Fear of Commitment?

17 Apr

Aaron, go away unless your story is set.

Our submission date for this month’s stories was originally April 20 (it’s been moved to April 22), meaning as of last night, I had 53 words written and only 4 days to finish. And I was stuck because of stubbornness, or fear of commitment. I had two ideas for the story – one more subtle and sweet, one a bit more complex and perhaps convoluted. Both seemed plausible, with measurable pros and cons to each. So what was the problem? I couldn’t pick one, so rather than start one, I just let the ideas sit there for a while.

The main issue with it was the voice. The simpler story (the story about the older couple) would be easy to write, but I felt like an omnipotent narrator telling the story would have trouble making it interesting. Like, why would the story even be told? It’s sweet, sure, but insubstantial – at least by my lofty standards. The other story, the one with the detective getting involved, would be with a stronger, more assured voice. However, there would be backstory that an omnipotent narrator could easily put in there that I was struggling getting across with a character-narrator.

But I couldn’t waffle any more. With only a few days left of writing time, and stuff planned for the next three evenings, I simply don’t have time to wait for inspiration to strike anymore. So I plopped down 1000+ words last night, which took longer than it should have. And what is coming out might be confusing. It starts as an omniscient narrator (detective) talking with his superior (chief of police) at a bar – this uses normal punctuation for an omniscient narrator. Then it goes to flashbacks of the story he tells his boss, which is then told as a first-person narrator. But of course, it’ll bounce back and forth a little bit. So there are no quotation marks during normal speech, only when other people have spoken.

I don’t think this is a revolutionary way to write, but I worry that it will be confusing. But I have to commit to a story now, so I’m just doing it. I’m doing something a little different with margins to hopefully make it clearer. We’ll see if it works.

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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in derek's writing


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