Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A New Story

I've just finished a new story. It's not a flash piece, which can almost write itself in one sitting. This is a story of two thousand or so words. It was slow in emerging, I wrote it in 500-word instalments, weeks going by in between, because I didn't know what the story was and I didn't want to push it. I let go into the uncertainty and waited until it came, until it was ready. And it was a joy, letting myself be guided by the process, not worrying about how it would end, how it might sound, whether the characters were working. I was inside it and enjoying it, loving the newness of my characters, and loving the glimpse I was getting of their lives.

I started the story twice. The first time I wrote 1500 words but didn't feel I was getting even near the action. I was telling the story in the first person, as theMain Character, now an adult, looked back on her childhood. It didn't work for me.

So I waited. And then it came to me, and I started again. In the third person, and in the present tense, right in the middle of the action. This time it worked.

I want to stress that "finished" doesn't mean it's ready for anything. All it means in this context is that I know I have come to the end of the story. Now I have my first draft. The creative part is over. Now the hard slog begins: the stepping back and trying to read it as if it wasn't mine, without a deep and abiding love for my main character. I have help in this endeavour: my invaluable and generous writing groups. I am looking forward to getting it out there and letting them pull it to pieces. Bring it on!

I am calm. This is my meditation. I forget this, and when a week or so goes by and I haven't written, I am crabby, I snap at J, my insides are tense. Why don't I just do what I know I need to do? Ah well. Maybe because when it comes it is even greater for the build-up.

PS got two rejections tonight, adding to two non-placings in competitions this week. But somehow I am not devastated. Maybe because I finished a story today. I guess when you know you can keep doing it, it makes everything feel a little better. For now, at least.


Mrs. Chambers said...

Hi, Tania-

No, don't be discouraged. Because really, you are still producing stories and the most important part is accomplished: that you enjoyed the process!

And I'm sure more acceptances will come...


Jan said...

It's fascinating reading how other people "approach" their story. They can be tentative, bullatagate...we're all SO different.
And the lady above is so right re it's essentially about ENJOYING...