Friday, January 18, 2013

Winning the Creative Battle


We're nineteen days into January, and I've finally hitting my stride. I've also come to my senses - and I mean that in a writerly way.

I've been creatively battling a short story since last year. I know that sounds ridiculous. It's short story, after all, not a full blown novel. It should be easy, right?

The story itself is going to be part of a collection, and while I truly love some aspects of the story (namely two characters), I've edited the entire tale three or four times and it's just not what I invisioned. In fact, I hate the way it has turned out. That's why I keep going through it, picking and tweaking. I keep trying to turn it into something I'll love, and it's just not happening.

On Wednesday, I finally laid the story out in front of me and took a good long look at it. Technically, it's fine.  It works for a fantasy piece. However, I realized that I'm never going to love this story. Why? Because this is not the story I wanted to tell with these characters. In fact, out of the entire nine thousand word piece, I like two scenes. That's it. And I find that totally unacceptable.

Since then, I've stopped trying to beat this story into submission. There's nothing in there to care about but two core scenes and two interesting people. The rest is filler. It's garbage. The entire thing needs an overhaul, and rather than re-edit a story that isn't working, I marked what I liked on the document then put the entire thing into a scrap/scavenger file on my desktop.

I've started fresh. I'm rebuilding the story in a different way, starting with the characters I actually like. The two core scenes I kept will factor in a little later into the piece, but those are the only pieces I'll be reusing from the old file. I'm trashing the rest. Yes. I'm throwing out all the other pieces. Why would I do that? Because the scenes I don't find interesting have no business existing in my manuscript.

Let me say that again. "I, Cora, solemnly swear I will not put scenes in my manuscript that I don't find personally interesting." 

It sounds like such a simple thing, am I right?

Regarding that short story, I'm back to square one, but I'm confident that I finally have it going in the right direction, which can only mean good things for my sanity. What a way to orient oneself, eh?

Tomorrow I'm off to the bookstore to meet up with another writer. We're probably going to browse, chat, and have tea. Immediately afterward, I'm going to join in on the last half of hubby's steampunk gathering over at Antique Alley. :o)

Next week, I'll be blogging about self-publishing. Recently, several people have asked me about my experiences, so I'll be sharing what I know. Tips, books, links, and any other bits and bobs I can remember to toss in there. I hope you'll drop by to join in the discussion. Until then, I hope you have a happy weekend!

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