clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Thinking Clearly

I stuck with a story last night. I stayed in the chair. I ground for a bit then I actually began to write.

What I learned:

The story was about what I thought it would be about (yeaaaaa...Muppet Wave).

It didn't come about the way I thought it would.

Aimee Bender has a talk over at the Tin House podcasts (here) with Steve Almond where she suggests removing all those bits from a story that you didn't think worked. The awkward language: out. The poor transition dialogue: out. The non-contributing descriptions: out. Bits that just seem awkward or never quite work: out. She suggests the actual story is hidden under this overburden of slush.

I did this in a re-write. I used the rough as a full-text outline of what I thought was the story. After all, I had gotten through it and had the interactions worked out. That was something.

I dropped the machinations and forced elements I had used to drive "the plot" and what I found at the end was that the stripped story was much better. I'm actually proud of it.

 The connection between two lonely characters is the story. It's on my page. I'm so happy about it.

I'm so happy I found Aimee Bender's encouragement.

Her suggestion produced a clarity for me that I haven't been able to achieve with this particular story all through the month of January.

I'll probably never meet her; but, she delivered a huge payload of confidence for me tonight. I owe her and  I'm grateful.

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