Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Little Bit About My Weird Tale, "Those Who Dwell In The Periphery."

I haven't written a blog post in...too long.  With the publication of a new tale, let's rectify that (new tale? Well...you'll see).

Writing fiction is a strange process.  I don't have a set method, though I do have certain modes of attack I like to use while writing tales.  There's even different approaches when writing short fiction and novels--and all the gangly beasts in-between--with lots of overlap, but still, I have no set process, yet.  I may never have one perfected, but it doesn't really matter as long as I keep writing and stories keep getting completed.   Daily word counts may help, but being with the words on a regular basis is what works best for me, because word counts happen when I am writing all the time.  Consistency, that is the key.   

The point is, with a still formative and/or flexible process, some tales take only a few days, perhaps a month or three.

Other tales take...years.

Then there's "Those Who Dwell In The Periphery."

"Those..." is one of my Portland, Oregon tales.  What does this mean?  A strong element of the mysteries of nature serves as catalyst for the weirdness.  But...I lived in Portland over ten, eleven years ago.

Yes, the initial version of this tale was written that long ago.  It also had a different title, "It Is Not Time."  I even sent it out for possible publication back then, but it was always rejected, because it had yet to become the tale it is now. 

You see, some tales require time...and a willingness to revise and revise and revise.  I enjoyed the core ideas within the tale, and much of it has remained as it was initially written, but there were key elements that didn't quite click, especially with the ending.  And the title, haha. (The tale had three other titles before I sent it to Jordan Krall for the second issue of Xnoybis magazine.  I remember changing the title within a week or two of sending it to Jordan to what it is now, what it was always meant to be.  The previous titles: "It Is Not Time," "Fair Warning," and "Behind the Peripheral.")

Many older tales, I like to leave them back there.  They are a part of my history, not something I need to dwell on now, as I continue to move forward with what I do as a writer.  "Those..." wouldn't leave me alone.  I really enjoyed the tone, the voice of the narrator, and most of the ideas, as noted above, and the 'reveal.'  Perhaps because the tale was Weird and not just horror, I found myself repeatedly drawn back to it instead of letting it be and leaving it back there, in the dust of writing ideas never perfected.  (You know about those, dear writers: check your files and tell me how many pieces of tales and even mostly completed tales await your participation, just to get them wrapped up.)  But it took dipping into the tale over the years and tweaking this, revising that, to find it.  To finally lift the veil off an idea and set it forth as it was always meant to be seen.

I've written on this blog about another tale I had published by Krall's Dunhams Manor Press, "Dandelions."  It's similar in a way, a story from back then that was closer to what it needed to be, even though I tore it apart and stitched it back together, a process to make Dr. Frankenstein proud.  It was also a Weird tale.  The older tales that touch on this stick with me.  I suppose that's telling me something, eh?

How about another connective thread, this time between stories?  My tale, "Strange Trees," from my debut collection, The Dark is Light Enough for Me, also dealt with the fictional anthology within "Those..."  I had mapped out a few more related tales and the mysterious circumstances of deaths and disaster that haunted the anthology.  It's a really good idea, a collection of tales for a fictional collection, that in reading this now, makes me want to go back and--no, no.  Maybe.  No. 

Moving forward.

(Another weird aside--look, I haven't written one of these in a while, so I'm shaking off the rust.  The original title for "Strange Trees" was..."Shadows and Tall Trees."  Yes.  Like the U2 song...and the magazine.  I don't know if Michael Kelly remembers, but a few years back, before there was the magazine, I had submitted "Shadows and Tall Trees" to him as he was the editor of...some other magazine or, well, let me see: 12-04-2004 I sent it off to Chizine.  Michael Kelly [now head of Undertow Publications, who publish the annual Year's Best Weird Fiction anthologies, amongst other high-quality books] used to be an editor there and rejected it, but it was a really good response, according to my notes...and he mentioned liking the title and how it would be a good one for a magazine... So there ya go!  A bit o' weird fiction history, haha...)

Okay, moving forward for real now...

You can read the final results in the just released Xnoybis issue two.  I share the TOC with a truly exceptional array of writers.   Purchase a copy before they are sold out, as it's limited to 100 copies. 
Here's the link: http://dynatox.storenvy.com/products/13885491-xnoybis-2-quarterly-journal-of-weird-fiction-dunhams-manor-press

And here's the cover: