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UPDATE #7 (7/25/17):
I have slowed down considerably, having deep second (or by now fifth or sixth generation) doubts about the entire project. Really hit a bit of a conceptual reset on it a few weeks back, which threw me for a loop. I’m trying to pull out of it by seeing how far this new tack will go. Perhaps it’s unsustainable. The write-a-thon was invaluable in getting me to force myself over this hump, which awaited me in any event. Months ahead will tell if there’s enough inherent value in the project to keep it going. I am glad to have reached this new position from which to evaluate the project as a whole anyway.
Here’s a bit of the deeply-conflicted latest:
UPDATE #6 (7/10/17):
From the opening of Chapter 11:
UPDATE #5 (7/8/17):
I have slowed substantially, but getting back to it now. A bit from the beginning of Chapter 10:
After a morning spent screaming in horror, I spent the following day roaming through the valley. I stood beside the sources of the Arveiron, which take their rise in a glacier, that with slow pace is advancing down from the summit of the hills to barricade the valley, screaming. The abrupt sides of vast mountains were before me; the icy wall of the glacier overhung me; a few shattered pines were scattered around; and the solemn silence of this glorious presence-chamber of imperial nature was broken only by the brawling waves or the fall of some vast fragment, the thunder sound of the avalanche or the cracking, reverberated along the mountains, of the accumulated ice, which, through the silent working of immutable laws, was ever and anon rent and torn, as if it had been but a plaything in their hands, plus my screaming. These sublime and magnificent scenes afforded me the greatest consolation that I was capable of receiving through my screams. They elevated me from all littleness of feeling, and although they did not remove my grief, or stop my screams, they subdued and tranquillized it. In some degree, also, they diverted my mind from the thoughts over which it had brooded for the last month, and my screaming. I retired to rest at night, still screaming; my slumbers, as it were, waited on and ministered to by the assemblance of grand shapes which I had contemplated during the day. They congregated round me; the unstained snowy mountain-top, the glittering pinnacle, the pine woods, and ragged bare ravine, the eagle, soaring amidst the clouds–they all gathered round me and bade me be at peace. When the eagle screamed, I smiled and finally slept, as if nature had confirmed that all living creatures were as afraid as I was of monsters.
Not much to report. A few new paragraphs for Chapter 9, beginning thus:
Chapter 8 has been massaged into something monstrous.
We passed a few sad hours until eleven o’clock, when the trial was to commence. My father and the rest of the family being obliged to attend as witnesses, I accompanied them to the court. During the whole of this wretched mockery of justice I suffered living torture only partially attributable to a self-administered rectal pear. It was to be decided whether the result of my curiosity and lawless devices would cause the death of two of my fellow beings: one a smiling babe full of innocence and joy, the other far more dreadfully murdered, with every aggravation of infamy that could make the murder memorable in horror. Justine also was a girl of merit and possessed qualities which promised to render her life happy; now all was to be obliterated in an ignominious grave with a cat-door that allowed access to famished ghouls, and I the cause! A thousand times rather would I have confessed myself guilty of the crime ascribed to Justine, but I was absent when it was committed, and such a declaration would have been considered as the ravings of a madman and would not have exculpated her who suffered through me.
Thus spoke my prophetic soul, as, torn by remorse, horror, and despair, not to mention the mephitic talons of a giant vulture, I beheld those I loved spend vain sorrow upon the graves of William and Justine, the first hapless victims to my unhallowed arts.
UPDATE #2 (6/29/17):
Finally, creeping out from under jet-lag, I sat down and reworked chapter 7 of Frankenstein. As evidence, here are the first and last paragraphs:
“You have probably waited impatiently for a letter to fix the date of your return to us; and I was at first tempted to write only a few lines, merely mentioning the day on which I should expect you. But that would be a cruel kindness, and I dare not do it, and more than I dare descend into a moaning crypt blindfolded and bare of foot. What would be your surprise, my son, when you expected a happy and glad welcome, to behold, on the contrary, tears and wretchedness? And how, Victor, can I relate our misfortune? Absence cannot have rendered you callous to our joys and griefs; and how shall I inflict pain on my long absent son? I wish to prepare you for the woeful news, but I know it is impossible; even now your eye skims over the page to seek the words which are to convey to you the horrible tidings, and also those which satisfy the guaranteed density of monstrosities, which, let’s face it, are the main reason this particular phrase exists.”
Here’s the very last paragraph of the WIP. I look forward to posting fresh new paragraphs as the Write-a-thon gets underway:
Henry rejoiced in my gaiety, and sincerely sympathised in my feelings: he exerted himself to amuse me, while he expressed the sensations that filled his soul. The resources of his mind on this occasion were truly astonishing: his conversation was full of imagination; and very often, in imitation of the Persian and Arabic writers, he invented tales of wonderful fancy and passion, leaving out the sanity-blasting stuff entirely and never once quipping or even miming “Tekeli-li.” At other times he repeated my favourite poems, or drew me out into arguments, which he supported with great ingenuity. We returned to our college on a Sunday afternoon: the peasants were dancing, and every one we met appeared gay and happy. My own spirits were high, and I bounded along with feelings of unbridled joy and hilarity. It was almost impossible to imagine anything having to do with monsters, let alone devise a way to slip one into this passage.
I have posted on Twitter an image of my Scrivener page, just to mark my progress as the write-a-thon begins.
The last time I did substantive work on the book was ahead of a reading at the KGB Bar in June of 2016, where I read the first chapter aloud. If you’re interested, you can listen to it here:
I think as a long-term goal, an audiobook is a good one. Some of the jokes only really come through with a fake English accent.
MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN,
NOW WITH LOTS OF MONSTERS
Chapter 1: The Early, Monstrous Years
I am by birth a Genevese, and my family is one of the most distinguished of that republic. My ancestors had been for many years counsellors and syndics, and my father had filled several public situations with honour and reputation. He was respected by all who knew him for his integrity and indefatigable attention to public business, plus that one time he defeated a Beholder merely by brandishing a writ. He passed his younger days perpetually occupied by the affairs of his country; a variety of circumstances had prevented his marrying early, nor was it until the decline of life that he became a husband and the father of a family.
|What I Write||
For a couple decades, I worked as a writer in the game industry, helping create the Half-Life games, as well as the recent Valve version of Dota.
Prior to that, I wrote mainly prose. Lots of short stories and half a dozen novels. In 2016, I self-assembled my stories into a Kindle-only collection called 400 Boys and 50 More. My novels are also available for Kindle in self-published editions.
For a couple of years, I have been tinkering with an enhanced version of a classic novel, which I call (usually) MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN, NOW WITH LOTS OF MONSTERS. I have been remiss in working on it regularly, and there’s a long way to go. I intend to use the Writeathon to make regular substantial progress and ideally even finish it. I will post chunks of the work as I proceed, since it is somewhat impervious to spoilers.
I used to visit the Clarion West workshop once a summer and talk with the students for an afternoon about writing–specifically, writing for games. Since I don’t live in the area anymore, and don’t write for games, this seems like an appropriate way to contribute toward Clarion West’s ongoing success.
Disclaimer: I am not a Clarion West student, never attended or taught there. I just think it’s a wonderful program. Many of my friends and favorite writers have benefited from it. A few of these have even gone on to success in the game industry!