Yesterday was a sort of ‘mixed fortunes’ type of day. Some good stuff happened, and some – well, not exactly bad, because that would be overstating the case, but perhaps we can settle on ‘not so good’ – stuff happened, too.
So, a more or less normal day, then.
The good stuff included such highlights as waking up alive, husband waking up alive, the sun shining, my brain working, and gaining my shiny second publication in under a week – my flash fiction, ‘Reunion’, appeared in Issue 22 of The Bohemyth Magazine. (If you missed the link to it, it’s at the end of yesterday’s post, or under the new ‘My Writing’ tab on the blog’s homepage.) Another twisty and dark story about death and messed-up families, I’m at a loss to explain where it came from, too. Suffice to say that my brain normally works in pink and fluffy terms, so there logically must come a time when it needs to venture down the rarely-trod path of evil. You know, for balance.
On the other hand, I learned yesterday that I was not shortlisted for a writing competition I’d entered. I was proud of and pleased with the story I’d written, and I thought I’d handled the brief reasonably well. However, I’d also sent an author photograph with my submission, and it – to be fair – was pretty gruesome. I’ve since found another one where I don’t look quite so much like a Vogon overlord, so let’s hope I’ll improve my chances of being selected now. (I’m joking, of course. Not about the photo looking like a Vogon overlord, but about how choosing a better photo might improve my chances. Of course, it’s all about the writing, and this time I didn’t measure up. No big deal.)
Perhaps a little more upsettingly, I also came to the realisation yesterday that an idea I’d been working on, and a WiP I’d written nearly 40,000 words on, will now have to be scrapped. (Don’t worry, though – the WiP I’m talking about is not ‘Tider’, nor ‘Eldritch’, nor any of my most recent novel ideas, which is a blessing.) You remember how I spoke about buying books recently, and how much I was enjoying reading them? Well, this is still true, but the book I’m currently reading is also causing me a bit of pain. I’ve been meaning to read this book for a long time, ever since I first read a synopsis of its plot somewhere online, but I was putting it off because I knew it sounded similar to an idea I’d had several years back. This sometimes does happen, and you feel that your world is ending because someone has written the book you wanted to write before you had a chance to – but then you actually read the book, and it’s not so bad. Life carries on, and you keep working on your WiP, and there’s space in the world for both stories.
This is not one of those times.
Despite the fact that the author has created an entirely different sort of society to the one I wrote about, and her characters are all different, the core concept of the world and the way it functions is exactly the same as the idea I’d been working on. So much so, in fact, that the same terminology and descriptions are used, along with the same images and explanations I’d come up with to convey the ‘reality’ of the fictive world. It’s almost weird to see the word I thought I’d created, used by the characters to describe their world, appearing in print before my eyes, yet not in a book written by me. I have pride in my little idea – clearly, its essence was good enough to make a book out of – but I know my own work wasn’t a fraction as strong as the work in the book I’m reading. In a way, that makes it easier to take. I couldn’t have done as good a job as this author has done, and she has done greater justice to our shared idea than I would have. So, it’s hard for me but better for the world of books and stories that it has worked out this way.
There are differences in our stories, too, so there may yet be something I can salvage from my own work. It’s not a total lost cause yet.
Anyway. To end on a high, the most incredible beams of sunshine are bursting through my windows, the sky outside is so blue it would put the Riviera to shame (we can ignore the fact that the wind is cold enough to skin you, because luckily I’m inside with the heating on), and I’m going to a Christening ceremony tomorrow for a friend’s new and beautiful baby girl, so that will be wonderful.
Life is good.