Saturday, December 08, 2007

Process, Fringe King pt. 1

Feeling all cool and stuff with my successful finishing and subsequent snail-mailing of a short story to a paying market for possible publication, I have rewarded myself by deciding to concentrate on short stories for a while.

And so I have been asking a bunch of random people the question, "What should I write stories about?" Because I've found myself uninspired...

I remember hearing people who made up stories saying in interviews that for them "the story came first," and then they wrote their books, or movies, or whatever. And I would always think when I heard that, "No freaking duh, the story came first."

Judging though from the few things that I've finished...for me, story is one of the last things I discover. Not one of the last things I put in, mind; one of the last things I discover in the things I write. I figure out what story I was trying to tell, and go "ah-HAH!" then rearrange, add, or remove stuff from the piece so that it more clearly says what I found out.

Usually that seems the way it goes.

Therefore, this idea of "the story comes first" doesn't seem to be working for me, and I need to discover, or create, a different approach. For now anyway.

I lay great stresses on the content and structure of first sentences, paragraphs, and pages. It's important what goes into them to springboard into the story. The essential voice and barebone beginnings of threads and all the "enough to be getting along with" facts should be there in a story pretty early on. I know how I think these things should, in a general way, be arranged and paced. How much exposition there should be, how much exposition, what amount of juxtaposition between the two. So, conceivably, I should be able to write a first page and have what I need to get to the end of the tale--I'm talking short story here--without actually deciding ahead of time where I mean to go. Then I can go back later and fix the problems that will undoubtedly arise from this method of story construction.

So as an expiriment I shall go and I shall do this.

Title: Anansi the Fringe King.


Nickel Halfwise said...

For me, 'tis never the same. Sometimes the story comes first, sometimes a character, sometimes a first line, sometimes no more than a vague scene, sometimes nothing, but that's another problem. If you always start out knowing the story, really you cheat yourself of great enjoyment: that "ah-HAH" moment you spoke of is indeed priceless.

One good thing you can do to generate ideas is to go pick up a random book and read a section of it, or look at a picture, and write whatever comes into your head.

Or go out and do something unusual. That sometimes works too.

D.B. deClerq said...

I have prompts on my blog.