Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Complicating things

For the last couple of weeks, I've been working (on and off) on a couple of short stories, one of which was a kind of YA fantasy (with relatively little fantasy content) and the other of which was (I thought) an adult fantasy with much more fantasy content.

They were pretty different stories, and the only thing they really had in common was that I didn't quite know where either of them were going, and I was kind of stumped.

Well, I'm not someone who likes to make life easy for myself (well, I actually like it; I just rarely do it). So, I stuck the two stories together, almost unchanged, just alternating the points of view.

And the funny thing is, I do actually know where the combined story is going now. It's going to be tough to fit everything together and make it come out well, but it at least it has a purpose and direction.

Back when I was at Clarion West in 2001, I remember Nalo Hopkinson saying that every scene needed two things going on. It's the same for every story. There have to be (at least) two things going on that can play off against each other, inform each other, head off and rejoin each other, twist around and complicate. 

Neither of the stories had that before. Now they both do. How they'll finally work out, I can't say. But at least they have a chance now.

1 comment:

Steph said...

I can't remember - was it Nalo or Connie who talked about every story needing both a Plot A and a Plot B? That really blew my mind at the time, because I'd NEVER thought of short stories that way before.

I love it when disparate pieces suddenly turn into a defined story in your head. I can't wait to read this one!