September Microfiction Overview

13:29 Sun 01 Oct 2006
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Yes, that really is the end of the story. There are some loose ends, but that is how it ends (which is not to say that sequels would be out of the question).

I’m pretty happy with having done it, and it’s helped me a great deal in being able to approach the novel again—which was the point of the exercise. I now aim to finish a real second draft in the coming months, one that will probably cut down very significantly the length of the 180000+ words first draft.

Thanks to those of you who have been reading, I hope you enjoyed it! I’m interested in feedback, so comments are welcome. For anyone who hasn’t read it, there’s an index page containing links to each piece.

Next up is October, which will be something completely different…

8 Responses to “September Microfiction Overview”

  1. NiallM Says:

    Hooray! That it helped you.
    Boo! That it’s over.

    It’s a little difficult to ‘review’ microfiction, in that it’s so formed stylistically by its, eh, form, it’s unclear how relevant the commentary would be. One would appear to have more chance of being relevant by commenting on plot points etc.

  2. kevintel Says:

    No, this is classic Tadhg humour, I fully believe that the story is at the two-thirds point and he’s going to wrap it up with a cracking ending. At least, if I was Tadhg’s publisher, and he handed me the manuscript with the story ending like this, then that’s what I would say to him. I would add that the deadline was three weeks ago, and I’m not paying him to review Sartre or whatever it is that he’s into, and could he please hurry the fuck up because I need to push out the book in time for the Christmas buying season, does he know how many times Amazon has called this week, Iain M. Banks has written three whole Culture Club novels in same space of time. With longer chapters.

    As he left the office, after having no doubt tried to fire me by signing an arbitrary piece of paper or somesuch trick, I’d mutter something to the effect that the chapters themselves were a little short, and it was a bit of a swindle, what with the utility bills and the mortgage rates having gone up, how is a middle-man supposed to pay for his living expenses under these kinds of conditions, and all sorts of other tired-old-man stuff.

    Tadhg, more please. The story is truly unfinished, it is good and a great read (especially given the shortness of the installments) but needs to be properly finished. Feels very much at the two-thirds mark, good set-up, pace has picked up at a consistent rate, all elements in place for an exciting denoument, but you have to deliver it. You know you can do it.

  3. kevintel Says:

    Sorry, I know I’ve told you in person but I realise I should have stated it here before upbraiding you publicly for leaving me wanting more story; great work, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading the chapters. Highlight of my day, the new chapters appearing in Vienna (my feed-reader for the Mac), and I wouldn’t be scolding you for ending it like that if I didn’t enjoy the Tadhg Writing Experiment (Obviously, in that case, I wouldn’t have said anything becuse I wouldn’t have given a shit when it ended.).

    If you want some critique, ask away. I’m also curious about your working environment (physically and psychologically) when doing this, maybe you could post about that quite soon. It surely takes a lot of discipline.

  4. Tadhg Says:

    NiallM: Well, I’m looking more for review of the plot than the style, since as you point out the style is rather constrained by the shortness. All plot comments welcome.

    kevintel: Well, if the ending is to change (and one of the problems there is that this was always my idea of how it would end), it’ll change in the second draft of the novel proper. I’ve always been of two minds on the ending, because part of me wants a more traditional ending, and part of me likes the fact that it feels realistic—that is, the protagonists end up simply outmaneuvered, which is how things work out sometimes. But I’ll mull it over, of course, in the next few months, and see how I feel as I edit. And see if any ideas percolate up from wherever ideas originate.

    As for the working environment, not sure what to say about that. I wrote pieces in Dublin, on the way from Dublin to San Francisco, and in San Francisco. The key element for me is really that I accepted that they simply had to be done. Sometimes I would write a few in a day, because I knew the following days would be busy. But once I’d started, writing them was inexorable because a) they had to be done, b) I had most of the plot (and 180000+ words of source material) laid out in advance, and c) hey, they were only 250 or 300 words long, and how could I not manage to write a measly 300-word piece given an entire day?

  5. NiallM Says:

    I guess Kev might feel better if there was a better, more obvious hook into future stories. I don’t have to have a classic denouement myself – some of my favourite books end, how can I put this, non-traditionally – but a lot of the power it would carry would come from phrasings and workings we don’t see in the microfiction format.

    I have no problems with it ending as it does, I should say. However, it does seem to me as if a little transcendence needs to leak through the edges to make it truly great. At the moment, using Chandler as an example, you have the directness of his energetic language and scenes, you are good on sweeping background and plot revelations, and I can believe in the people that currently inhabit it. However, the micro-fic currently means that it appears very much as a tale told without greater implications; the insight we might have into personal characters in a longer format is absent, and what we might call Chandler’s transcendent notions, those deriving from his theoretical position on detectives, are entirely missing.

    I mean, Marlowe is partially interesting because he goes out and shoots people, and finds things out, but he’s also partially interesting because in the midst of all of this stuff, he is distinguished from it, although he inhabits it. Although board members are barely human in their cosmic reach of power, they appear to spend much of their time doing much of what Patricia Dunn does; we don’t see enough of what levers them out of their humanity. (So much for the bad guys I guess.) We do get hints for the bounty hunter, but I would like to see them developed.

    Anyway, random thoughts.

  6. kevintel Says:

    Actually, what I was getting at is the satisfaction of the traditional story cycle, though what Niall says is of course true which is that the format does prevent any great depth. What you see is what you get with this format. However, the feeling I had at the end was that it just ended abruptly. It felt unresolved, unfinished; as if the best was yet to come. Arbitrarily cut-off in mid-sentence. Now, it’s true that a convention doesn’t need to be adhered to for it’s own sake, and I enjoy the experimental forms of writing, but it’s also there for the enjoyment of the viewer or reader, and if the feeling is diminished somewhat at the end, is that a good thing?

    I almost regret asking about the working environment; it’s like asking the magician where he keeps the rabbit and being shown where the rabbit lives, how he gets to the hat, etc ;-)

  7. Radegund Says:

    I’ve really enjoyed the microfiction too, Tadhg – and I’m sorry it’s over. I think you can pull off that ending, if it’s emotionally satisfying to the reader. On the micro scale, it does read like the end of Act II, but I’m prepared to believe that the full-length version isn’t quite so run-off-the-cliffy :-)

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