I've been writing a short story, my first new story since Clarion, and it's been kicking my butt. About 6100 words first draft, and finished it the other night. I hate it.
I have come the the conclusion that I have no clue about how to write. About how to tell a story, how to convey an idea or a feeling, how to create convincing and intriguing characters, how to entertain the reader, so that they put the story down at the end thinking, "Damn, that was cool."
I am but an egg.
I've heard, at Clarion and elsewhere, that writers early in their career have deliberately dissected, line for line, scene for scene, the works of older, established writers, to figure out how they did it. How long should sentences be in describing a fight scene? How many words should there be in the denouement to a 6000 word story? How many scenes do you need before you get to your climax? How many are too many? How many are too few? Etc. It's said that Connie Willis did this to Ray Bradbury, and Bradbury did it to Theodore Sturgeon. I've been meaning for a while to do it to a couple of stories I admire, and it's going to be my next personal project, before starting to write another story.
What this kind of exercise can't teach you is creativity. It can't give you ideas, scenes, characters, incidents, plots, the atomic matter of fiction. What I'm hoping it can help with is in putting it together into a story.
No, I'm not going to post the results. This kind of thing is very personal. What, if anything, I learn from it may not be what you would learn from it. I also suspect that much of the value in such an exercise is in doing it, not reading about it.
I note that Trent Hergenrader, one of my Clarion posse, seems to be doing something similar.
Please welcome a new kitten to my household. Name: JustTellMeADamnedStory. Nickname: Story. Age: about 7 weeks. Cuteness factor: she releases such waves of cuteons that local scientific instruments are overwhelmed, and teams of physicists trying to detect residual cuteons from the Big Bang have thrown up their hands in despair.
JTMADS was one of Jeff Ford's lines at Clarion.
== shomei == (noun which takes suru to act as a verb)
|Top radical is 'net'. Bottom radical is 'person' (者). This character originally referred to individuals responsible to putting nets in place during the hunting of game. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Person netted, signs up for government offices.'|