Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Inspiration Strikes

If you are wondering when my story on Deathlings is coming online, then you and I are on the same train to nowhere. It's a month and a half overdue, so I have to start considering the possibility that it isn't happening at all. It would have been nice to have that publishing credit, but I will take my victory as a good sign nonetheless. The thing to do perhaps is ask them if they intend to publish still, and if not, submit it elsewhere.

Meanwhile, I am roughly halfway through with another story, that I will likely publish here in serial form when I am all the way done with it. Or not. I haven't decided. Remember the scare over First Electronic Publishing Rights? I'm not exactly a high volume destination, but if someone wanted to get sticky about it...

The journey on my recent story has been a confidence builder. The idea was simple. My wife and I were sitting in bed when it struck. Married couples know what I mean when I say we were both reading before bed--she was catching up on current fashion, me on Whitey Bulger on the mean streets of Boston. Then bang! "Honey, what do you think of this idea?" And I told her. She nodded appreciatively, "I like it."

That's all I needed to get started. Two thousand words later and I'm on a complete tangent. An entire scene written with no apparent connection to the main story line, which had me a little depressed. Ironically I was reading Stephen King the other night--whose advice from On Writing clanged in my memory: Sometimes you have to kill your darlings--when it hit. Suddenly my scene, with some modification, fit perfectly.

I wrote a new cool beginning (If I do say so myself), and filled in with more detail in spots that were sorely lacking. Reading it back now, I am starting to think I have a winner, where nothing but a expository pile of words existed before.

The moral is nothing new. Just write. Simple. Oft emphasized in every writer's how-to book. And yet, until I had this experience, I didn't really know it. Up till now it's been academic knowledge. You had to see what I started with to realize what a hopeless cause it was. But I was having fun, living vicariously through the characters, wandering aimless until I figured out how to give it meaning.

Have had a similar experience?

15 comments:

mr. schprock said...

I've started several stories without having an ending firmed up in my mind for them, and other times I've had endings with nothing leading up to them. I think that happens a lot with movies; they shoot away while the director and writers simultaneously struggle mightily to make the story cohere or find a plausible ending for it. All part of the creative process I guess.

Kathleen said...

I'm no help on this question as I'm not a writer. I've said it before, but there is simply no story floating around my head looking for an escape. I'm in awe of you and Schprockie.

I would certainly hope they're still going to publish your story! I'd write and ask what their timeline is. It's possible that it takes a couple of months to put an issue (or whatever) together.

Bernita said...

Don't think there is anything quite like it - the Eureka! Moment.

Jaye Wells said...

Scott, this delay has happened to me. However, there was usually some email or other contact from the pub letting me know about the delay. Pub dates are fluid things sometimes. Consider this good practice for when you sell a book.

jason evans said...

I plan on pulling stories down soon after posting them if I intend to submit, so they don't get too entrenched in the search engines. Posting on your own blog is different than publishing somewhere else, I think. I'd argue its not very different from sharing with a group of friends for comments and revision. Is it technically a prior publication? Yes, but, then again, I see it as no harm, no foul. What could a magazine honestly claim they're losing? Technically, handing a copy to your mother is publication also.

Konrath has also advocated this approach.

jason evans said...

Oh, and I'm with Jaye. Just sit tight regarding Deathlings. It will come through. They're probably just hung up on some delay.

Bailey Stewart said...

As Bernita said - gotta love that Eureka moment.

I often write unrelated scenes that pop in my head, only to find out further down the line that they will fit in nicely. Just go with it.

About Deathlings? My first thought was email an inquiry; but then Jaye and Jason made sense, so ... I know, I'm a lot of help.

Writing Blind said...

I often start something without a clear ending in mind so sometimes it takes me a while to see the big picture. All you can do is keep going and wait for that moment where everything starts to click.

I'm sure they're still planning to publish your story. Sometimes these places tend to fall behind which is a reflection on them, not you or your work.

Flood said...

This is why I have a library of flash. I start writing and I don't stop until there is a conclusion, as wobbly as it might be. Then I go back and expand, if it inspires me enough.

I'm sorry about the wait for deathlings. I betcha it will happen at the weirdest time.

fringes said...

Don't give up on Deathlings. The wait must be excruciating, but the entire next issue is missing from the site. It's not like they published July, August, September without your story.


Thanks for both the question and the word prompt on my blog. You get an A for best student this week. And three gold stars.

Sadie Lou said...

"just write."

good advice often is so simple--I could have thought of it myself.
*wink*

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Not really, no.

I tend to do it in a stream of consciousness. Then I leave it for a while and go back in to edit.

But then, I haven't tried writing a proper story.

magnetbabe said...

I can't wait!

Beth said...

When I was a serious author, I didn't tell my husband a thing. Sometimes I'd come up with the best ideas and he would be so confused by them. I don't take criticism lightly if it isn't hard thought. LOL

Miranda said...

*Grin* I haven't had a similar experience with the writing thing, but I definitely know what you mean about the reading thing. For now, though, that's a distant memory. :)