Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Story a Day in May Debriefing

It's May, so I've done Story a Day in May again. As usual, it's been a fun and enlightening project, and I've probably gotten at least a couple of small, saleable stories out of it.

I actually started out quite poorly. I've been transitioning some work stuff, and while I was writing every day, the stories were all turning out too long to finish in a single day. Stuff I liked, mind you, but I wasn't hitting my numbers. So I backed away from the nice ideas that I was taking several thousand words to explore fully and instead I picked a single theme that interested me (in this case Superheroes) and resolved to write a load of little flash pieces about it, which worked fantastically. Planning to do more than one story on the subject eased up the pressure to make sure I was covering everything in each piece, so I could be more focused. Working in a subgenre with very clear rules and conventions gave a nice iceberg effect where I only had to show the 10% above water and the reader could collude in the other 90%. And it doesn't hurt that the subgenre is, by its very nature, picaresque (look at me, using grown up writer words!). Detective fiction probably would have worked well for this too.

Also, there was a point at which I typed the words “the office building was over-run by inter-dimensional werewolves,” and I stopped and sat back in awe of the revelation that I really could write ANYTHING. Anything at all. No matter how silly or irrelevant. It didn't have to make any damn sense whatever. I was completely free. It was awesome.

(It might seem to the casual observer like this was something I already knew or believed, which is true as well as not. One can certainly believe something full and still be surprised when confronted with the profound truth of an already held conviction.)

Anyway, I had a great time, and that's really the most important thing I get out of Mays. Sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in craft and seriousness that one can forget what riotous fun a good bit of writing can be.  

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