Albert Jarry author of the short story
The Passion Considered as an Uphill Bicycle Race.
IF there is an author’s grand plan for successful writing practice we would fail to have the rich diversity which makes literature a thing of beauty.
I write all the time: it is my day job and often my night occupation. Deadlines focus the mind but when I set out to write something which I suspect might turn out above average, I let the work ferment in my mind, and perhaps my heart and soul.
Once the idea is ripe I tend to write it all out without revision until the end. It kind of works, but I suspect some semi-scientific creative process works on the raw idea before I put finger to keyboard.
Today I came across an article which might have some of the processes I employ sub-consciously.
The article is by a media editor, but I imagine it could assist authors of short stories, novellas and full-length books.
The article is called 6 questions journalists should be able to answer before pitching a story.
Below is the reference. You can either read the thing whole or my derivation for book authors.
First, you will note the title has a number in it, a strategy beloved by internet marketers. Everybody seems to be on that sort of stuff these days including the article’s author, Tom Huang, is Sunday & Enterprise Editor at The Dallas Morning News.
Even indies should be pushing their story to their publishers, themselves.
Si here are the six questions with my thoughts on them.
1. What piques your curiosity about the story?
This is will be the theme of your story or the underlying reason you are telling it. You do not need to write down that theme or even understand it completely as you will tweak it in the writing process. Be aware that it is there; it is basic; it is important.
2. What’s new about the story, and why do you want to tell it now?
Most good stories are universal and timeless, but geography and timeliness will make readers more perceptive to them. Is this the right time and place for your story?
3. Why will the reader or viewer care about the story?
There are two answers to this question. The first is because it is well written. The second is because it speaks to some readers who hear it clearly. A book has never been written which every reader hears. If you try to please everyone you end up pleasing no-one.
4. How can we tell this story digitally?
Critics of eBooks are quick to affirm their drawbacks, such as their lack of the comfort of physicality. But eBooks have comforts hard copies do not – the ability to link anthology authors to their stories and bios, as an example. Linking to other digital works is another. It is early days for eBooks. Be aware of break-throughs in formatting and linking
5. What questions will you need to ask to get this story, and what sources will you need to consult?
This is the basis of your research. If you do not enjoy research, you might need to change your mindset. Similarly if you enjoy research too much, you may delay the telling of your story.
6. How much time will you need to produce the story, and how much space/time do you think the story deserves?
If you set out to write a novel, your story had better be up to that length. If you are writing a short story, it needs to be compact, even if told in a light style.
It is a good idea to set yourself a minimum number of words a day. If you write 1000 words a day, your first draft of a novel will take about 90 days or 4 months, given that you are unlikely to write seven days a week when starting off. Four months for writing; eight months for revision and editing will give you that book in a year, the goal heritage publishers love,
If you set a deadline, you will likely fail. If you do not sett one you will certainly fail.
Remember even the Boulevard of Broken Reverie has an end to it.