17 May 2015 - 4:14 pm

Boomflowers: sneaking up on you



I wrote recently about the Write-Review-Publish event and how it went. What I didn’t talk about there is what I wrote during that day.

Quite often at the more intensive, structured, or organised events, I don’t really get much opportunity to write. Regular write-ins are fine, but something i’m actively running throughout the day usually means that I don’t get my head down into my own fiction. And that’s fine! I’m completely down with that.

Write-Review-Publish was different. Despite actively running it through the whole day, I actually managed to settle enough for a few stretches to get a piece not only started, but drafted right to the end, redrafted, and edited. It’s not the whole story, but it’s the first whole scene of it.

I had an idea that was niggling at me, and I figured it might be a good candidate for a day like that one. It came from an article I saw about a guy who had turned shotgun ammunition into seed distribution shells, for easy, shotgun-toting gardening. (They’re called Flower Shells.)

This is the best mix for a writer: weapons and violence with a green, environmental bent, and a healthy dollop of the faintly ridiculous. Because gardening with a shotgun is equal parts ridiculous and awesome.

Of course, my writer brain started turning it over like a curious rock. The ‘what ifs’ began: what if these shells became common munitions? What if they were used as ‘organic markers’, to tag suspects in shoot-outs and identify them later? What if someone took them to the extreme and tried to make them into bombs? What if the seeds were adapted to use the heat from the blast to promote fast growth? What if… it all went horribly wrong?

Welcome to Boomflowers. The worst has happened, an entire city (at least) has been taken over by rampant giant flowers, and people have been entirely driven out.

This is where I started at the event. The first piece of the story fell out of my story with surprising steadiness; I won’t say it was easy, because it was a struggle in some ways, but I didn’t get stuck on it, either. It’s heavy on the description in a way that I don’t often write (Starwalker is more internal chatter than pure description). It felt like stretching old muscles in new, fresh scenery.

The goal for the day was 2,000 words and the first piece of Boomflowers is only around 1,500, but I didn’t want to fill it out: I think it’s about right as it is. I really like how it came out, came together, this story that was pretty much just a concept when I walked in that day. I hadn’t expected to get to the end of it! It’s nice to know that I can surprise myself.

Right now, I’m trying not to plan it too deeply. I’ve got an idea about where I want it to go, the ground I want it to cover, and the shape it’ll take to get there. I’m predicting that it will come out around 10,000 words when it’s complete. For me, that’s shockingly short. I’m not looking to overcook this or stretch it out, though I’m determined to let it take the time and space it needs to be the story it should be. So, well… it might wind up longer than that.

I’m enjoying writing it. I’ve got the second piece ready to go, and I’m hoping to get the rest of it written up over the next few weeks, so it’s all done and good to go by the time I get back to Starwalker.

It has been a while since I wrote something with this little prep, and right now, I’m loving it. I should go do some more weird stuff with creeping flowers! Enjoy!

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  1. Alexander Hollins (leaking pen) says:

    It reminds me a touch of Alan Dean Foster’s Midworld, which was a planet of massive trees and very competitive plant. Lots of things that exploded and planted seeds in animals.

    I’m really interested in seeing where it goes, especially after the , ahem, “corsage” the main character has.

    May 17th, 2015 at 9:39 pm

  2. Mel says:

    Interesting, I don’t think I’ve read Midworld. Thanks!

    Hope you enjoy it. More to come soon. 🙂

    May 18th, 2015 at 10:04 am