Thursday, May 21, 2009

Allowing a Story Idea to Develop

“Now some people when they sit down to write and nothing special comes, no good ideas, are so frightened that they drink a lot of strong coffee to hurry them up, or smoke packages of cigarettes, or take drugs or get drunk. They do not know that good ideas come slowly, and that the more clear, tranquil, and unstimulated you are, the slower the ideas come, but the better they are.” – Brenda Ueland in If You Want to Write.
I'm beginning to get this. I used to write my short short stories in one or two days, then send them for critique. I made myself wait at least a week – writing other pieces in the meantime – before spending maybe an hour rewriting the stories based on the comments I received and submitting them for publication.

Now I may think about a story for a week before writing anything. I don't know if it's because the initial ideas are more complex, or too vague, or maybe the character is wrong and that's why I can't write the story. I wrote two versions of the current story I'm working on, but didn't like either. Late last night, when I should have been asleep, I decided the setting was wrong. After I finish this, I'll start over with the new setting and see where the story takes me.


Loren Christie said...

Hi Jim, I started to rewrite that story you helped me with. It still needs work. I can relate to the process of developing a story that you describe here.

Jim Harrington said...

Sometimes you have to wait for the real story to show itself.