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mhelgens View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mhelgens Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2017 at 1:33pm
I wrote a 2400 word first draft and spent the next 8 hours cutting it to 998. 😝 Very painful to kill your darlings, but I think the story is still there.... Which makes me wonder what the hell I was talking about for the other 1400 words.... ? 😂
Read my 1st round story,
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Archon1995 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2017 at 1:55pm
I stayed up for the prompts and had my story idea before I hit the sack. After a day and a half I couldn't in good conscience pare it down to the 1k limit. Too much setting info that had to be there or the reader would be lost.

So I wrote a completely new one starting 4:30pm Sunday. Geh.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote HeatherHaze Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2017 at 3:45pm
Originally posted by Cowyoga Cowyoga wrote:

Originally posted by MattrickBT MattrickBT wrote:

No need to be testy, I'm always curious about the methods of other writers, that's all. I like to talk about the process with writers, not the work. I'm sure you'd find aspects of my approach equally puzzling.


To be clear, I'm not testy or bothered by you even remotely. I'm used to you because you exist everywhere.

Since my process is both misguided and fascinating, I'll lay it out:

I start off by writing the story exactly as it comes to me. If writing a lengthy history of a creek that flows behind my protagonist's house is where it goes, I let it. When I sit down to write each day, I sometimes start with no idea at all. I start writing anyway and somewhere along the way, maybe in a detailed description of the slug damage on my hostas, I find the story. With a themed contest, I've done a bit more planning, but only a bit. I've spent part of a day thinking about the assignment and ruling out the obvious plots and cliches. I know who what where and when. When I start writing, I learn more. Maybe I learn in 942 words that the creek behind my protagonist's house was the same creek her father played in when he was a child. Maybe I learn that my protagonist lives in the kind of small town that still refers to a home as the old Mason place long after the last Mason has passed and the Meyers' have moved in. Maybe I learn that my protagonist walks to school along the creek instead of along the sidewalk because she thinks her dad is just swell and wants to be just like him. In my second draft, third draft, fourteenth draft, final draft? Yea most of that won't make it in. I'll cut that which needs cutting and put it in my graveyard. I won't feel bad for killing it, since nothing stays dead there for long (not unlike the cemetary that sits on the western bank of that creek, I might add.) Eventually, I'll pluck a cut scene or sentence about this now notorious creek and revive it somewhere new, somewhere that it has room to breathe and grow and then I'll give it entire chapters. I'll name the damn thing Sally's Creek and figure out who Sally is later.

Now, let's look at context. I'm not going to die editing this story (unless I'm so confused by revision and my own process, which surely no one would imply, that I don't even notice when that creek floods again and sweeps me away, extraneous details and all.) So with that knowledge, we can surmise that I was in no true peril when I shared that I'd written a 942 word backstory of the creek and would die in service of revising it. We can likely conclude, then, that it was a passing observation of my progress, shared in both jest and solidarity, on a post specifically about the challenges of the word count.

Any other questions will have to wait until tomorrow. I'm tired and now I have to figure out who this Sally is. Just let me know when you decide if you've made a powerful enemy or a hilarious new best friend.

Wanna know the real bitch of all this? My setting is a horse stable. You don't even want to know how many words that thing started off with. Whoo boy.

That was epic.  Please shut off the Internet.  It doesn't get better than that.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tcFlash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2017 at 4:00pm
Originally posted by Archon1995 Archon1995 wrote:

I stayed up for the prompts and had my story idea before I hit the sack. After a day and a half I couldn't in good conscience pare it down to the 1k limit. Too much setting info that had to be there or the reader would be lost.

So I wrote a completely new one starting 4:30pm Sunday. Geh.

I should have done that a couple of years ago with a story I hacked down from 2200 to 1000. At the end it sort of looked like me in a pair of pants that are way too tight. You know, all the tight stretch lines? Not pretty. I should try to come up with a better comparison. For now, that ugly mental image will have to work. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patsy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2017 at 4:19pm
Originally posted by Cowyoga Cowyoga wrote:

  I, for one, have to get back to writing the exquisite details of a stately old oak tree that personifies (somewhat inexplicably, but I'll make it work) the indignity of the standard gynecological exam.

I just came from there. I'm not sure that indignity can be described - at least not to a male. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Cowyoga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2017 at 5:15pm
Originally posted by ASharedNarrative ASharedNarrative wrote:

Originally posted by Cowyoga Cowyoga wrote:

I, for one, have to get back to writing the exquisite details of a stately old oak tree that personifies (somewhat inexplicably, but I'll make it work) the indignity of the standard gynecological exam.


I must read this. Even if you cut it.

Save it and share it.

I must know.

I did something for you. And I did it in second person future tense and gave everything two descriptions because I really wanted to be as pretentious and unnecessary as possible: 

Others will find comfort in the old oak tree that sits in the otherwise empty field on the northern shore of Sally’s Creek, but you will find it unsettling. Where they will see a certain stately beauty and comforting familiarity that harks back to the tire swings and tree houses of their youth, you will see some initially vague discomfort. It won’t be until later, when the cloth of night has fallen and gifted you with the solitude and silence you’d yearned for all day, that you will fit the pieces together: the deep cuts in the bark, how raw and precise they were, like wounds that refused to heal in a million separate displays of defiance; the way the branches struck out, all akimbo and unnatural angles; the way the others grabbed for any hold that might help them seize access to heights to which they would always feel entitled; the liberties they took with the hollows in the trunk as though the tree herself were not a living thing, as though the tree were not home and hearth to so many living things. You will sit there under the vast web of stars that, much like you, will be at their most vibrant without the light of the city to dull them while the picture unfolds before you. In the moment that you finally see it clearly, after each piece has slid into place and the greater whole is revealed, you will swear that you hear the tree gasp right along with you. Out there, to the air and to the sky and to the creek and to the stars and to the tree herself, you will look up and you will breathe out and you will say, “Women’s healthcare is f**ked in this country,” and the earth herself will agree.

<fin> 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote ASharedNarrative Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2017 at 5:22pm
Originally posted by Cowyoga Cowyoga wrote:

Originally posted by ASharedNarrative ASharedNarrative wrote:

Originally posted by Cowyoga Cowyoga wrote:

I, for one, have to get back to writing the exquisite details of a stately old oak tree that personifies (somewhat inexplicably, but I'll make it work) the indignity of the standard gynecological exam.


I must read this. Even if you cut it.

Save it and share it.

I must know.

I did something for you. And I did it in second person future tense and gave everything two descriptions because I really wanted to be as pretentious and unnecessary as possible: 

Others will find comfort in the old oak tree that sits in the otherwise empty field on the northern shore of Sally’s Creek, but you will find it unsettling. Where they will see a certain stately beauty and comforting familiarity that harks back to the tire swings and tree houses of their youth, you will see some initially vague discomfort. It won’t be until later, when the cloth of night has fallen and gifted you with the solitude and silence you’d yearned for all day, that you will fit the pieces together: the deep cuts in the bark, how raw and precise they were, like wounds that refused to heal in a million separate displays of defiance; the way the branches struck out, all akimbo and unnatural angles; the way the others grabbed for any hold that might help them seize access to heights to which they would always feel entitled; the liberties they took with the hollows in the trunk as though the tree herself were not a living thing, as though the tree were not home and hearth to so many living things. You will sit there under the vast web of stars that, much like you, will be at their most vibrant without the light of the city to dull them while the picture unfolds before you. In the moment that you finally see it clearly, after each piece has slid into place and the greater whole is revealed, you will swear that you hear the tree gasp right along with you. Out there, to the air and to the sky and to the creek and to the stars and to the tree herself, you will look up and you will breathe out and you will say, “Women’s healthcare is f**ked in this country,” and the earth herself will agree.

<fin> 


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Ain't you just.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Hrafnkel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2017 at 5:39pm
Originally posted by Cowyoga Cowyoga wrote:

Originally posted by ASharedNarrative ASharedNarrative wrote:

Originally posted by Cowyoga Cowyoga wrote:

I, for one, have to get back to writing the exquisite details of a stately old oak tree that personifies (somewhat inexplicably, but I'll make it work) the indignity of the standard gynecological exam.


I must read this. Even if you cut it.

Save it and share it.

I must know.

I did something for you. And I did it in second person future tense and gave everything two descriptions because I really wanted to be as pretentious and unnecessary as possible: 

Others will find comfort in the old oak tree that sits in the otherwise empty field on the northern shore of Sally’s Creek, but you will find it unsettling. Where they will see a certain stately beauty and comforting familiarity that harks back to the tire swings and tree houses of their youth, you will see some initially vague discomfort. It won’t be until later, when the cloth of night has fallen and gifted you with the solitude and silence you’d yearned for all day, that you will fit the pieces together: the deep cuts in the bark, how raw and precise they were, like wounds that refused to heal in a million separate displays of defiance; the way the branches struck out, all akimbo and unnatural angles; the way the others grabbed for any hold that might help them seize access to heights to which they would always feel entitled; the liberties they took with the hollows in the trunk as though the tree herself were not a living thing, as though the tree were not home and hearth to so many living things. You will sit there under the vast web of stars that, much like you, will be at their most vibrant without the light of the city to dull them while the picture unfolds before you. In the moment that you finally see it clearly, after each piece has slid into place and the greater whole is revealed, you will swear that you hear the tree gasp right along with you. Out there, to the air and to the sky and to the creek and to the stars and to the tree herself, you will look up and you will breathe out and you will say, “Women’s healthcare is f**ked in this country,” and the earth herself will agree.

<fin> 



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote roccapia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2017 at 5:44pm
cbb, you sound like me. While most others have a problem culling down their word count, I have a problem making the word count. I got up to 986 on this round and never busted 1000. I'm a novelist mostly, and don't write short stories much, but I entered the short story competition and had the same issue, trying to make my stories long enough. I got up to Round 3 in that competition, so was proud of what I did, and I'm enjoying this competition because the word count is even shorter. Of course, my novels are usually pretty short too.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MattrickBT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jul 2017 at 6:01pm
Originally posted by ASharedNarrative ASharedNarrative wrote:

Originally posted by MattrickBT MattrickBT wrote:

Why would a creek ever need a backstory? It's a creek.


You need to read more French lit.

Hugo alone will bury you in geography and architecture that have backstories long enough to be their own novels.

And you will either find it very rich and rewarding, like one of those sundaes that are made from six kinds of chocolate that you can only take a few bites at a time from, because of its richness...

...or you're absolutely going to hate it.


Different times, different styles. I am sure a lot of that was fairly historically accurate as well. To me there is a difference between exploring actual history and locations, and creating arbitrary history.
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