The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Digging Up Bones

with 2 comments

I spent Saturday morning finishing the first draft of a story.  That’s better news that you might think–it signifies that I am finally back on the horse since returning from The Skids.  I hadn’t done a whole lot of writing since returning, other than to potter around a bit with a poem and edit a piece for a friend.  Then school got started and I was enveloped in the back-to-school rush, so I was busy.  But it’s that back-to-school rush that is in some ways responsible for me getting back on the horse.  Lots of “back” being referenced here, I know…

I was arranging my hard drive space at school when I came across a story I started last spring.  It looked foreign to me; couldn’t remember much of anything I had written that I titled “Anthropology.”  So I peeked at it and it all came back to me.  The idea had come to me in a rush one day over Spring Break when I walked into Starbucks; I went there in the first place to work on “Duty,” a story from last winter, which I actually started in early summer of 2010.  Are you following all this?  I furiously scratched out as much of the first life of “Anthropology” I could in about an hour and a half that day, then returned to it a few more times, never quite getting as far as I wanted.  Within two weeks, I had done even more refining of the rough start and a major overhaul in the point of view.  Then I got stuck.  Then I got frustrated.  Then I kicked myself for a while, and abandoned the piece.

I looked at it with new eyes two weeks ago, and thought almost aloud, “That’s not too bad….”  Then the ending of the story came to me and I understood what the story is really about–all in about the time it took a synapse to fire in my brain–and I knew I had to put some time into it.  I dug through the journal I was using last spring and found 3 drafts of the start, each one inching a little futher along.  So I started to work anew in my current journal, from the very beginning.  It was like I was clinging to that journal for life, too.  For whatever reason, the first full draft had to exist in my journal if it was going to exist anywhere.  So now it does.

Aside from being happy with the first draft, I’m even happier to have put together a piece of the fiction writing puzzle in my head.  I recognized a pattern in my process:  I start short stories with fury and passion, work to the point of frustration, kick myself for biting off too much, and then come back months later with a fresh set of eyes and crank out something I’m happy with.  What’s really important here is that I now recognize my process.  I’m not interested in analyzing it any further than that.  Knowing what it is helps me work with it as effectivley as I can and not freak out when things don’t fall together for me the way they tend to when I write nonfiction.

More to come on this one.


Written by seeker70

September 12, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. It’s true what they say- I found something new after I’d put it away.

    Andrew Burd

    September 13, 2011 at 10:36 am

  2. […] is what I pretty much do most of the time.  I stashed the story somewhere for a few months, and when I looked at it again, I had a good feeling.  I felt like I had been onto something, and couldn’t quite remember why I had put the story […]

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