[Cont’d from Part 1] … On writing and cutting: The Preface below was something I’d worked on for weeks (some time ago), struggling to get the tone right …
Here it is, a Preface (to a collection of nine short stories) inspired by — and a tribute to — Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes:
Nine playchambers. Nine fierce rides. A kaleidoscope of delightful wickedness, mirrors and apparitions where illusions run amok and imagination runs wild, yet everything strikes close to home, so very close to home.
It’s God’s ugly truth. This is not make-believe. The real world has passed through the shadow lens, rendered subliminal, elemental. Bathed in a different light, the contours and contrasts of reality are drawn in the shade of impulse, instinct, omen and premonition, bringing out a design of magic and spectacle. The carnival is always on tour. It’s a familiar setting, and yet …
Step right in. Climb the carousel and let it spin, let all the rides go to work until the ordinary world fades from memory and the spectacle is all there is. Trip the light fantastic and let yourself go. Let the shadows come to life and show you around. Follow their lead. Visitors are encouraged to experience how the shadows work, up close and personal.
Make sure to make the most of their unusual hospitality. Their domain is rarely open to the public.
Still, don’t get too comfortable. This is a mystifying and tricky place. Make the wrong move and, like a reckless punter, you’re off the rails.
Then again, maybe it’s not the shadows you should be wary of, but the world you return to.
Chances are it won’t be the same.
It will, in fact, monitor your every move, eager to test you.
The text reads well. It’s not fully there yet — needs work on its metaphors — but it’s close enough.
Still, I cut it. Thick black strikethrough lines from end to end — then started a new draft on the story collection.
I also cut a number of stories. It was hard, but out they went.
And the text changed. #AppearancesTheNewManuscript is an entirely new madness, with all of the stories revised and reworked, and a number of fresh ones thrown in for effect.
The manuscript is now 90% brand new. The connection to SWTWC is gone, but the premise is still shady and unnerving, designed to explore a world similar to ours, a world in which the appearances that embellish human interaction are torn to shreds, one layer at a time.
The work continues.