Wednesday, January 30, 2013

For the Writer and the Artist

I wrote a short story today, a complete first draft, revised as it was developed, and given minor changes, a word here or there, upon completion. It "feels" like it might be good.

I'll be working with it again and again before I submit it in less than a week for my first short story of two in the Fiction Writing Workshop I'd decided to take. I'd started out with a different short story, I would still like to finish, based in part on a character study turned in for the class. It has proved to be a longer process, and is a story, presently, without an end.

I enjoy the main female characters of both of these stories. Both are stories of relationships and tragedies; the first between two sisters, the second between a woman and a man. It feels good to be writing again. In the first short story, one sister is a social worker, and the other, an actor. In the second short story, the woman is an artist, and the man a gallery owner. They are defined by history and circumstance, more than their professions.

I'm beginning to learn, it may be possible to do this writing thing, not to formula, but, with "a certain set of skills" that have finally coalesced and can be applied; though I still write and enjoy writing, without any plan. I write to see what will emerge, letting the characters and the story shape themselves.

The requirements for this online university level class, along with considerable reading, discussion assignments and meaningful feedback, are to write and revise two lengthy short stories of literary quality with psychological depth. I am feeling encouraged.

I've written short stories and novel chapters with literary merit and psychological depth before, but not in a long time. It's not feeling easier, but I'm feeling more assured that what I write can be of worth.

6 comments:

Lori said...

That sounds like an awesome experience and learning opportunity, Annie. I hope it brings you great enjoyment and satisfaction. (It sounds like it already is).

Annie said...

Hi Lori, Thank you!

Alexis said...

I'm very excited for you Annie! Hope the process is still going well. It's a rough process but at least your going through it. I usually get overwhelmed and quit;)

Annie said...

Hi Alexis,

Thank you for the encouragement. It's turned out to be a great group of students. Most of the 17 students in the class are giving excellent feedback, tempered with kindness.

The main thing that works for me with a short story (or any piece of writing), is to keep re-reading as you write, to immerse yourself in the rhythm of the words and the flow of the emotions, until you reach an "organic" and natural end. Save that draft, and revise- expanding, tweaking and deleting- until you are satisfied. Only then, submit it for feedback from trusted readers to find out if there are any points of confusion, opportunities for further expansion, or "holes" in the narrative.

Banjo52 said...

Congratulations, Annie. I should be over it by now, but I still find it amazing what confidence can do--and what one cannot do without it. Your process sounds very legitimate; you sound as if you're seeking competence and have a pretty good sense of when you've achieved it, when you haven't. And I think that's where confidence comes from. Everything you say about process sounds honest, legitimate.

You haven't posted in awhile, so I can only hope your rhythm is still going.

Also, my overdue thanks for being a member at Banjo52.

Annie said...

Hi Banjo52, I am experiencing an unexpected medical situation that is making it difficult to write or type (or live) without pain. I am hoping for a return to normalcy and conversation soon. Thanks for writing.