Miles’ 2024 Writing Rodeo: Rodeo Round Up February!

Miles’ 2024 Writing Rodeo: Rodeo Round Up February!

It’s month 2 of Miles’ Writing Rodeo, and this one has been tough!

For those new to this series, this year I am challenging myself to finish 12 stories in 12 months. Each month I want to embrace something new, work on elements that I struggle with, or improve on a specific skill.

Between a full week lost to sickness and a 4-day trip to London, I haven’t been able to work on my writing as much as I’d hoped this month. I did manage to finish a short story, but it’s not quite as polished as En’na and Baba’s Family Cookbook.
My inspiration for this story was the Nautilus Livestreams. For those who don’t already know, the Nautilus is a marine submersible used to study the ecosystems of the deep oceans. Hearing the scientists excitedly discuss their love of particular species of fish, crabs and flatworms gives me no end of delight.
You never see the scientists’ faces; you just hear their voices as they discuss the things they are seeing and study the habitats they find themselves in. it is absolutely delightful and it makes me so happy to hear people talking about the most innocuous creatures so passionately.

However, ocean horror is also one of my favourite genres.
“Transcript of log 342, found among the debris of an unidentified craft at 4570 metres. Transcript has been dated to cycle 760. No remains were found at the site.”
Thus begins Isopod Log 342, an audio log from a submarine vessel tasked with studying the ecosystem of an alien ocean.
Two characters can be heard speaking in the audio logs; pilot Aralis, and trainee co-pilot Sialle.
With this story I wanted to challenge myself to show, don’t tell. With no visual descriptions allowed, only audio, this was particularly challenging.

While the story focuses primarily on the main characters’ research and the animals they encounter, there is a more subtle narrative of the main characters’ homesickness and isolation. As they descend deeper into the unknown depths, their mission gets colder, darker, and a lot more dangerous.
It is fairly short, at 1,700 words total, and I feel like there’s a lot I’d like to develop when it comes to the characters and the ocean they are studying. As narratives go, I felt like it was a little bit bare-bones, and the themes don’t conclude in as satisfying a way as I’d like.
But, that’s the beauty of being a writer; every art piece has an ugly phase. My favourite part of the writing process is always the editing. It’s then that your work can go from an unpolished lump of clay to something whole and textured.
Perhaps one day I’ll find a home for Isopod Log 342. But for now, I’m quite happy for it to stay as it is. When this challenge is over, I’ll be able to look back at it with fresh eyes, and properly see where to put the stitches.

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