I like to call this writing exercise, whose story do I want to write.
- She likes to swim, but something has kept her out of the water or
- She likes to swim and you can figure out this swimmer's story as you write it
Raymond Carver said in Fires that once he had the first sentence of a short story, he made the rest of the story as he made a poem, one line and then the next line, and the next. Now find a sentence that comes from you. It can be a simple line: "I fell in love with my life one Tuesday in August." Don't think further ahead than the next line. Don't think back. Just build that story. Let the structure of the story unfold, one sentence after another.
That's what I try to do, but sometimes the story needs something in order for you to see the end in sight, a goal for the character to achieve or not achieve. I call the first writing my initial piece or fragmented draft. It's what I write to meet my characters and to step my foot in their world. I only know the sentences I've written. I may or may not have an idea of the subject I'm writing about but I know that I can reread and write it over and over until I find something that makes the story work, something that allows me to move forward towards that final draft that I can finally submit to literary magazines or enter literary contests. Here are a few more problems for your character to solve.
- Trying to get out of a particular situation
- Wishing her friend could see that she's dating a jerk
- Feeling like it's time to move
- Wanting to change for your niece or nephew
- The pool was closed again.
- What she loved about summer was more than the freedom of not having to go to school everyday, it was visiting her dad.
- She stared at the noisy children, wishing she'd taken the time to come up with a plan to settle these children down.
Find a sentence that comes from you, or a sentence you feel connected to (something you heard or read somewhere and make it yours) and write the next sentence.
Next blog: music and fiction; art and fiction; etc. and writing. Using other art forms and your interests to write fiction stories.