Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Work

Since I have this blog linked to my first published piece of work I will dive further into what I'm working on. If you came here because you read and liked "The Struggle" please feel free to ask any questions you may have on the short story. That specific story is part of a series that is currently in the making. It is fiction, of course, but based on my experience in Iraq when I was there on my last trip. It rather accurately displays the strife going on in Iraq as its civil war kicked off. The rest of the series will follow the protagonist, Walid, as he continues on the route he has chosen for himself. (I am not certain if writing about things I plan on writing is a good idea or not... please post opinions on this issue... also it could be another one of my procrastination tics)

One of the other stories I'm working on is a piece about zombies... from the zombies point of view. It's an interesting twist and this will simply be a letter to the people of the world... the remaining ones that is. I hope that it turns out as I want it to. The idea stemmed from watching or seeing the huge zombie flick and book craze and having me wonder what the issue truly was. After all, most conflicts are only black and white when one is in them... and only looking like an infant would... they are rather murky when a step is taken back. I enjoy presenting that murkiness. Nature of the beast (the beast being us).

Another piece is about a caveman, one of the early homo sapiens, and his battle for survival. This story (also in a series, though longer than "The Struggle") will focus on competing tribes and how different ones succeed through different sources of luck/skill. This story was born in a class I took in Columbia University called Brain Evolution--by Professor Curley. One of the most interesting classes I took in college. It traces how one can go about finding the reasons for our expansions in brain size as well as why these expansions would come around (social reasons, I believe) while also showing that our intelligence is not all that unique (well, it's more, obviously, but it is not as great as we may love to believe). In the class the reasons and the mental image of how we evolved crashed into my head and I saw the beginnings of a story.
As I was finishing up and reviewing my novel I realized that I was (the book is about inherent violence of men, to sum it up crassly) always touching the subject of the evolutionary origins of our need to fight. Thus I decided that writing about cavemen would be the best way to get this idea across to the reader (admittedly a small crowd of them). We'll see the first draft of this story was some weak sauce. I am redrafting as we speak. Part of the trade, sometimes 10k words need to be flushed down the toilet. The toughest part, for me, was balancing the narration of the character with the narrator, because the first draft was too simplistic (on purpose, but my editor said that it didn't work) to engage the reader. We'll see on the next try. Also the professor for the class recommended a book for me to read so that I may gain more knowledge on the subject (of course, there is much that is not known, and that is where I will fill in the blanks, balancing the needs of fiction with proper scientific analysis). It's a great book, one I highly recommend.

Another story is done and just needs to be edited. It is a short on PTSD and how one soldier gets over it. Not great but to the point, I believe. This one is actually pretty old, about four years old. I wrote it when I first started my novel. It's kind of raw.

Yet another story is a fantastical one. It is based on a world of serfdom and in this world there is a boy who grow up to be very rebellious. Good stuff overall and one that I wish to do more of as it is a sort of fantastical look at the origins of certain actions. This one was finished in the summer, but it needs to be redrafted as it was very error-riddled, as well as having an inconsistent voice. So I will give it another crack.

Finally I have a novel sized story (or novelette, or novella) that is a week from being done. This one focuses on a man in an elite unit in the military. But this time there's a twist: he has to do a mission he has no desire to complete in any fashion--kill an old friend who the government has deemed an enemy of the state. Though I haven't read any stories like this one, I am certain that it's original.

The other stories I have on the burner (meaning I have typed all of a page of each and have not yet come close to weaving a story in my head) are much more controversial and I will get to them in due time. They are about more touchy subjects (possibly dangerous, but knowing human nature what is one to expect?) and so will need more time to reach a perfection that is required of them.

I hope this post pulls in some more readers and if there are any questions please go ahead and ask. I haven't mentioned my novel, which is going to yet another request. We will see if it ends up working out.

I am still trying to find the optimal place to type. Does anyone win NYC know of a place that has late hours (24 hours hopefully) and conducive to typing. So far I only see cafes in the village area. I want to be guaranteed that I am not disturbed by any drunks.

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