[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?