That’s Right

July 11, 2011

I did it. I took me nearly 3 weeks, but I did it.

I finally got another short story written and finished. I even felt good enough about it that I could show all of you.

I would love to hear any comments you may have about it. And just in case you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can find that short story right here.

Here’s a little check-up on how my writing has taken shape during this project:

1. I started using dashes (-) quite a bit more. I think they help a reader see a sudden stop of thought or dialogue. It’s mostly there for effect, with no real literary use behind it. Also, I’m still not sure what the “rules” are for this, but I’m using them how I feel is appropriate.

I don’t think I used them so much that they are aggravating for a reader but if they ever become overused or used inappropriately I’m sure you’ll let me know.

2. I think, for a long time, I haven’t been as cautious on checking my spelling as I should be. I’ve just trusted this odd word processor of sorts that WordPress gives you, which is questionable at times. So I decided that I should look at words twice even if there is no red squiggly line. (squiggly was one of those I had to check, BTW).

I soon found out that I’ve been misspelling the words “minute” and “definitely” for quite some time.

How embarassing!

Unless, of course, they went unnoticed. Then huzzah for me because I pulled one over on you.

Actually, I think these words are commonly misspelled. So I don’t feel too embarrassed.

(Actually, it’s your job, internet people, to identify those mistakes and troll me for it. So you’ve just missed out on your opportunity!)

(Still, I’m sure you’ll find plenty of other opportunities.)

3. I tried thinking of a story before I thought of any characters. And that panned out pretty well. I think my problem with the clown story was that I was too concerned with trying to make an interesting character. That prevented me from focusing on an important story.

Now, I know some of you who have written longer pieces of work will want to remind me that characters need to be very deeply written. This allows the reader to experience things that relate to them in understandable ways. It also makes a simple story much more entertaining. And I agree with these ideas.

Well, I agree with a catch. For longer forms of writing this may be true, but short stories don’t really lend themselves for character development on a very deep scale. (I could be wrong in this.) Short stories really need to grab a reader’s attention early, and have an interesting story that will carry for the moment. And the moment is all you really have. Short stories that take place over multiple settings and multiple times seems like it would be too hard to achieve using only 2000 words or so.

Maybe I’m looking at this a weird way. Let’s shift focus, shall we?

What if my short stories aren’t really short stories at all. What if they are the first chapter of a book?

Now, I feel comfortable saying that I am setting up characters for potential change, but I’m not changing how they think and feel. I’m introducing them and then I’m setting them loose on the world that wrought them. Usually, I’m just presenting them with a problem and they begin a process of trying to figure it, which is what I consider entertaining.

So, maybe my short stories are really nothing more than beginning chapters for books. They usually introduce characters, present a problem, and allow for life changing things to happen.

The whole messy ball of fun gets rolling, if you will.

And I’m okay with that.

4. I’m not very good at “forcing” stories out. You can tell this when I don’t post a story, nearly 3 days after I said I would release a story. I wasn’t so busy that there was no way I could write a story. I just didn’t know what the story was going to be about. Somehow, though, I managed to think of a (somewhat) entertaining story two nights ago. I immediately began writing.

What resulted was a story that I felt was fairly original (now watch me find out Stephen King wrote this exact same story 30 years ago.) I’m pretty happy with the outcome. And I think it just happened. I didn’t even plan to write this story.

As a matter of fact, a week before writing this story, I wrote the beginning to another story about a wily cowboyish sheriff that is investigating a domestic dispute. (Of course the couple were aliens and the story took place on some colony planet). Still, I was planning on writing that story, and yet it fizzled and this one just popped into my brain.

Maybe I’ll get around to finishing that story one day…

5. I didn’t take very long on this story. This meets one of the goals that I set in place a while ago.

And considering the time that it took me to write this (about 4 hours honestly), that’s much shorter of a time period than I used to write most of my other stories. Plus this one was 1600 words long, which I feel is about the right length for short stories. (At least stories that are actually going to get read on the internet.)

Wait a second. If this story took me 4 hours to type, edit, and mix, then that works out to 6.6 words per minute. Oh boy…

Well, I guess I’m not considering thinking time…

I am a thinker…

Still, that’s not a lot of writing in such an amount of time. I would like to shave this down further.

6. Humor. I guess it was there, but I wasn’t trying to bash you over the head with it.

I wasn’t trying to write a “funny” story for one. I was just trying to write something, and some parts just lent themselves to being funny. I’m not sure if that’s an improvement or not, but that’s how I feel at least. I think I tried focusing on the story, but still had my opportunities to show humor.

So, yeah, there you go. I actually got something good done. I feel better about myself now. I feel – stronger – kind of.

Well, more experienced at least.

I’m always looking for tips and advice, so if you’ve got it, feel free to drop a comment here after you read and review my short story.




5 Responses to “That’s Right”

  1. joem18b Says:

    well, i’m interested. i’ll read your story and report back.

    if i don’t report back, please don’t worry about me. sure, maybe something bad happened to me, but maybe i just forgot. but if that happens, please don’t be mad at me, just write and remind me.

    but i probably won’t forget. which means if you don’t hear from me, something bad probably did happen. but let’s hope i just forgot.

  2. joem18b Says:

    Hi, D.A.

    I read your story and I’m reporting back. I enjoyed it. Well done. Keep it up.

  3. I didn’t read the story yet, but am planning to.

    Dashes, though – I love dashes. I don’t know how they’re really supposed to be used – but I use them whenever the heck I feel like it – often in place of commas. :)

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