Posts Tagged ‘short stories’

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Drop Back and Punt…

October 18, 2012

I had a great theme for today’s story… It was supposed to be about a more or less psychopathic guy that is put into the position of being a hero. At the climax of the story, he was supposed to say “So it’s all fun and games until I kill someone…” But the story that I’ve begun doesn’t really sit well with me the way I’ve been telling it so far.
Right now, I’m more wrapped up in the minutiae of setting up the story, and explaining how everything got to that point rather than just telling the story. I think the problem is that I was attempting to start with the line then drop into a flashback setup for everything, but there’s too many characters that need to be positioned, and too much action that needs to be described for me to be comfortable with what I’ve written and for me to take that approach…
So, after I get back from today’s Filmmaker’s Guild meeting at OU, I’m going to scrap what I’ve written, and restart today’s project.
I’ll let you know how it goes…

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Feeling Good

October 17, 2012

As I mentioned in my earlier post, Quit Slacking!, I’m now putting forth an effort to at least write a short story everyday. While this is only the second day of my effort, I managed to write another complete short story today, and this is really beginning to feel good! I don’t think I’ve felt this creative and good about my writing (in general) in more than 10 years! I’ve definitely written better stories in that time, mind you, but I don’t think I’ve felt this good in ages!

I can’t wait for tomorrow!

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Quit Slacking!

October 17, 2012

I think I’ve mentioned once or twice that I finally graduated from college. Since that time, I’ve worked on multiple short films, have taken care of my mother a lot, and been to Virginia twice. What I haven’t done is spend much time writing. Yes, I wrote a story for a contest, which I obviously didn’t win, but beyond that I haven’t done much.
I’m extremely lucky. I’ve been afforded a whole year to get myself together, career wise, without needing to be concerned about finding a job. I’m now roughly six months into this period, but I haven’t gotten anything done to show for it. I’ve decided to get my butt in gear.
Starting yesterday, I’m making an effort to write a short story everyday. It doesn’t matter whether the story is one of my better ones or not, it also doesn’t matter if it’s in a genre I feel comfortable writing in; what matters is that I’m writing. I’m not abandoning my screenwriter ambitions nor my desire to write a complete novel; I’m just trying to get through and over my mounting self-doubt that I can make it as a writer. A writer must write, must make efforts towards achieving her/his goals, and until now I’ve not done that.
That changes now. I’ve decided to quit slacking. What about you?

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Back from the Dead

March 16, 2011

About 17 years ago, I began work on a time travel story that I thought had a unique spin. As I worked on it over a period of weeks, I kept running into problems that I couldn’t resolve at the time; the biggest of which was the point of view. Although I could have written the story any way I wanted, at the time I wanted to try something completely new to me: first person perspective and, more importantly, present tense.

The advantage of this perspective is that you almost literally get inside the primary character’s head; you get to know her thoughts, perceptions, and even her mental state by just reading the words that compose her train of thought. It’s not necessary to explicitly state “she felt trapped” or “fear gripped her heart” because the words she uses to describe the situation automatically convey emotional and mental states. Eventually I grew to love first person perspective, though I tended to opt for past tense after working on this particular story.

Sadly, at the time, I was unable to resolve my present tense issues with the story and was unable to make any significant progress on it as a result. Instead of discarding it, like I did with some of my other failed stories, I put it aside and vowed to come back to it some day.

About ten years ago, during a long bout of writer’s block, I decided to try to rewrite the story from scratch in an effort to reinvigorate myself and to work out some new ideas I had for the story. Unfortunately, I made the same mistake I had in the earlier attempt, and again chose to do first person present tense. I’m not saying that this perspective is bad, or that it never works, I’m just saying that it didn’t work for me for this story; after fleshing out some of my ideas in the rewrite, I again stopped work on the story. This time, I really didn’t make as much progress as I had in the very first attempt; I only managed to write two pages instead of the four that I had managed years earlier. Needless to say, this did not help my writer’s block.

More years passed. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m currently enrolled at Oakland University in the Cinema Studies program in an attempt to transform myself into a screenwriter. This semester, I’m finally taking a screenwriting course and, to brush up my story writing skills, I’m also taking a fiction writing class. The inspiration for my now self-published short “Right and Wrong” came as a result of some film noir I’ve watched this semester as well as the need to write a 50+ page screenplay for my class: I wrote the short story to flesh out the ideas I had for my screenplay, though the two have diverged substantially due to length requirements. If “Right and Wrong” the screenplay is ever produced as a film, it’ll be interesting to see how the public reacts to the fact that there’s a short story version as well… Will they see the screenplay as being based on the short story or will they assume that I merely summarized the script in the short story? Will there be a novelization of the movie, and if so, how confused will people be when they come across the short? Interesting questions…! But, I digress…

I have a new short story assignment for the fiction class, and though I had some interesting ideas, none of them seemed fit for the story I wanted to share with my class. I don’t mean to make this sound like I’m bragging, but my classmates have been really impressed with my work this semester, and they have some pretty high expectations of me. As a result, I have higher expectations, and higher minimum standards for what I intend to present them with. Despite my desire to explore the stories that I came up with, I was disappointed in the quality of the work I was churning out. With time I could correct the stories, and get them where I want them to be, but the class will end before I can really spend the time  on them that they deserve.

On a whim, I thought of rewriting something I had worked on in the past, and the first item that appeared in the list was my old time travel story. Having the files for both prior attempts, I decided immediately that this was the one. I printed both, and got my mind cranking on them as I drove to class yesterday, and when I got the opportunity to enter the classroom long before the start of class, I immediately went to work writing. Again I chose first person perspective; there were just too many visuals and thoughts that needed to be expressed by the main character that I wanted and needed keep to use a different point of view. But this time, I shifted to past tense, and in the space of just a few minutes I had already exceeded the two pages that I wrote in the last attempt at this story. I still have a lot of work to do on it, but this time, this story is back from the dead for good. I will finish the class version of this story, limiting myself to the upper limit of 10 pages, but I will also fully explore where this story goes this time, be it 15 pages or 1,000. This is turning out to be a story that I would have loved to read had it been written by someone else, so perhaps one day I’ll be sharing it with you!

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What would you do with these plot points?

July 25, 2009

Lately, I’ve been coming up with various ideas for stories, mostly based around some specific plot points, and yet I’m not sure if I can, could, should, or will use them. Some of these ideas/plot points seem over-used or cliche to me, so while I think they’re cool, I don’t really want to throw another derivative work out there to be mocked and criticized. On the other hand, 90% of the time, what determines the value of a story is not it’s unique plot, but how it was written and used.

If you use these ideas, please let me know, and share your story with me privately. I’m just curious. Otherwise, I’d just like to hear your comments and ideas.

So, without further ado, here they are:

  • Fearing a potential alien invasion, a multi-national join military and research organization builds an underwater base, developing highly advanced technology, and creates a world defence force to protect Earth.
  • Psychological battle between two men, one an invulnerable, omnipotent (but not omniscient) being and his very much mortal nemesis. In some respects the omnipotent being would be similar to Dr. Manhattan from The Watchmen, but far from being all knowing, or being capable of existing in multiple places at the same time. It should be difficult to determine who the protagonist and antagonist in the story are, if there really is a protagonist or antagonist at all.
  • A story where the villain not only wins, but has already done so by the time the story begins.
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Why Broken Fingers?

October 20, 2007

Although Cliff Burns pointed out the exact reason that I originally chose the name Broken Fingers for this blog, there are other reasons. Foremost among them is the fact that I have a long standing history of interrupting my work on stories for one reason or another, and either never resuming work on that story or delaying it for long periods of time.

For instance, earlier this year, I had begun work on a short story that I’m currently calling Team Omega. There is no realistic reason why this story isn’t done now, and hasn’t yet been shopped around to various magazines. Yes, there are my excuses: family responsibilities and work have put limits on my free time. But those are really just excuses. I should have been working on the story instead of playing World of Warcraft. I should have been editing it instead of watching Stargate SG-1 or Stargate Atlantis. I should have been reviewing my target magazines instead of reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

But I didn’t. Something in me must be broken; I must have broken fingers if they didn’t willingly do what I love to do. If not, then I really need to look at the reason I didn’t do what I needed to do in order to make it possible to start my writing career. When I choose to be honest with myself, I suspect the reasons. But I often can’t bear to face my own self-examination on the issue. It’s much easier to just blame it on my responsibilities. See, I can be in denial while being completely rational… 🙂

Broken fingers are also what I will have, according to my best friend, if I don’t stop putting off finishing Team Omega and some of my other stories. I’ll get right to work, Maxx, I promise! :p

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