Writing Again

In the last week I’ve been doing some writing again (it’s been a while).

I’m revising my novelette, Escape from Hell. A novelette is longer than a short-story, but smaller than a novella (sitting in the 7,500 to 17,500 word count range). Escape from Hell is definitely a personal favourite. It’s a first-person faith-inspired trip into the afterlife. If I remember correctly I wrote it in a very short time frame, the whole story coming together in a few days. That is to say, I felt inspired to write it and the words flowed out of my brain and heart onto the page.

The only point were I slowed were the violent scenes, of which there are a few. It is literally Hell, so it’s not full of Sunday picnics with butterflies and rainbows. It’s a tricky balance to strike though. It’s hell: I want it to be horrific – and yet I don’t want it to be so overwhelming that the reader disengages.

Because of how excited I was by the story I didn’t revise it much… I just put it onto my website to share in a rush of endorphins. (I’ve removed it now, pending publication). So now, with a year or more writing experience behind me, I’m taking another look at it to see how I might revise it.

There is a part of me that wants to significantly expand it, though that will come after much careful deliberation. I’ve thought of a few different places where I could lengthen the story arc – and make it more gripping to read – but it’s balancing that disengage factor. Perhaps I will write the extra story arc and have a few alpha readers test it? (The words after all are not wasted, they count towards the ‘million practice words’ every author needs).

I’m going to be more structured in my revision process this time. I envision a three-pass process. The first revision (which I’m currently in) is looking at the broader story arcs. The second revision I’ll look at the detail, trying to tighten each sentence and the third pass I’ll be hunting for typos etc.


World-Building: Religion

I’ve added a new sub-page to the World-Building section called Religion.

The purpose of the World-Building section is to give tidbits of information which will get the writerly juices flowing in the future. Do you have anything you can contribute?

(p.s. I also posted another Writing Technique: Beginnings which you may have missed… for some reason it posted under the previous post).

From Ancient Rome: The Republic:

Plentiful gods. The Romans were a practical race … averse to mystical speculation. Profoundly convinced that the affairs of men were governed and guided by divine power. All levels of Roman society believed that the supernatural forces could be used to better their own worldly advantage. There was a god for everything. As Rome evolved into power, so did its gods in stature.

“Very interesting also are the forms of worship which illustrate the Roman character on its gentler and more human side. For under the iron surface of Roman manners there was a true vein of tenderness and sweetness and a passionate love of home … The eternal fire of Vesta, which no doubt had its origin in a simple and practical need, assumed a deep spiritual significance as the  symbol of domestic purity, the source of national health and strength. The Lares and the Penates, the spirits of the home, stood still in a more intimate relation with the sanctities of family life, watching over the Roman mother as she went about her daily tasks, fostering the growth of the children, and taking their share in all the joys and sorrows…” (page 37)

Did you see the sign? Roman’s looked to signs from the gods. Priests and those who read the signs were rigidly excluded from politics, and though a Roman may consult for spiritual advice, none could tell him what to do. Every Roman was a priest as far as his personal matters were concerned.