Shoot Out At The Red Horse Bowling Club is now online in one block should anyone wish to read it through without the bother of clicking through the instalments. It is available in the ‘Writing’ tab on the menu bar or by clicking here.
I had the idea for that story years ago, started writing it about three years back and had to force myself to finish it. It was odd because I knew the ending from the off. Or thought I did.
It is not that usual that I know the ending of a story when I start it. I don’t mean that I have absolutely no idea of where the thing is going. I usually have a rough idea of where the protagonist/s are heading. I don’t usually have a fully fledged story arc in mind though.
I often start with a situation, a character or characters and an idea of their trajectory to resolve the predicament they are in or about to find themselves in. Occasionally I just let them run and they end up somewhere else entirely. Sometimes I want to end up in a particular place so I’ll plot a little more strictly and have been known to resort to mind maps and spread sheets.
In this case I started with a situation and the ending. But it didn’t work when I got there. I changed bits of the plot. I changed the ending and had to go back and re write developments to fit. I hated those bits so rewrote them. Then I went for a ‘genre’ voice. Then I lost it. I tried a rewrite with the voice all the way to the end. It felt very mannered so I rewrote the twee pieces ended with a half way house. Rarely a good place to be. I put another scene in to try and work the transition of voices and it became even more overlong than it is now. c5,750 words is a long short story these days apparently. I had to cut it back a fair bit to get it to c5,750.
In the end I decided it had had enough indignities inflicted on its creakingly flimsy frame of whimsy. And, rather obviously, I published it here warts and all. Is it what I expected when I started? No. Is it the same story? In essence I suppose yes it is. I wanted a bigger ending, and had one for a while, but that seemed too far fetched. So here we are. I have a horrible feeling it is both overworked and under edited at the same time. I have been so close to it for so long that I lack even a pretence at objectivity.