The Bitter Buffoon – The Process

The Bitter Buffoon is story number two in the #52ShortStories challenge.

Challenge is certainly the right word. I took a week off from work for “vacation,” and this threw off the routine (in the most wonderful way, of course – fun times with friends and family, plus Angus’s 3rd birthday).

The inspiration for this story seemed to unconsciously come from a National Geographic article based on the idea of humans driving their own evolutionary advancement. It mentioned the CRISPR project which essentially is a method in which specific genes can be targeted and permanently modified.

I had read the article earlier in the week, but as you’ll see in my mind map, the influence wasn’t direct. It even hopped off from the title of a Dostoyevsky book. I love stuff like this!

Obviously, the impact of something like CRISPR on society is huge. I went about my usual process to pull out a story. I’ll acknowledge that with my modified schedule, I simply didn’t put in the required time to really dig into this. I feel like I could have made this story so much more, but I was worried that if I let it get away from me, I wouldn’t be able to wrap it up within a week. I suppose that’s one of the challenges of writing short stories: it forces us to be concise.

Anyway, I hope some of you enjoyed it. It was good for me to write this for two main reasons:

  • As a way of building the habit of buckling down when time is short. Come Sunday morning, I knew I had to wrap it up no matter what.
  • There was a point where I hit a major roadblock which I had to fight through. I had no idea what to write, so I had to really explore why that was. You can see this in my daily journals linked below in this post. I finally realized that my protagonist lacked an immediate goal. This was an “a-ha” moment that hit me while I was folding laundry. Once I knew what was wrong, I simply brainstormed a little more and was able to get past the block.

Here’s the mind map:

The general scratch file:

The daily journal entries:

Let me know in the comments or through a tweet if you find these process recaps useful. I’m certainly gaining a lot by writing them.

-Phillip

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