Thursday, April 14, 2016

OverAnalyzed: "How to Write a Nautical Horror Story"

This week, we've got something a little different. A little...more personal. I've been a bit engrossed with Dark Souls III, so writing a fully-thought-out OverAnalyzed wasn't going to happen. However, I thought it would be cool to show how I go about writing short stories. In particular, the story "The Last Tall Ship."

Let's begin at the beginning. All my stories have a germ of inspiration. Sometimes it's a writing prompt, sometimes it's something I saw in a novel or poem, sometimes it's my own thoughts. In this particular case, the inspiration was two words: "Monstrous derelict." After that, I did some free-association to come up with themes and imagery I wanted to use, such as "Drowning is a horrible death." 

After that, I sketch up a general direction for the story to flow along. This is usually pretty flexible, and often changes as I write and the story develops itself. Who characters become as I write them influences this process heavily.

And then... Well, I write... Not too much to say there. There's a lot of scribbling-outs and rewritings and misspellings. Those usually get caught when I type everything up. Usually. 

I can usually get a good feel for how long a story will be by how many handwritten pages I use. Two manuscript pages translate to about one 500-word formatted page in a text editor. 

Normally, I would proof the stories several more times if I were planning to submit them anywhere. Since my intent with pieces like "The Last Tall Ship" is more to entertain people on the internet, I don't do that so much. Major issues, yeah. Not nearly as much quibbling as I will do when I revisit the pieces. Anyway. The rest of the first draft of the story is below. Enjoy, and when you're done, make sure to go read the finished product here!