Life mirrors art …

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Writing and Publishing

I wrote a short story last week, for the first time in a very long time. I’ve been editing old material, polishing novels, and even started a new novel, but this was a brand new idea with brand new characters, and the process was … exhilarating. I had forgotten what an addiction this can be.

When I write a novel, I usually know the general direction I’m going before I start. True, I usually wind up changing everything about five chapters in, and I often don’t find the theme of the work till I’m two-thirds of the way though, but at least I know the general course of the action and who the main characters are.

With this one, I sat down with only a concept of the place and the time shifts that go on there, and even that was fuzzy. I picked a character with whom I could identify, and then I picked another one to tell the story, and I employed my favorite technique: I let them talk to each other. (If you have never seen the play, “Six Characters in Search of an Author,” you really should.)

Then, like places in the story, things began to shift. I thought thia was going to be about her, and it turned out to be about him. He collects data on a phenomenon, but he’s become intrigued with things that shouldn’t affect the outcome, and at the end of the story it all clicks into place for him. Which is exactly what happened to me as I was writing the story. I felt like the guy in Close Encounters: “This means something.” But I honestly did not know what it was until I got there and the words came out on the page. And, click: there it was, the point of the whole story.

The subconscious mind is an amazing thing…


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