Friday, October 27, 2006

When Ethics Slips In

The story I've been working on the past few weeks is a sf/horror rewrite of the Poe classic "The Masque of Red Death". I have it in the back of my head to do a full collection of Poe rewrites at some point, and I started with this one because I think it's one of Poe's weaker stories. I love the basic concept of the story and the allegory quality it has, but so much of the tale is told not shown. Aside from changing the setting and a lot of the surrounding circumstances, I'm trying to crack it open and impart a lot of the same type of information through scenes instead of narration. For the most part, I've really only been striving for creepy horror story about a disease destroying the population of Earth, but somewhere along the line metafiction and my recent forays into ethics have slipped in.

One little trick I often do when I just need to figure out the real subtext for a story is to stick two characters who are completes opposites in a room together and see what happens. In this story, those two are prince and the nut who comes to the part dressed as a plague victim. I've been working on the exchange between the two the last few days, mostly scribbles on scraps of paper when I had a quiet moment at work. I just finished typing it up, and somehow I eneded up with a four page debate between the two over the purpose of art. Not really sure where it came from, except from the ethics books I've been reading lately (particularly John Gardner's On Moral Fiction. Somehow I need to compact the four pages down to about 1/4 of a page. 1/2 a page at the most. We'll see how it goes.

Completely unrelated, but I finally bit the bullet and upgraded to the new Blogger Beta. Over the next few days, I'll be backtracking through all my old posts to add the meta-tags. It'll be tedious, but they aren't much use if they aren't used for everything I've written here.


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