Routines are good. I’m back on mine, thanks to my spiffy little recycled paper notebook. I’ve been receiving crits back and critiquing for other writers this week, and I think I’ve hit another realization/glimpse into my own writing. Setting has always been a character for me, and in these two stories I was focusing on voice and other things that I didn’t give setting the attention it needed for the story. In one, I had a thought in my mind that it was “just a valley” so of course it came across that way in my writing. In the other, I had a lot of learning to do about a very specific environment. The information hasn’t been easy to find (I really need a library afternoon), and that also has come across in the story. But in both of those stories, are unique voices, or a unique situation. It’s not enough to carry it right now, not for submitting, but I’m working on it.
Some days I feel like I need a checklist for making sure I don’t forget something a story requires.
Truthfully, I’m making strides. I’ll get there. And whle I’m striding along, here’s a little something for you: Routines for Writers
It’s hard to hit every point on that checklist of what a story needs to be great. Characters, setting, plot, drama, comedy… something is bound to be missing. Personally, my stories lack subplots to the point of absurd single-mindedness on the part of some of my characters.
Of course, my strategy is to shrug it off and assume–but only assume (heh)–that it will work out better in my next piece. Forever forward, that’s my motto. One day, perhaps, I’ll turn back and look to see if I’ve made any progress.,
That’s definitely having faith in yourself, when you put it that way. I do feel that each story is better than the last one, but revising it helps me realize what else I have to learn, so keeping up with edits is key for me right now. It’s good. 🙂
There is so much that goes into a story, that bound to be missing is okay. I get a chance to go back and put it in. Much easier than taking stuff O U T.
Thanks for stopping in. 🙂
i totally know what you mean, in terms of a helpful checklist. if it helps, when i’ve taught short stories, i’ve always had my students fill out a simple chart for each story to help them to recall the story for future exams (regents and otherwise.) very simply and modified for use as a writer:
main character(s): (list each and description)
secondary & other character(s): (description/function)
main and secondary conflict(s):
basic plot summary/outline:
happy writing & break a keyboard!
I’ll show you mine if you show me… oh yeah you showed me yours first. 😉 Here goes:
How Character Changes:
Outline of Events:
My method of operations is:
1) think of something, like a seed from which the stories grows
2) research, research, research
3) think really hard of how the plot will come from all that nonsense that came about in steps 1 & 2.
4) write a first draft, taking care to try and get it right the first time, despite the knowledge that that will never happen
5) revise, taking note of what I screwed up the first time through
6) try my damnedest to correct those mistakes, and vow to never make them again
7) submit, get rejected, then become discouraged
8) get a fantastic idea, then set out to write the next story based on the hope (and often, the fact) that it will be better than the previous ones
9) eventually succeed. hopefully.
10) vow to remove some of these steps, ’cause holy crap that’s a lot.
I think it’s hard to decide how to write ‘the perfect story.’ If an writer ever mastered it, I suspect that said writer would become bored with the craft very quickly and give it up. It’s our journey, our striving toward perfection, that keep us going, producing better work.
At least, that’s my theory.
Hi Alex, it’s a good theory, especially #10. 🙂 And in all honesty, at least the stories I’m writing now are actualy complete stories from the getgo. Not too long ago, my first drafts were merely scenes, or thoughts. I guess I just want to climb the ladder faster than I can actually climb at the moment.