A writer I discovered at the SFX Weekender last month, Mark Charan Newton, writes a blog containing all sorts of useful information for writers. It’s well worth bookmarking if you’re into that kind of thing.
Something else that emerged from the SFX Weekender was Newton’s idea (well, China Mieville’s idea, apparently) to encourage the ‘remixing’ of some of his work. You can find out more details in this post. I thought I’d give it a go and started tinkering around with the short story ‘Salam and Baseema’, a tale of arranged marriages and teenage rebellion – mixed in with a bit of magic realism.
Whereas the first remixer cut bits out and rearranged the story, to quite interesting effect, I decided to keep the overall structure intact and instead try translating it into a completely different genre. This involved going through each paragraph and altering it appropriately. At firstI intended this to be quite minimal and restrained but ultimately couldn’t resist the temptation to add a few extra bits and pieces here and there.
The idea behind the genre switch was to see if the story and characters could remain intact regardless of genre and setting. I think on the whole they do, although the cyberpunky setting gives certain themes a new, or different, significance. I also wasn’t sure what would happen to the writing style, as it’s inevitably been altered towards mine, while retaining Mark’s pacing and structure. I’d be interested to hear anybody’s thoughts on that when you get a chance to read it.
It was certainly fun and interesting to do – I’ve no idea whether it works as a short story, or how it compares to the original, but am looking forward to any responses when Mark sticks it up on his blog as and when. In the meantime, make sure you give the original story a read in preparation. 😛
Edit: Mark’s now posted my remix – http://markcnewton.com/2010/03/03/remix-project-story-two/ Enjoy!