Monday, June 20, 2016

Four Months of One Story Per Week

Michael Salsbury
It's hard to believe that I've been at this effort for four months now.

The last four weeks have been the toughest in the project.

Week 12 saw me having to walk away from a story before I could finish it.  I had written the character into a situation and couldn't see how to get him out of it.

Week 13 I was on vacation and couldn't get an idea to jell in my head. I gave up and walked away empty-handed.

Week 14's story was something I'd been mulling over for a while, and finally committed to words.  I'm relatively happy with how it turned out.

Week 15 seemed like a very easy one to write, and most of the story went together quickly.  Then I "hit the wall" and needed to sleep.  I kept trying to make it work and just couldn't.  Once more I walked away from it.  I am not happy about that.

Week 16's story came from "opening line practice" I did a couple of years ago.  I wrote a variation of the opening line of that story, but didn't know what the rest of the story looked like.  I wrote it in about five hours, minus time to eat dinner and a snack.  I like the opening and ending, and some of the sensory detail in the middle, but I'm not sure I like it as a whole.

Having to walk away from three of the last five weeks without a finished story concerns me.  As Austin Kleon discusses in his book Steal Like an Artist, part of the raw material from which stories come is the reading, television watching, and life experience we absorb between artistic endeavors.  I don't think I've been feeding the "inner artist" much lately.  I've done very little reading, compared to my normal volume.  The only really new (to me) thing I've watched was the Hobbit movie trilogy.  Life experience?  There's been some of that, but I don't know how much of it will find its way to the page.

In all my reading and seminar work on writing, I've heard that when you get stuck as I did in Weeks 12 and 15, you should scroll back about 5-10% of the story.  Find out where it went "off the rails" and start over from there, putting the "old" text somewhere in case you decide you need it.  I had forgotten that advice but may need to put it into practice soon.  I'll feel better when I get Weeks 12, 13, and 15 completed.

About the Author

Michael Salsbury / Author & Editor

In his day job, Michael Salsbury helps administer over 1,800 Windows desktop computers for a Central Ohio non-profit. When he's not working, he's writing, blogging, podcasting, home brewing, or playing "warm furniture" to his two Bengal cats.


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