Two years ago, Neil Gaiman asked 12 questions and used people’s responses as inspirations for short stories (1 per month). Now that summer is in sight, I’m going to follow his lead, ask 7 questions (1 per weekday?), and use any intriguing responses to brainstorm into short stories.
Answer whatever catches your fancy!
1. Wednesday: what is the worst possible setting in which to be stuck halfway?
2. Thursday: what, besides more wishes, is the best thing to wish for?
3. Friday: why have you ever dreaded a vacation?
4. Saturday: where should a hero go on the weekend?
5. Sunday: in what moment did you feel most genuinely loved?
6. Monday: what made “the worst boss you ever had” so lousy?
7. Tuesday: what is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
Thank you! I look forward to hearing from your minds…
(You’re right, Mr. Martin: summer is not so intimidating.)
There is still a month left of the school year, but finally, FINALLY, summer is in sight again.
And with summer comes my writing. I’ve devoted some brainstorming time to a few of my crappy novel drafts, but otherwise, have struggled to sit down and actually begin revising.
But I have made time for reading! Did you know Mark Twain wrote a book about Joan of Arc??? (Side note: I love Joan of Arc.)
In his autobiography, Twain confessed the difficulty he encountered in writing this book–“Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc”–saying
“There are some books that refuse to be written. They stand their ground year after year and will not be persuaded. It isn’t because the book is not there and worth being written–it is only because the right form for the story does not present itself. There is only one right form for a story and if you fail to find that form the story will not tell itself. You may try a dozen wrong forms but in each case you will not get very far before you discover that you have not found the right one–then that story will always stop and decline to go any further… When at last I found the right form I recognized at once that it was the right one…”
That quote struck home to me, because one of the projects I’ve been working on is transforming “Copper” from a third-person story into a first-person perspective. It helps with the pacing, but I’m still not 100% sold that this is the format her story needs. Maybe I keep trying to start and end it in the wrong spot, or maybe I’m focusing on the wrong themes and plot threads.
I don’t know. This post had very little purpose aside from sharing that great Twain quote that I read yesterday. As my students say, “conclusions are hard.”