A productive day on the short story today; I finally, after days of false starts, feel like I'm getting somewhere. (Did I mention I think outlining in advance is much more efficient? I did, didn't I? Although, to be fair to my poor beleaguered brain, this story is not entirely without (my kind of) outline. I know the characters, and their motivations, and I know the arc of the story. It just wasn't flowing.)
I've hit the end of the first third, and this is the dangerous time. This is the time when the world-building starts to reinforce itself and remind me I need to actually include it in the story, not just in my head. The characters start doing things which remind me I haven't foreshadowed that particular motivation yet, oops. The plot starts to hang on a few threads I'd meant to set up, honestly, I knew I meant to, I just got sidetracked.
Do you see the danger? This is the point in the story when I want to go back and start revising. And I am not allowed to, on pain of
never finishing a story death.
This is the point where I start racing, wanting to get to the end so I can revise, and simultaneously I start toying with the idea of just tweaking this paragraph, just this section, just this whole manuscript so far. Because I hate the idea of the start of the story being broken, and not matching the ending, and what if I do forget the changes I need to incorporate, even though I've just taken the time to write myself a copious note in the margin?1 I've even toyed with the idea of letting myself write two drafts of this story simultaneously, writing the first draft and then, as a reward once I'd hit the day's quota, opening a fresh copy and revising as I go.2
Also, I am really, really tempted to name this story after the lyrics in a Cyndi Lauper song. That would be wrong, wouldn't it? It could also be expensive, which would definitely make it wrong.3
- This is not entirely an irrational fear. I've written myself some very strange notes in the margin in my time. I swear I thought they all made sense at the time, but that does not always mean they make sense on the second pass. At least short stories generally have less time between passes, so there's more chance I'll remember. [↩]
- Writers really is nuts. Who would think that's a reward? [↩]
- But I still wanna. [↩]