So in the last blog post, I talked about planning a story for January. In this blog post, I’m going to talk about drafting (aka writing) a story. The story that I’m writing for January 2018 is Project Skye (the short story).
Short Story as Character Sketch
I’m writing this story as a way to examine Skye’s character. I was tasked to come up with a character sketch for Skye by the MTSU Writing Center as I struggled to try to create a novel this past semester. I struggled to do the character sketch because all my choices seemed arbitrary. So, I decided to write a story which puts Skye into jeopardy to see how she would react–to reveal her character through action.
Not as Easy as it Sounds
This sounds easy–I wrote a brief one sentence outline of everything that I wanted in the story. I wrote a beginning, middle, and end for the story. I wrote a 1 sentence brief outline of the scenes (3 scenes) in the beginning, middle, and end. I’m about halfway done, but I’m having problems working on it because 1) I now realize the setting actually needs to be changed (this is happening in their aircraft when it should be in “hovercars,” 2) this was to be a “prologue” event to show how they know each other (there needs to be a different prologue event and this needs to happen later in the novel’s timeline), and 3) The first section is waaaayyyy longer than I’d intended it to be (by about double–I feel like I need that length, but it is making the rest of the story unbalanced by comparison). Basically, I can see all the flaws that I want to go back and fix (i.e., start over). I’m going to try to trudge to the end, but when I’m not happy with the results of my writing, it is very difficult to finish.
Knowing When its “Right”
When HawkeMoon was “finished,” I knew that it was “right.” The same is true with Silence Will Fall (although I knew at the time that I’d written away from the ending I had in mind–so that’s why I had to rewrite the ending last year–to bring it more in line with the original ending that I’d dreamed about with that story). However, I’m not even finished with Project Skye and I know it isn’t right. I’m going to need at least one more draft to get it where I think it needs to be. That is the hardest part of drafting for me–having to keep going even when I know that the draft is lacking because I want to fix it immediately. I think, because I just dove into the project, without doing what I normally do (i.e., writing a draft that is just for me–my own personal “telling” myself the story, I don’t think that I have the action as firmly in place as I should).
As I go throughout this year, planning stories, the end goal needs to be: sometime during the last week of the month I need to write out a Rough Draft in which I “Tell, Don’t Show.” This draft is For My Eyes Only and will aid me when the time comes to turn my story into a draft for the audience where I then “Show, Don’t Tell.” If I don’t do a “Rough Draft,” then I’m going to have to spend even more time “fixing it” with another draft later on down the line.