This week I’ve written my longest and my shortest stories so far in this series. As always I’ve tried to mix and match my style hopefully making this stories significantly different to one another so it doesn’t feel like you’re reading the same thing rehashed over and over.
I’ve had to concede defeat over trying to produce one story per day. I’m so far behind with that plan that I have to cut my losses while I can. I’ve been so used to producing fiction which is between 1,000 – 2,000 words for publications that I assumed I would write quite naturally at this size. However, when editorial constraints are thrown off it seems I don’t have a natural word count! Hence one story is less than 1,000 words long and another is over 6,000!
In terms of book word count however, I’m well on target. As I write, my first draft has come to 43,000 words so far (well done if you’ve read every single one of them – I’m proud of you!) and the NaNoWriMo target of 50,000 words will be reached very soon – perhaps even by the end of the weekend? I’m personal target is to write more than 60,000 words before November is over and this looks very likely indeed now.
As the third week ends I’m now setting my sights not just to complete the first draft but to start editing the first stories. So now is a good time to give me your thoughts – good or bad – about the stories. Even simply pointing out typos will help (posting these stories is such a rush that I’m sure I’ve made plenty of gaffs despite reading through, correcting and editing each story a couple of times before presenting it for reading publicly). So please do make some comments when you can.
I’ve received a lot of praise and encouragement privately from many of you and I thank you for that. It’s really interesting to see which stories resonate most with who. I think most of the stories I’ve written have been ‘the favourite’ to at least one person. Keep such comments coming – I haven’t decided what form the final book will take as yet so it is good to know which stories are liked the most. In all likelihood I will produce two or three versions of the final version for different purposes.
As I’m not going to manage 30 stories in November the final book will also contain stories I won’t have had time to publish so there’s an extra incentive to buy it when I produce it in December!
On to the stories this week then:
Daniel in the Den is my shortest story so far. I’ve tried to be a little clever with this story and, though it is certainly fiction, I can tell you it is a composite of very real events which happened in my life (though not necessarily to me directly) about sixteen years ago.
Insignificant Woman No. 2 is the second of my series of essay stories. Again, fiction, but also deeply personal and based on my own experiences as a teenager. I’ve not tried to excuse or sweeten up any of the characters here but be true to what it was like back then.
A Good Match is my longest story and one of the longest I’ve ever written! Like Babu, this is a re-imagining of a Rabindranath Tagore story mixed with my own reflections about life for most Bangladeshi women. It’s also borne out of my fascination for the supernatural myths which pervade Bengali culture.
Finally, published today, is The Circle. I rarely get to mention in these posts that I am a keen amateur conjurer and have loved performing tricks and puzzles ever since I was a young boy. The idea of the magician has changed a lot since I was a kid. I wanted to be Paul Daniels – now often ridiculed by the general public but brilliant in his day – but nowadays kids think of David Blaine or Dynamo as what magic is all about. I wanted to lift the lid a little on what it is really like for those of us who adore this hobby and are in it for life – far from the gaze of the public.
I should point out that the club (or ‘circle’ if you like) I belong to now is hardly like the one I describe here! I’ve taken memories from clubs I knew as a kid (I was the Teenager described in this story) to create this fiction. The club I have been a member of for many years now meets in a hotel but I really did belong to one which met in a church hall as I describe. Oh and Benny Bilbo’s story really did happen!
That’s it for this week – I hope you enjoy the stories! Thanks for reading them and for your love and support.