A week of consolidation.
After last week’s distinct lack of writing, I had hoped to get back on track this week and start scribbling again (well, okay, pecking at the keyboard) but it didn’t really work out like that. There is, apparently, a thing called ‘life’, and it kept getting in the way. Hmm… I did, however, finally finish the only outstanding elements of Black Dogs and Lost Places, the acknowledgements, endword and story notes. I’ve never written anything like that, and found it surprisingly hard to do: I know where the stories come from, but does anyone else want to? Do they care what I think the stories are about, or which bit of my life inspired them? Well, I like to read story notes, so I’m assuming that other people do, but could I write story notes and make them interesting?
I ended up writing something about each story’s origin, trying to show where they come from, and then asking the person I trust most, my wife, about them. She seemed to like them (although she did make some comments and suggestions which I incorporated because a) you don’t ask for advice if you aren’t going to listen and b) it’s was good advice), so I’m hoping that other people will like the notes as well. As for the Acknowledgements, the main problem was, who to include? I was wary of it turning into something like an oscar acceptance speech (with full accompaniment of tears, dribble and heartfelt gratitude to just about every bugger I’d ever met), but I also didn’t watnt to forget any of the people who’ve genuinely helped and supported me. And, again, does anyone besides the author and his/her family read the Acknowledgements section? Well, I do, so I suppose that means something. In the end, I think I came up with something short, pithy and including all the people that have contributed to my writing career. We’ll see when the collection comes out whether I’ve forgotten anyone or not…
The other writing related work this week was around titles: I discovered that Neil J wanted to retitle the stories I’d submitted to him for the Creature Feature anthology. We had a long discussion about it, which was fun because I’d never thought about it from the publisher’s perspective before. My titles (and I”ll state up front, I’m terrible at finding titles for my stories – it’s the part of writing I struggle most with for some reason) tend to be either single words or long phrases, and all three for Creature Feature were in the ‘long’ category. From Neil J’s perspective, they didn’t fit the tone of the anthology (which, as befits all decent creature features, is short, punchy and exciting), so we needed to come up with something else. What was fascinating from my point of view was trying to find something that fitted Neil’s requirements but which I felt reflected the heart of my stories – even in a short, punchy and exciting anthology I seem unable to write completly short, punchy stories. Exciting, yres (I hope) but short? No. I tried but it’s just not hapenin’, dude. Sorry. Eventually, bewteen us we came up with shorter, sharper versions of my original titles, and the stories are now sailing out with the monikers Day Ten, Last Option and Peek-A-Boo. It was good reminder that what I write exists not in a vacuum but in commercial world, and that there’s a difference between what I need from the stories and what Neil (or any other publisher) needs from them. What’s great is that we worked really well together and came up with something that we’re both happy with. I should point out that Neil has made no changes to the stories in the collection (other than some text edits), because there isn’t the same pressure there: Black Dogs has no drivers other than me writing the best stories I can.
Just a reminder: a teaser advert for Black Dogs and Lost Places is available to view on Youtube, as is the new advert for Creature Feature. You can find them by typing Simon Kurt Unsworth into the youtube search engine, or watch them here:
If you do visit youtube, you can also check out the adverts for other Ghostwriter Publications books, and also the 7 minute clip of me doing a reading from Church on the Island. Highly edifying! Enjoy.
Okay, that’s it. No reviews because, basically, I’ve not managed to finish anything this week. Soon, I promise. Soon.