Friday, May 2, 2008

Finding the story idea

One day I had some time to kill so I sat down to write. About what? I didn't have a clue. I think sometimes I become paralyzed by the thought of writing junk, or simply nonsense. The fear of choosing the wrong words, tense, theme, plot, and characters kept me planning, jotting only notes about the story I wanted to write.

But on this day many years ago, I was not that organized. I just wanted to create. So I typed the first sentence. Then a paragraph. Before I knew it I had a whole chapter. I still didn't know where it was going, but that added to the excitement. As I plowed forward through the eyes of the main character, every turn surprised me, every twist delighted me.

After finishing the fourth chapter of this short story, I still did not know the future of the story, but I was enjoying the ride. The result, as it became clear to me after some time passed, was a highly flawed partial short story. It could have ended there. For many, that is exactly the point where it does end. But I recognized a fairly obvious truth. Writing well is a goal that is not achieved in one pass of creative fervor. It is much more.

The other lesson I learned was that sometimes the best way to find a story idea is to write. I believe that if I had not been willing to throw out as much or more of my writing than I kept, I may not have explored with reckless abandon.

I know we see places, people, and things that give inspiration every day, but for me, it was the willingness to fail, and fail big, that was my breakthrough. It allowed me to start my journey. Next week, I will talk about how I got started turning this partial story into a novel.

Until then, lets all keep writing.

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