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What's this? Another serial?

kelkyag , not the only one to tease me that I still haven’t finished the series of stories that started with Feather-Blessed, asked: “How many serials do you want to have running at the same time?”

My plan was to do one. Fireborn. And really, one serial while doing other writing for publication is enough.

But then I found #FridayFlash, which stretches me in a different way. And part of me is still amazed that I can write whole stories (or at least enough of a story to be satisfying) in less than 1000 words.

So, why am I now (apparently) writing another serial?

The thing is, when I sit down to write, something mysterious happens. The words I put down are (mostly) simply not there until I start. Then, on good days, they just flow, each one shaped by the rest. And by other things, most of which are completely outside my focus-of-the-moment.

Fog and Lembas,
for instance, was written in one sitting, as was Deep Dreams. Sure, I polished them a bit, afterward. But neither needed much. (I wish I could always do that. There’s other pieces I’ve spent a lot more time on, that aren’t as good.)

In both stories, I had no idea what I would be writing until I started. Consciously, anyway. I picked a name for a character and made the character do something, and kept going. Now, there’s all sorts of things I think about consciously as I go, once I have at least one character in a situation. But that starting point is mysterious to me, even though I can predictably start a story. Event though, frequently, I can’t predict what it will be about.

And 1000 words is so short! For me, anyway, this length emphasizes that there’s a multitude of stories to tell about any one character or setting.

But I was talking about the creative process, and writing serials. And a significant part of that is you. Your comments help me to know what’s working. And even better—sometimes they make me think. Long comments, comments like tigertoy made on the first of these feather stories, inform my thoughts about that story—and about subsequent stories too.

Feather-Blessed started similarly, with my commitment to write stories for #fridayflash, and no story written yet. No particular idea ready for writing in my conscious mind. So I made up a character, and gave her action—speaking to her friend, which then required another character. And suddenly, I had a backdrop, and characters, and a situation, things to work on using all the various storytelling skills that I’ve worked to acquire. And I wrote, and polished, and read it aloud, and posted it.

I didn’t plan a serial.

But then you commented, and asked questions, inspiring me with both your words and your pocketbooks. And I thank you for both.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 7th, 2010 03:09 am (UTC)
I'm glad I can help. I always seem to have lots of ideas in my head that I have great difficulty squeezing out through the tiny channel of writing words. Even writing a comment on someone else's post is often a struggle for me. Now and then I do get that feeling of words flowing out easily, but usually I can't get myself to start, or if I do start, I stumble and give up. If my writing comments for you helps to keep you going, that's great. And maybe my throwing out little bits of ideas for you will help in a small way to get my own creative channels unclogged.
Mar. 7th, 2010 04:14 am (UTC)
Written words are only a tiny channel if you think of them one at a time. You can use as many as you want, and they're powerful enough to hold all the universes anyone has ever imagined.

I do appreciate your thoughts, and am glad when you take the time to comment.

I stumble too, you know. The trick is not to give up, to keep going, no matter how many times you stumble. And with the written word, you can fix as many of your stumbles as you notice, before everyone else notices them. Unlike stumbles when performing music!

Good luck!
Mar. 7th, 2010 10:33 am (UTC)
Thank you! That's fascinating. I would have guessed it would be easier to write a short, fast piece about characters you already "knew" than one that didn't exist until you touched pen to paper.

there’s a multitude of stories to tell about any one character or setting

How could there not be? :)
Mar. 7th, 2010 06:52 pm (UTC)
I don't know that it's easier or harder, but it's definitely different.

For a short one-off, the characters, the magic (or gadgets), the place they're in--all can be whoever and whatever will make the best story. But you have to make up all of it, and give enough details to satisfy the reader.

For a longer story, or a sequel, you have to be sure you have all the details that you've already established in mind, and stay consistent. You need to find the best story for these characters, in this setting.

And as to the multitude of stories, that's always something I knew instinctively as a reader, but seeing it from a writer's perspective is ... different. There's so many things to think about as a writer, and different types of stories need different approaches to work.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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