atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#6628: About that old story....

Finished reading it the other day. About 200 pages, I think, double-spaced and printed on ye olde dotte matrixe printer.

Overall, not a bad effort. A bit juvenile in spots. Tended a bit towards polemic, which was cringe-inducing. The climax of the story, also not great, but I give points for it extending logically from events in the story. Denoument, a little cheesy.

When I consider that this was my first real novel effort as an adult--age 19--and that I had taken off all the limiters that I'd imposed on myself as a juvenile writer, I have to acknowledge it as a solid, but seriously flawed, effort. Certainly it is not nearly as good as I thought it was when I was writing it; time and experience have given me enough perspective to see all the stuff I did wrong, all the really bad writing that it includes.

Yet, there is also present in this story a germ of my style--it's clearly a story I have written--and no one else could have written it that way. It's entertaining; it kept my interest and I (having utterly forgotten the plot) wanted to see what happened, how it all turned out.

It's not that it's bad; it's just that it isn't good.

This is the kind of story any aspiring writer needs to write, and if he never writes it, he never gets very far. It was the first time I wrote a story that I wanted to write, the way I wanted to write it, without considering what other people would think of it.

Prior to that, I worried about what this or that person, sibling or parent or friend or teacher, would think upon reading it. This story was where I learned to write what I liked, what I thought was good, what I wanted to read; where I wrote what fit the story and not what would pass the censors.

The really interesting thing about the stories I wrote in that time of my life is that they were allowed to languish. Like this one; The Evolution of Frank Gimbel, after its completion, sat in its binder unread for at least two decades. I honestly can't remember the last time I read it, but it cannot have been any more recently than...when?

When I look through my Professional Write files, I see that there was a rewrite started of this story, and the timestamp on the most recent file was 1997. (A couple of them show "1980" because the program was not Y2K compliant and munged the dates. That probably translates to 2000.) So the last time I looked seriously at this book was on the order of two decades ago, when I made an abortive attempt at a rewrite. The files themselves say "1993" for the beginning of the rewrite effort, and knowing how I do things I expect those five chapters were all written around the same time in 1993; the later timestamps are due to edits, me perusing the text and finding something wrong and fixing it.

So, yeah--figure I last looked at the story, actually looked at it, in 1993. A mere 26 years ago. No wonder I forgot the plot. And there are other stories I wrote, between high school and college, that similarly languished like this one did. Wrote 'em, printed 'em, then let 'em sit as I moved on.

As for the future of this effort? I could easily rewrite it, of course, but it's not really all that great a story to begin with. The 1993 rewrite probably stalled for that reason.

I can see that the 1993 version had been updated to include the then-latest technology, and that might be a mistake. No, the story would need to be set in 1986-ish, about where it was in the original, for it to work at all. (Certainly, updating it to 2019 would ruin it completely.)

What I want to do now is to find some of the stuff I wrote in high school, prior to this story, and compare it to this. It's in the filing cabinet downstairs; I just need to dig it out. I'd bet it would compare well to this story, but not to present-day stuff--and all of that is just and proper.

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