A Real Start Then

This site is coming with me, with most old posts deleted, in a new direction. The plan is to write here, because I couldn’t find what I need for myself. That is: the path other writers took, on a detailed level.

It’s presumptuous of me to think I have any answers. I don’t. And I know it. But what I have are questions. And I know that a record of questions, sometimes, is useful. In my case, that’s going to be what questions did a 1st year MFA student ask themselves, and where did this lead them? It’s under a presumed yes to the question: by documenting my process could I help others get somewhere faster?
Here’s where I stand:
  • I’m working on new stories in preparation for my first year. Trying to write new drafts and polish them as far as I can go in the next few months. That, likely, means writing a lot at the beginning of the summer, setting them aside, then editing them a lot at the end. I believe in setting work aside for a time.
  • Likely it also means a lot of what is produced now is trash. Just there to prepare me for the work I won’t throw away (Karen Russell talked about throwing away 90% of her writing in an interview).
  • But I’m not yet sure how to make many stories work. The voice of the narrator, the premise of the story, the tension of the characters – these things get set up, but where do they go?
    • And what do I do about the micro-criticism in my head? – Why is this narrator talking to you, the reader? Is it okay to be writing about this character in this tough situation that I haven’t been in? How do I do it justice?
  • Should I write something that matters to the outside world? Should I guide my voice into the ideas that I think matter more, or let it go where it wants? What produces the “better” story?
  • When you write weird work, weirdness is often the answer. But that means that obvious, traditional, answers in plot, character development, pacing, and structure don’t work. And I resist them. But then what?
    • A man creates a Frankenstein girlfriend, the amalgamation of all of his past ones into a perfect one, what should happen? Happily ever after – NO. Breaking up – Well that’s obvious too. An unhappy marriage? That’s been done too. No, what has to happen is that the boyfriend’s science has to fail him, and the girlfriend’s body slowly die on her. He created something destined to die too young. Is he her murderer? Does he still love her?

At least, these are the challenges I can think of at the moment. They’re probably dumb. And the solution, as always, is to write more.

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