It’s time for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group again, and I’m a day early because I had to post tomorrow’s post a day early, because Thursday is National Poetry Day. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
I’d like to thank everyone who left a message on last month’s IWSG when I talked about depression. Although it wavers from time to time, due to perfectly reasonable triggers (including bereavement, and although my family members are guinea pigs, they still tear your heart away), I think posting about it helped keep the demons at bay. What surprised me was how many other IWSG people posted about their own depression. Maybe September is a real trigger for many people, whether it’s related to the change in light, or the ‘back to school’ event, or even the ‘it’s nearly Christmas’ (REALLY?) that emerges in September.
But I didn’t want to talk about that, I wanted to talk about a discovery I made about my writing.
I have two modes. Short and long. A bit like my golf putting, in fact. I’m finding it difficult to pace the story arc in my effort for the IWSG Short Story competition. I’m getting there, but may need to do a lot of editing. I think I learnt a little from the feedback on my short story for this year’s BookElves Anthology, due out in November. As with the IWSG story, it’s about 5000 words, and I had difficulty balancing the amount of introduction to the ending. I think it’s fine now (which is good since I’m editing the book at present), but the same issue occurred to me as I got stuck towards the end of my IWSG story, currently entitled Missing Link. It didn’t help that I was three-quarters of the way through when they announced the amazing discoveries of a whole new species of hominid in the African caves.
I often do 1000 word stories – most Fridays, in fact. Sometimes we are tasked to make them 2000 words (like last Friday), which I increasingly fail to achieve, because I am stuck in the 1000 word routine. Doing a full length story is easier than doing short stories in some ways, because you have time to play around with the characters, and world-building, twists and double-loop backs. My 1000 word stories usually start out at 1200 and get pruned, sometimes losing bits I like, but are unessential loops. 2000 word stories need those loops and a few more… it starts to stretch the boundaries between fast & tight and richness. 5000… well, that’s maybe what I should practise more.
In fact, it all comes down to practice, if you want to increase your versatility. Including my golf putts.
Check out the Insecure Writers Support Group and go visiting some of the other people posting this week – probably tomorrow, since the first Wednesday of the month is our ‘meeting day’ 🙂