February 2011

An open doorway,

A shaft of heat-filled sunshine,

Winter reading bliss.

I almost missed the Wednesday lunch chat at the Novelists page at SheWrites.  Luckily, I remembered in time, caught the tail end of it and chatted with nice online people.

Again, the Internet saves me from turning into a total recluse.

Today was a non-fiction day.  Some days are like that.

This short story is quickly approaching the word count for a novelette, and at least two developments still lurk:  discovery and resolution.  At sixteen pages, single spaced except between paragraphs, the story is anything but short.

I wish I could write short, direct fiction — a flash of intrigue with a twist — but even at the start of a story I have more characters than most short stories I’ve read.  All these characters make trouble, and love to bang into one another.  None of them wants to cooperate with the others, and they all think they’re the star, which is how they horned in at the start of the development.  It would be so much easier to write a novel length story and let them have at it, rushing about, being dramatic and just creating mayhem that I can experience vicariously from the safety of my chair.  Unfortunately, striking out with novel-length stories, and expecting any attention, is about as likely to be successful as a spectacularly shaped snowflake thinking it will be noticed in a blizzard.   “I’m so shapely!  I’m so sparkly!  I’m so … buried.”

Short stories are somewhat easier fictional baby-steps only because each one doesn’t take quite as long to write as does a novel, and they can be used to establish a fiction footprint — a tiny footprint, granted — a footprint that can be made with greater ease than by tossing an 80,000 word manuscript onto a publisher’s slush pile:  a needle in a stack of needles.  Unfortunately, a short story takes just as much planning, if not more, than does a novel.  There aren’t as many words in which to hide inconsistencies, loose ends and oh, so clever reader-distractions.  The writing must be surgical, yet satisfying.  It’s also supposed to be short.

I have hope that the editing removes the flab — and that hope could be a good title for another story:  The Pandora Delusion.  I can almost see it, the hopeful main character and antagonist at odds.  The main character’s friend giving advice, and the comical busybody providing an amusing distraction.   Oh, and the victim.  Mystery/thrillers (what I like) must have at least one victim.  Then there’s the annoying person who gets in the way.  See?  Already too many characters.

Must. Try. Harder.

On the one hand, writing is easier than snow shoveling because you can do it inside where it’s warm, and you can do it sitting down.

On the other hand, once you shovel the driveway, you don’t have to “edit” it, over and over (barring continued snowfall and snowplows, which we are spared today).

Poor driveway picture (who knows where the camera focused itself)

This was the depth my daughter and I shoveled from across the driveway.

As blizzards go, this wasn’t a terrible one, at least not in our area.  Bad enough (not wishing for worse), but definitely not a record-breaker for me.

Big time procrastination character development!  Make a fake Facebook wall for your characters.

My Fake Wall