**SPOILERS BELOW. If you have not read the story and want to be (hopefully) surprised, come back to this when you’re done.**
Last week, my wife and I cleaned out one of those closets that just seems to be a vortex for those I-don’t-know-where-to-put-this-thing items. Among them are a bunch of board, card, and dice games that we played a lot before we had a child (We look forward to the day he’s old enough to enjoy them too). Included in that bunch was an awesome kit of dice called Story Cubes.
I knew instantly that these had to be the source for the next tale, so I grabbed three and rolled:
In a sense, I love boundaries. They force me to make a decision. I think this works for so many people and why an American fast food joint like In ‘n’ Out does amazingly well. The menu is limited which ends up making lunch an easy proposition. Do you want the burger, or would you rather have the burger? Maybe a burger would be better instead.
So I took my three dice and dove in.
Some interesting things I’m discovering at this stage in my journey:
Folk wisdom wins again: You can’t please everyone all of the time. It’s been interesting to see the varied opinions depending on the reader’s preferred genre and style. So far, this is my first reader’s favorite story. She likes my ‘lighter’ fare. But, I’ve had much more solid responses among my writer friends on my more ‘literary’ pieces. One advantage to writing these short stories is that I can truly experiment without a lot of upfront investment and steer future works toward the appropriate audiences.
I’m relying less and less on planning before diving into the writing. I don’t foresee that working for something novel length, but what do I know. That’s just guessing at this point. But, I’ve been happy with having an image or an idea in my head and letting it grow naturally from the writing. Things certainly seem to be more fun this way.
The writing is coming more naturally. I’ve developed a rhythm over the past couple of stories and I feel like I’ve crossed that threshold where writing nearly every day is built on muscle memory. It’s just something I do every morning after I exercise. I fret maybe a little, maybe not at all. But the heartburn isn’t there nearly as much as it was 7 stories ago. To me, this was my primary goal with this challenge and I couldn’t be any more ecstatic now that I’ve finally built this habit.
I guess it’s true that writing isn’t some dark art beyond the standard means of improvement.
Practice, practice, practice.
Discipline, discipline, discipline.
It works. There aren’t any shortcuts, and let’s be honest: Wouldn’t it be a shame if there were?
Here’s the (VERY BARE) general scratch file:
And the daily journal entries:
- Monday, October 9th
- Tuesday, October 10th
- Wednesday, October 11th
- Thursday, October 12th
- Friday, October 13th
- Saturday, October 14th
- Sunday – No Writing