Monday, July 28, 2014

The Types of Stories We Tell

I've been thinking a lot about stories. Like most hope-to-be-published writers, I've piled up a lot of manuscripts. Flipping through my files, I realized each one is different. Each one taught me something new. And, being the obsessive, analytical person I am, I started categorizing them.

There's The One I Wrote First.
Ah, my first toe dip into the freezing pool of writing! Admittedly, I had no idea what I was doing, but I had a dream and I put my fingers to the keyboard and wrote it down! I refused to show it to anyone. Then I queried it and got a whole lotta form rejections. I got upset. I threw it aside. I moved on. Either way, it was special because it was my first.

The One I First Felt The Rush.
I once affectionately called this the writing equivalent of "chasing the dragon." I didn't sleep. I didn't eat. All my friends were mad at me. The house was dirty. I didn't do laundry for two weeks. And I couldn't care less because I was writing and I was on FIRE!

The One I Didn't Feel The Rush.
Why don't I have that same feeling? Remember when I wrote that last one and the characters felt familiar? The dialogue flowed out fresh? What's wrong with this one? Was that other one a fluke? Have they all been a fluke? Was writing always this hard??

The One That's In Pieces.
And, most likely, will always be in pieces. The characters aren't fleshed out. The story makes no sense. No matter how much time I put into it, it just doesn't seem to come together. I wonder if I should scrap it. I wait for that moment of clarity where it all makes sense and I find the most perfect piece to fill those gaping potholes. Any day will make sense.

The One That Was Awful (aka The Pancake Story). 
After I snagged my agent, I had trouble writing the next book. I wanted to write, but I was creatively exhausted. Instead of taking a break, I wrote anyway. It was awful. I look back on it now and relate it to throwing that first pancake in the skillet. I knew it was going to be messed up, but I cooked it anyway so I could move on and cook up the rest of the batch.

The One That Was Just For Fun.
I used to think every single story had to be so incredibly meaningful. Then I wrote a story just for fun. To make my CP laugh. To keep my agent turning the pages. I smirked the entire time I wrote it, biting my lip while my characters said ridiculous things and twisted the story around.

Let me know what categories your stories fall in! And no matter what...when in doubt, remember:

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