My Thoughts on:
Thoughts on Writing Short Fiction
The ideas expressed in this post are not intended as a lesson plan for writing an erotic story. (Surely there are too damn many of those already on the Internet.) I present here, thoughts and ideas that seem to work for me. Keep in mind that I’m learning constantly; therefore, my views on writing change with each story I write.
Getting an Idea:
I believe in solving a problem by working from the whole to the parts. In other words, if I can see the whole, I can find how all the parts must fit together. On the other hand, starting from the parts and working toward the whole, screws up my mind.
So, when an idea comes to me, it starts as what I call a ‘seed’. The ‘seed’ has everything needed for a story, and I let it germinate in my mind for an hour, a day, a week or longer. I’m not much of a note-taker, so before I ever write a word, the idea has developed in my mind pretty much whole. The exact conclusion may be there or not, but the steps along the way to that conclusion are inherent in the idea. For example, the story I’m currently writing ("The Three of Us") developed this way:
Two men one woman. What if a man shared an apartment with a man and his wife. I let the Seed germinate for about 15 minutes one evening before going to sleep and came up with the idea.
A woman is sleeping with one man, but is in love with both roommates. She becomes obsessed with setting up a poly-amorous relationship with them. The two men are best friends and are staunchly loyal to each other (conflict). The conclusion is obvious—the woman will be successful. The events leading to that conclusion, aren’t obvious, but there are a finite number of events that could be written to end up with her being successful.
I’m a Plodder not a Plotter:
I plan my stories, but not in great detail. It’s done mostly in my head. Sometimes I’ll write a brief synopsis. I believe stories evolve. I write because I enjoy the process. I like playing with words. I like seeing how things turn out. I like the surprises that come while writing story.
When I start writing, I need to know something about the setting, the characters, and the general direction the story will travel. I don’t necessarily need to know where it will end. Even though my stories are complete in my mind when I begin, the events that happen along the way change as the characters interact.
For instance, The Basement plan looked much like this:
A hurricane is arriving.
A woman living alone must prepare for the storm.
While the storm is raging, a man knocks on her door.
That’s it. The rest evolved as it was written.
I’m well aware that many writers have a complete outline of chapters and scenes before they start writing. I’ve tried that technique more times than I like to remember. It just flat doesn’t work for me. My attempts are all in my Discard Folder or in my Unfinished Folder. Both of those folders are much thicker that my Finished folder.