One of the most annoying things I say in my writing classes–and believe me, there are many–is this statement:
“Writing is easy. All you have to know is where to start, where to stop, and what to include in the middle.”
My students don’t seem to like my simplistic answer, and I am currently becoming the butt of my own joke. I have what I consider a pretty good idea for a story, but it is a complex one (each one seems to be more complex than the one before, but that’s fodder for another blog). One of the biggest issues I am dealing with is whether to write it as an epic story that winds out over several years, or to focus on a specific small period, say a couple of weeks, with flashbacks as necessary. I tend toward the latter, liking the time limitation and how it makes the story more immediate and less of a expositionary tale. But that way, because of its lack of linearity, carries with its own challenges.
There’s nothing wrong with either approach. Trouble is, you have to choose what you’re most comfortable with and what works best for the story. Maybe I am just being too indecisive, but that’s where I am hung up. Chances are, I will eventually just flip a coin and choose one or the other.
In the meantime, Celeste and I are wrapping up the last few chapters of Salome’s Charger, our tale of the platter than held the head of John the Baptist. We have all our characters in Alaska, and are preparing to start killing them off. I’ll have to post another excerpt here in days to come.
Shelly and I continue to celebrate our 40th here in California, with this week dedicated to the pleasures of Monterey. Today we’re going to Santa Cruz and then on to kayak on the slough by Moss Landing, getting up close and intimate with sea otters. Monday we head home to Texas.
Thanks for hanging in there. More real-life stuff next week.