Chatter #26: July 30, 2001

12/14/2001 — I started the Chatter section on July 27, 2000 when I noticed that the rest of my site was sometimes getting cluttered with lots of text. I'm a talkative guy, after all! So now I talk about my life here, instead of all over the place. Originally this was one huge section, but in December of 2001 it simply became too large to remain as one page, and I broke it into dated sections, as you can see. —>PM


Inspiration strikes?

Recently I had an odd realization about writing fiction. My problem in the past has been that fiction seems incredibly hard. I either stall out, or end up diverting the story into a dead end. For example, one of the last stories I did featured a demon who was trying to buy a soul. I started using some 1940's-era slang in the demon's dialogue, and before I knew it that affectation had taken over the whole story and killed it.

In my life I've written perhaps six short stories, and none at all for the past seven or eight years. I have to confess that I haven't been able to shake the idea that I just can't finish a story—and that even if I did, it would never sell. It's a highly discouraging state of affairs.

There are, perhaps, two things involved in writing a story: getting the idea(s) for the plot, and actually writing it down. Some days all of my old ideas seem awful to me, but almost every day I feel totally unable to put in the work to actually start writing a story.

Okay. You've probably noticed my error here, and are laughing at me (I don't mind). Just from this page alone it's obvious that I do a LOT of writing! Likewise, I've managed to create a lot of bits and pieces of material for this site. So perhaps that isn't the reason that I haven't been writing stories.

Maybe the problem is that I can't work out a plot in enough detail to sustain a story? Well, here's a weird thing: I've been able to finish quite a few scenarios, and made up many more. I can't believe that I didn't notice that long ago.

So...why can't I take a scenario that I haven't yet created, and write it up—but as a story, rather than a scenario? The simple answer is that nothing's stopping me. This definitely deserves some more thought.

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[email protected] Copyright 2001 by Peter Maranci. Revised: December 14, 2001. version 1.0