I’m pleased to note that I finished what I currently consider the short story I’ve been fiddling with the past couple weeks. It’s now re-titled “The Flying Contraption” and now sits in Lisa’s in-box for what I hope is a final read. I had to fight for this one a little, and looking back I think the problem was that I’m getting a little complacent. I had, you see, a rough outline for the story before I started, and so my thinking when I waded in was that it was going to be as easy as just throwing down the words.
Fat freaking chance.
Stories don’t work that way, of course.
Stories are like people in that they each have their own personality and you have to treat them all with the respect they deserve. They can get cranky. They can get vengeful. They get their feelings hurt if you don’t bring your best to them every day. They are sneaky, of course. They hide what they mean if they don’t think you’re worth hearing the truth.
And the truth is that I started my relationship out with this story on completely the wrong foot.
Luckily, you can work on your relationship using some of the same “tools” you use when working with people. Mostly that means you listen. That’s right. Listening is the only way to make any relationship better, I think. Oh, there are a lot of ways to actually do this listening thing. You can simply sit without talking. Or you can buy someone a coffee or a soft drink (or other drink of choice) and ask how things are going. Or … well, you get the point.
In the case of a story, though, this listening MUST be active. You have to engage with it. You have to sort through the pieces of dreck that you’ve been spewing for days in order to find the threads of truth that are surely hiding down in there. It’s the written equivalent to answering the question “How do you feel?” rather than the much simpler question “How would I feel if I were you?”
But if you do this, if you really listen, the story will respond.
So, am I saying this story is good? I dunno. No. Not really. What I’m saying is that I’ve told the story that needed to be told. And this morning I finished the piece I’ve been working on and I felt good.