The Oubliette experiment retrospective

It’s been about six weeks since I started with my creative writing experiment that I dubbed Oubliette. This seems to be a good point to step back and assess where I am, decide my future direction, and what I can do to do better.

As a bit of a background, the world of Oubliette is one where certain aspects of the paranormal is real. As shown so far, ghosts and people with superhuman abilities (referred to as advanced humans or unhumans) exist. My original idea was to present a number of story arcs through an episodic series of short stories. Currently, I have four arcs (Oubliette agents, Tisha Brown, Anarchist, and Stephan Rotatiga). All of the stories in their current form can be accessed from the Oubliette page.

Off the top of my head, I have the following thoughts and observations (as a brainstorm). If you think of anything to add, feel free to comment what you think.

  1. Is this experiment worthwhile to continue? I’m having fun especially when I wrote part 3 of “Farm.”
  2. It wasn’t until “Phoenix” that I was comfortable with what I produced. I am still not happy with the set of short stories prior to it especially “Jester.” I attribute part of this to me relearning what I’ve forgotten and part to creating the stories for the purpose of giving background. Even after rewriting them once, I really want to rewrite them again.
  3. I think I might be attempting too many story arcs. Plus, I was intending to spin an arc off using one or more of the characters from “Seance.” Two of the arcs were planned to be merged at some point, I think I’m going to do that sooner than I planned. That would still leave me with four arcs.  Is that too many?
  4. I need to come up with better titles for the stories.
  5. Does having multiple part episodes (where each part is a short story) make sense or should each episode be a short story?
  6. I should write each episode such that the reading of previous episodes is not a requirement to understand what is going on.
  7. I have found that I write a short story in the same way I code a complex business process.
  8. Part 3 of “Farm” had a decidedly different tone from the rest of the episode. Was that appropriate?
  9. Profanity: how much is too much and when should I use it?
  10. Beginnings are hard.
  11. I guess it is possible for characters to get into an argument that I didn’t plan.
  12. I need to do some more planning with my story arcs.
  13. In “Farm,” Owen and Mara did things that did not make it into the stories. For example, they spoke with Sheriff Mason which is how they knew where to find the members of the Spooksters. I didn’t think these parts were significant enough to merit their own stories. I would have included them if I was writing a novel but that was not the format I chose.
  14. I need to read for pleasure more.
  15. While it is possible for me to write a short story in a day, the quality is crap and I end up exhausted (“Bitter,” “Temporary,” and “Pursue” part 1 were written against daily word prompts).
  16. One or two short stories a week seems to be comfortable.
  17. Am I using an Agile approach to delivering stories… hmm…
  18. Related to #17, should I use user stories for my stories. 😉
  19. I know the race of my characters. Should I make it more obvious than I have? If so, what’s the best way?
  20. Where do vigilantes such as Anarchist and Dark Liberty get their gadgets?

 

2 thoughts on “The Oubliette experiment retrospective

Add yours

  1. I really like your experiment and list. I think all writers struggle with a variety of those points. An old mentor once told me that writers are sculptors of words. We need to write in order to shape it into something else. It sounds like you’re going through a creative effervescence. I would just run with it, see where it leads you. Write now and question later. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the advice. I agree that I need to continue to run with it because what usually holds me back is that I spend so much time planning stuff that I never get around to the writing. So far, minimal planning seems to be working better for me. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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