Writing my short story, A Child Was Born, was fun. I love my characters. I love all the little girls–even the ones with no names. I’m proud of it. I’m not saying it couldn’t be better. In my mind, I keep thinking of things I should have added, fleshed out, even things I should change. I suppose that’s the way it is with all writers; we always second guess ourselves and have a difficult time letting go.
Chasing the Clock
I’ve been holed up with an old unfinished manuscript, trying to breathe new life into it for a specific market. Easier said than done. Sometimes I think writing something new is easier than taking a piece apart and reconstructing it. In this case I’m cutting what was originally an incomplete Christmas novel to 15,000 words–yes, a Christmas story. I don’t think I had enough plot for a novel anyway. The deadline is Saturday. Yes, gulp with me: the deadline is Aug. 18th, tomorrow, and I’m not finished!
Taken a look at how I’ve introduced the characters. I’ve introduced two characters and the problem on the first page. Unfortunately, the hero is not one of those two.
I’ve tried to break it into a 3-act structure to get a better handle on it. This seemed hard; should have been easier since I had the book outlined.
I’ve pinpointed the setting and trying, TRYING to make it apparent throughout the story. I’m terrible at creating setting.
I’ve cut all the subplots, and made the plot more linear. No flashbacks either.
I’ve taken a look at my characters and, where I can do it, combined two into one. Double duty.
I’m trying to make every word count. (That should be a given, right?)
A Creative How-To
In a speech, Ray Bradbury suggested we should write a short story a week. At the end of each week we will be happy because we’ve accomplished (completed) something. And if we write a short story a week, we will have 52 short stories at the end of the year.
He goes on to say we should read a short story, an essay and a poem every night before we go to bed. None of the modern stuff. We should read quality stories by Edith Wharton, Dahl, Washington Irving and Poe. We should read the best poems–those by Alexander Pope, Frost and Shakespeare. We should read essays across the board in different fields. Examples are essays by Huxley and Loren Eiseley.
Every night before we go to bed, if we read one essay, one poem and one short story, by the end of a thousand nights, our head will be stuffed with all sorts of wonderful things and we’ll be on our way to becoming more creative.