Clarion West Write-a-thon: Week 5 Recap

This week was burnout week for me. My mind just veered off course, plunged over a cliff right into hyperfocusing on Horizon: Zero Dawn and Horizon: Forbidden West. I absolutely enjoyed playing Zero Dawn and watching the gameplay for Forbidden West. Both games taught me a lot about story and worldbuilding that I think I can apply to longer projects down the line.

But, let’s face it. I didn’t fixate s on those games as some sort of academic venture. I did it because I was burned on creating and wanted to just take a break, then lost the balance of what I wanted to do and what I needed to do.

In the midst of my temporary obsession with these games, I decided to work on the flash prompt which required me to write a true story. I had to write the weirdest thing that ever happened to me, doing my best to invent nothing and make uncertainty a part of the story. I decided to write about a series of trippy experiences I had while settling into my new house. The only things I made up were the character to carry the story and the idea that all of those events were connected somehow.

It felt strange to put aside my usual non-fiction toolkit I use for journalism and try to find a way to fictionalise my reality in a way that could carry this true story. The result was something unsettling, yes, but it wasn’t as clean and fluid as I expected. Reality is an untidy thing, after all, and the story was equally untidy. In that way, I think I achieved the prompt’s goal, but the first bit of feedback hints that maybe it was just a little too messy and disjointed to be true to story form? I am not sure.

I’m not too upset about this feedback, though. While this story does feel like my most awkward write-a-thon story, I think it’s a kernel of a bigger, darker, stranger story begging to be written. I think I’ll poke at it over the next few days. I have been struggling for a story to submit to Fiyah anyway, so why not? Let’s see where this strange little story will go.

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