Thursday, February 5, 2009

Before and After the Beginning


Like most short stories there is a lot of information that I need to know that does not need to be in the story. For example, with just about any Bo Fexler mystery, I need to know who her client is, what the investigation entails, and what conflict Bo's going to face. I don't usually know these all at the beginning of the story since I tend to start with a spark of an idea and just hope that the flame spreads to the rest of the pages.

Because I need to figure out the client and the case, I often end up starting at that point. Sometimes it's the client meeting, sometimes it's an info dump early in the story. But, as you my dear readers have clearly seen, these things are not often present in the final draft. I pick a new starting point. Something, hopefully, far more interesting.

I fell out of short story writing for quite a spell there. There were a few pieces, here and there, but mostly I had just been polishing up and finishing older stories. As I started writing again, I recalled that I used to actually write the backstory into the narrative. Which was part of the reason why, once upon a time (believe it or not) I used to be convinced that I could not write short stories. Then I learned how to edit.

For some reason, for a spell here, I've been averse to the idea of having to edit the stuffing out of my stories. I was struggling with trying to just not write the extra fluff. But I think that's just the sort of writer I am. I am not an outliner... every time I outline something, when I actually start writing one or seven characters will go and say something they were never supposed to. (I'm not crazy, I'm a writer. There's a slight difference, honest!) So, now that I realize that I am what I yam, the words come easier. Many of them will be cut and prune, reshaped until the overgrown hedge resembles a dolphin (or a phallus).

But the good news is that I am now learning to accept the type of writer I am. It goes along with my long time acceptance of my procrastination, my ever-messy-office, and the fact that I am nocturnal. These things just are. I may as well accept and embrace them.

3 comments:

The Anti-Wife said...

Self acceptance can be a very good thing as long as it isn't just an excuse to continue in destructive habits.

Clair Dickson said...

Very true, Anti-wife. And sometimes it's hard to see that a destructive habit is just that. But sometimes it's just a habit. =)

Barbara Martin said...

Self-acceptance is the beginning of going forward, and you have sorted out those things to write your short stories. Bravo.