On Writing Stories

The magic of writing or telling stories is that one doesn’t always know how the stories are going to end up. A drama could suddenly become a thriller, a western could morph in sci-fi, a procedural could be entwined with a romance. Characters are also unpredictable. Many have lives of their own and just sort of take off. Some authors I supposed wrangle them into fitting into a neat and orderly outline or a textbook journey of the hero, but for me it’s fun to see where they take me. Sometimes I do make outlines, but more often than not completely forget about them. That is probably a horrible way to write that one would never teach in creative writing, but I enjoy it. I enjoy keeping what outline there may be simply in my head and imagination, replaying possibilities over and over in my head until they finally turn out on paper.

A big tragedy for me is coming up with an excellent title. Often I have a title first and then think of the story later. Once I wrote what was going to be sprawling epic fantasy and hadn’t ironed out the title first. Because I couldn’t come up with a good enough title, I just wasn’t truly into finishing the story after awhile, no matter how awesome it–maybe–was. Likewise, my heart almost breaks when I can’t think of a story to go along with a great title.

Some writers can write all day, or at least every day from nine to five. Not me. I find I write best in sprints of 500-1,000 words and after that mark is hit it’s as if my writing spirit is exhausted. Continual practice helps, but I practice writing in odd times, often if I’m almost too busy, and then often when I finally have a good break to think and meditate. A truly jam-packed schedule is a definite deterrent, but so is too many empty hours of free time. It’s horrible how stories call to me at the most inopportune times and yet I love it. I love how the characters and scenes crowd into my head and I really start to envision them as if, yes, this is something I could actually write down.

Right now I am working on Trolls for Dust, Season Three and also an intriguing short story, the plot of which is a bit tricky, but interesting. With NaNoWriMo coming soon, it’s a good time to push myself with writing and really see if I can produce more. Cold weather is helpful for being productive. It also makes me want to hibernate, but that’s entirely due to the amazing invention of indoor heating, of hot drinks that go so well with sugar, and binge-worthy stories that my fellow wonderful writers continually create. The coziness equals couch hibernation.

Speaking of binge-worthy stories: I am enjoying Elantris by Brandon Sanderson, and also the kdramas Yumi’s Cells and Kairos. And, who is looking forward to Dune coming out soon? Me, me, me!

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