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Jul 28 2016

Tell me a story

writingportfoliocover

“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.”

English children’s book author and illustrator Beatrix Potter was born on this day in 1866 (died 1943).

Telling stories is my job. One of them anyway.

Sometimes I have a whole story mapped out in my head. But then I get to the keyboard and it goes off in a different direction.

You can’t always get your characters to behave the way you want them to.

That’s particularly true when you’re doing a challenge like Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month), where the challenge is to write at 50,000 word novel in the month of November.

I’ve done it several times.

But it’s precisely because you don’t know where the story is going that you’re not going to hit December 1 with a ready to publish book. That would be why there are five, count ’em, five novels I’ve written that desperately need to be re-written.

I have some unfinished ones as well. Those are from the years when I definitely didn’t know where the story was going and neither did the characters. In other words I stalled or just gave up on the challenge.

But that’s okay. I have all of those pieces. And some day they’ll be incorporated into another work. Or works.

I’m wrapping up a year-long project in which I promised myself to write at least 500, then 1000 words a day. I didn’t make it every day. But if you average the words over the last 365 (plus a couple of weeks), I did hit the mark.

I’ll be refreshing that project come August 1st. The new challenge will be to write a story every day. I’m not giving it word count. I don’t even have topics to consider.

But the plan is to park at the keyboard for a certain length of time each day and tell a story.

I have no idea where this will take me.

If you want the whole truth, I’m not sure where this post is taking me.

Writing styles are different.

Some writers, yours truly at more times than he likes to admit, just sit down and start typing whatever comes to them. Some research for days, weeks or longer before even putting the first word down. Some create elaborate outlines.

I’ve done a little of both but I have to admit I have little patience for the research and outlines. That’s probably why I like fiction best.

It’s also probably why part of what delays me in editing the fiction is going back to fact check because I’ve made things up along the way.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Well, as soon as I finish this blog post, and send this invoice, and pack the gym bag for tomorrow, and…

See? That wasn’t where I wanted to end up with this post. But it’s where my train of thought took me.

Enjoy the ride.

And enjoy the song. I thought of this when I started the post. There’s no real point other than I just like the song and it reminds me of my younger days and summers at the pool.



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