm so pleased you liked the ending and saw it as an opening rather than a murky end!
Dave - I was very worried also that I wouldn't be selling myself to as wide an audience/readership with this story as I could with something else, but your comments have put those fears to rest.

Thank you both so much - you don't know how much your comments mean to me. I feel very lucky to have such thoughtful bloggers!


Hi R
I really loved this piece and YAY congrats!
I love its atmosphere, the odd and beautiful language. I've written lots about drowning too so I was fascinated that you had too.
Great stuff!

Rachel Fenton said...

N, Before I moved to NZ I hardly wrote about water at all, but now, living by the sea, well, I can't get away from it, and having been without it before I appreciate it.
Thank you so much - I really hoped you would like it!

Thanks for telling me about Ink-S & T, too!