Saturday, May 16, 2015

Dry Run: Update 4

One of the writing challenges I've encountered over the last few years (besides the many I have already talked about on my blog and podcasts, such as never finishing what I've started, being afraid/unwilling to share my work with others, and tending to write about the same things over and over again) is the tendency of my stories to spiral out of control, getting longer and longer and longer, until what I initially intended to write about is buried in an avalanche of words.

Now, it may be that that's what creativity is--intending to write about one thing and getting diverted by the muse into a number of unplanned sidetracks and subplots.  But I worry that's what an undisciplined writer does, or somebody who doesn't know what he's doing.

For example, in "Popcorn Movies," I wanted to write about artificial nostalgia, and ended up writing about second chances, feelings of worthlessness, the movie business, the American dream, addiction, and the choice between getting what you want for the wrong reasons or getting nothing for the right ones.  I don't think that any of those subjects got the attention and exploration that they needed, and I pretty consistently worry that that story just isn't very good.*

In this one, my dry run (which I forget I've already started calling "Into the Furnace"), it began with the idea of "What if a Western sheriff encountered _____?"**  But I've been writing on it for weeks now, and I feel like I'm at least at the halfway point, and so far, it's been about grief and second chances, a bit of mystery, and what I fear will be more of a ripoff of JAWS than a homage to it.

But like I said with the Kathy Bates beginning the other day, I'm determined to write what I want to write, and I will keep on forging through, hopefully all the way to the end.  Going into the writing, I didn't have any clue how to let the good guy win, but I decided just to start the story and hope it came to me.  Now that I'm a page away from the protagonist actually meeting the antagonist face to face, I still don't know how the good guy can win.  I hope that inspiration strikes and that it feels earned and organic, but I have very little problem with deus ex machina, and if I can find a good one of those, I will be happy to go for it.

Now, let's take a look at our word count.

That's considerably better than last time, wouldn't you say? Part of the reason is that I went to my friend Jeff's with my new laptop the other day, and he had a conference call he had to take, so I just sat and wrote (actually typing the damned thing) the whole time he was gone. If I could somehow force myself to do that every time I do my writing, I suspect I'd be nearly done by now.

Talk to you soon.

Rish Outfield

*Which is probably why, even though I finished it over two years ago, it still sits, unread by any human eyes, or unheard by any human ears.  Sigh with me, kids.

**A note I jotted on a piece of paper and showed to Big at a convention, which he mentioned this week he still remembered.  Though he didn't clarify whether he thought it was a good idea or bad.

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