Friday, July 18, 2014

Della: The Speed Story That Started It All

For almost a year, I snarked through The Quest for Skye. It was horrific and awful and sometimes hilarious and sometimes a lot of work. :-) I do want to get around to more snarking in the near future. I have four possible snark options in front of me, and ultimately I'm going to let you decide which one I snark next. But for now I still need to take a bit of a break.

In the meantime, though, I thought I'd present this short series for, um... Snarky Fridays, I guess we'll call it. Today you get the introduction, with the first true installment happening next week.

Once upon a time, I was having trouble getting fiction written. I was playing around with various writing exercises to get the flow going, and I discovered one that worked magic for me. At the beginning of every writing session, I took 10-15 minutes or so and just typed whatever came to mind. I dubbed this "speed writing." I generally started off with a story idea, and then just wrote. The deal was that I wasn't allowed to stop typing for any reason. Even when my conscious brain was lagging way behind and the words being formed on the screen were ridiculous.

I found that this got me into the right frame of mind to continue writing, but at the same time it was producing wildly entertaining results. When I wasn't actually thinking about what I was writing, my subconscious took over in truly bizarre ways. They were nearly always coherent sentences, but the stories made absolutely no sense. Character motivations changed by the minute, the dialogue was horrendous, and I found that I had a weird fascination with making my characters perform random actions while speaking.

I shared what I'd written in my writing exercise with a friend, along with my snarky comments and explanations of what I think might have meant, and she enjoyed it a ton. Then I ended up sharing it with more friends, and then I made a blog entirely dedicated to my speedwritten stories, and for awhile I had a small group of people who were always reading the results of these exercises.

Then that sort of dropped off, but I thought this might be a good place to store it.

This was the very first story I ever wrote through speedwriting, and it has yielded an incredible amount of weird inside jokes and quotes for my siblings and me. It was initially known just as "the Della story." Della was our main character, who I think remained a high schooler through most of the story. The story is mostly a murder mystery, and you do get an answer at the end, but in the meantime there are all sorts of tangents, run-ins with bizarre exotic animals, and interrogation scenes that... really shouldn't have yielded any information at all.

Keep in mind as you read these... They are very, very, very silly. Not because I intended for them to be. But because when my brain tries to create narrative without me letting it actually think of words or logic, things get odd. I am fascinated and amused by the results, and I hope you are too.

To give you a taste of what I'll be posting the next few weeks, I present the opening line:

It was always darkest before the dawn, the computers said.

What computers? Unfortunately, you will never know, because the story never mentions them again.

On with the snarking!

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