Sometimes, a WIP ties his brain in knots.

[I wrote this months ago, while I was still struggling with expanding the fragment that eventually became the short story “Solitude.” I think the story turned out okay, but I don’t know what readers think of it, because I can’t get anyone to write a review, even though the story is available for free on my clone’s website… *sigh* Anyway. I’m sharing this post now as a look inside my writing process, in case anyone’s curious.]

That awkward moment when you realize the real problem you’re having with a WIP is caused by you having learned most of your first-person narration habits from an author who was something of a minimalist, and your protagonist doesn’t mention every little detail because it doesn’t matter to him at the time…

I need to attack this story from a different angle. Maybe if I look at it upside down… Seems to work for cats.

The WIP is a tie-in for a novel my twin is currently writing [Project Brimstone, which was published in May, 2017]. The short story, however, is mine, and always has been. [We put both of our names on it. I had intended that only Paul would be listed as author, but he had other plans. It’s only fair that he then had to deal with the anxiety attack I had over ‘drawing attention to myself’ in such a way.] The POV character here is usually an extrovert (so, y’know, not like his author), outright gregarious, not at all accustomed to being by himself for a long time… If he’s talking to someone, do you sort of expect him to talk a lot, to give extraneous details about the topic at hand, or do you expect him to stick to just the essentials? Kinda depends on the situation, doesn’t it?

It’s not just description, though. Supposedly all not-huge-name authors, everywhere, all the time, begin their stories much too early and end up having to chop off the first five chapters… Well, maybe that’s true for human authors, but my brother and I both tend to begin our stories a bit late and have to add stuff to be beginning. (Did you know I have a weird-humor quota, too, not just a sarcasm quota? So much to keep up with…) Should I tell more about the events that led up to this sequence, and tell from the very start?



About Thomas Weaver

For several years, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom (editor). I'm physically disabled, and I currently live with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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1 Response to Sometimes, a WIP ties his brain in knots.

  1. So hard to know where to start without knowing more about the story.

    I find the advice given to many authors to “start at the action” can also be incorrect. If you start in a battle scene or a hospital scene, why do I care what happens to any of the characters?

    I believe an author needs to establish that connection to the reader first. It doesn’t need to be five chapters worth, but there needs to be something.

    Liked by 1 person

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