Thursday, August 1, 2013

Day 207 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis


Let's finish up Ann Buxie's appearance here on Dane Baylis Undeterred. I'm sure there will be more from her down the line. Thanks again to the poet for the use of her work over the last three days. Thanks, Ann.


            Ann Buxie
             Photo by D.F. Baylis

                I'm Just Going to Have Fun 
Is this some kind of streak? I've never had this much fun. Takes some getting used to. a little guilt perhaps it can't last you don't deserve it this too shall pass. But listen. What if bliss is innate, doubled into our soul, our DNA? By now, life has chewed me and juiced me, enough to prove my goodness. I'm tossing the locks, keeping the doors open, letting the holy blow through, not for my sake, but ours. Happy dissolves ugly, like alka seltzer in water, fizz fizz, 'cuz ugly isn't real, isn't true, can't endure. I rest my case.
                                                                                     the emperor is happy
                                                                                                   the elephant is loose
tell everyone.


A problem I've learned to deal with is discovering where my stories really begin. By that I'm not talking about the inspiration or the work that goes on before the writing, but finding where the story actually starts. As I write mostly short fiction and poetry, there is a tendency to want to supply a lot of back story due to anxiety over not supplying my reader enough information to follow me. Quite often, I am building setting, character, and plot points that are either better developed in the action or left out altogether.
I've seen this in any number of short stories I've been asked to read while they were under development. You start the reading and realize that the real action, the trigger that disrupts your main character's world, is a long time coming. That's just not acceptable in short prose. As a rule, most first drafts can lose twenty percent or more of their opening verbage before we get to the place where the story should start.
What is "the trigger"? It's that thing that ignites the conflict in the story. It could be as obvious as a character being implicated in, or actually committing a murder, or as subtle as a letter from an unknown personage inviting your main character to a mysterious meeting. Or, even more subtly, the breaking of a shoe lace. Whatever it is in your story, it is the event that sets the ball rolling. From here on, everything that goes into the story needs to move it forward towards its climax. It all has to be as inevitable as sunrise.
The other thing that needs to happen as quickly as possible is the introduction of the "hook". That opening line that sucks your reader in and makes them want to read the next line. Scenes are also good places to contemplate introducing supplementary hooks. Especially if you are being the omniscient narrator with insight into all the character's thoughts and hearts.
If your story requires setup, see if you can't find a way of bringing that in as you progress. Make it a part of the showing not telling we talked about a while back. Let your characters bring up things in their conversations, and interactions. Most of all, DON'T DROWN YOUR AUDIENCE! Leave out the small things unless they have a real bearing on what you're imparting. Give only that which is needed to make the story move and be understood. Let your reader imagine some of it for his/her self. It's a sure way to bring them into the story and bring them back for more.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis

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