Saturday, September 15, 2012

Short Story - Finished!

Six thousand four hundred sixty words is the length of my very first short story, Jake's Upper Plate.  I submitted it to my small writer's group for critique and got great feedback.  There is one section that needs to be edited—it's very expository compared to the rest of the piece. I do love a good back story, though, and I thought it was far enough into the piece with enough reader investment in the characters at an emotional level.  I thought I could get away with it.  And I almost did, but thankfully, I got pinched and the rewrite of the section is making me happier.  All the other issues are little things—grammar, a little slip in voice (that damn expository section again) and the teeniest bit of head-hopping.

And it took me about a week and a half.

I took a break from the novel I'm working on.  It's in tatters.  It's the scarecrow in the movie The Wizard of Oz after the flying monkeys get through with him.  The flying monkeys (or winged monkeys, as they are referred to by their creator, the author L. Frank Baum) scared me to death when I was a child, and when I think of all the things that had the potential to hurt me, flying monkeys were in the top ten.  I still shiver, thinking of them.  But I'm sad to say I took a page from the flying monkey playbook—I stood on my novel and threw fistfuls of it all over my desktop.  A file here.  A file there.  The book I thought would be published before any of my other work is now in Writer's ICU. I found myself angry at the large Writer's Workshop to which I belong, not realizing that I don't have to do every change which they suggested.  But, that's me, all over.  And in a way, it gives me a chance to take a fresh approach to the structure, which wasn't serving the plot very well.
Scarecrow: First they took my legs off and they threw them over there! Then they took my chest out and they threw it over there!
Tin Woodsman
: Well, that's you all over!

I will finish editing Jake's Upper Plate and go visit my poor novel next week.  One does feel somewhat fortified by the experience of seeing a piece through from beginning to end and this particular story went like this: character development to setting to writing scenes to knitting the entire thing together with the plot. It was a lovely experience, watching (yes, watching) a story reveal itself in all its narrative cohesivness as I wrote.

I think I'll put a tab on this blog with the story once I have the editing done.

And in the words of Glinda, I address the Wicked Witch of Writer's Despair, and her minions—the flying monkeys bringing desperate and disproportionate editing :
"You have no power here! Begone, before somebody drops a house on you, too!"

1 comment:

  1. Ah! The winged monkeys are completely terrifying. Was there any child untouched by their denomic freakishness?
    But congratulations on the short story! I can't wait to read it. The novel will get there...sometimes space helps.