09 November 2011

A funny thing happened on the way to my short story

Monday was a good day for me in terms of getting some writing done. The problem was I got inspired to write a short story instead of working on a 5,000 to 30,000 story I need to have written and polished by December 15th.

I did average about 1,000 words an hour and got the rough draft of the story done. The beginning needs a little work. I also have to make sure the foreshadowing in the story works as well as it seemed to as I was speeding along on Monday. I love the way the second half of the 5,000 words turned out..... it's just the first half that is giving me doubts.

The problem was research. Getting inspired late Sunday night as I was dozing off to having a finished draft 24 hours later didn't give me time to do proper research. I'll clean it up as well as I can this week. Hopefully at some point in the future I can interview someone with firsthand knowledge of some of the settings of the story to make it better.

A quick synopsis: A junior congressman gets assigned to the Ways and Means Committee and eventually uncovers a conspiracy. It has a good amount of action. I also personally like the climax and ending of the story.

If I can get it in really good shape I may even try to get it published. Failing that I'll be sure to post it to this blog - or at least post a link to wherever I end up uploading the story.

The Strange Thing About Inspiration
I wasn't planning on writing a short story. As I've said I have another writing project I have to finish over the next month. It's just the idea was so interesting to me and pieces seemed to fall into place I had to write it.

Some authors are asked where they get their ideas. I don't have a shoe box under my bed where I keep them. You just have to learn to recognize the idea for what it is and be willing to experiment.

The story I've finished does have a little bit more behind it. A friend of mine posted something on his Facebook page about some of the things he was planning to read. He mentioned a story by one of my favorite authors. I went to my self and pulled that book and then remembered there were other short stories in it.

I spent the night reading one of them. It was very creative and very well done. It got my mind wandering in some strange directions. Thrown into the mix was an odd concept from a Green Lantern comic I never read from 1985.

The quick bit of research I managed gave me some locations, ideas for interesting situations, and even the name for a supporting character. That same research forced me to change other things about the story. The main character is now from Colorado instead of Arizona.

Other bits came from writing dialog for the characters. You may have something planned when you start a scene but when the characters start talking and interacting with each other you realize something else should happen instead. It may sound silly, but when you are typing away at full speed you don't have time to plan out the dialog and consider the possible responses; your instinct takes over and your characters almost write themselves.

It's tough to get into that zone sometimes, but the results are usually very interesting. Typing away at a scene and not knowing how its going to end until your fingers stop clicking away on the keyboard.

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