Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Don't Stop Now

“If you write a hundred short stories and they’re all bad, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. You fail only if you stop writing.” -- Ray Bradbury in The Writer’s Digest Guide to Good Writing.
I’m glad I’m not the only one who writes bad stories. I have a few in a Dead Stories folder. They all started as brilliant ideas. Okay, not all of them.

Where Do I Get My Story Ideas?

Sometimes I start with a setting (a girl sitting on bleachers watching a man and boy kicking a soccer ball), or a character (a bag lady who sees something strange), or anything else that grabs my interest (a phrase from a commercial) and write to see what happens. The idea for my current story appeared as an ending. My first published story, Yesterday’s Promise, came from a title prompt I found online. I thought about what promises people made and decided to write about a man who promised his wife he’d go on a diet. He struggled to keep his promise because of his craving for ice cream (sound familiar?). In the end...well, you can read the end to find out what happened. Some bad stories find new life after a couple of rewrites. I resurrected a couple from the dead pile over the summer and managed to get them published. So even the bad stories can turn out good. The key, of course, is to keep writing.

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