Pounding Away at the Keyboard

Last Monday, I started writing a short story.

I was driving to work that morning, and idle thoughts played in my head. “What if I took this kind of character, put them in this kind of setting, and told this kind of story?” None of these three things should go together, but sitting in my car, the highway passing by, I could see no reason why they couldn’t.

The idea kept playing in my head, and when I got home from work that night I already had a good idea who the character was, why the character behaved in such a fashion, and how the character would work in this incongruous setting. I even had some dialogue worked out, possibly the final scene of a story.

The next night after work, I typed out a whole scene of about 1,300 words. It was raw and awkward. Dialogue heavy. Places didn’t have names, just markers like [Main City] and [Nearby Population Center]. One character didn’t even have a name, and while the other two characters did I knew that neither was right.

Yesterday, I played with my collection of Rory’s Story Cubes for ideas, and that gave me nine objects to work with, from an abacus (actually a skyscraper, but it sort of looked like an abacus, and an abacus is more interesting anyway) to the Trojan Horse.

This morning, while it snowed and after I had already shoveled the sidewalk, I typed up a scene. If not the very first scene in the story, it would be several scenes before the scene I had sketched out on Tuesday. I let it sit for a while, then I came back to it, wrote more, reworked what I had written (for instance, a paragraph was condensed to a single sentence), and even worked in one of the objects from Rory’s Story Cubes, a judge’s gavel:

“Why do you have seven gavels?”

“What if I must impersonate a judge? I would need a gavel then, wouldn’t I?”

“But seven?”

“Seven gives me options.”

I couldn’t argue with that.

I may cut the seven down to five. Seven seems excessive to me, and I’m the writer.

I’m making this up as I go. I’m discovering the characters as I write, and there’s an interesting narrative perspective in this. I have no plot in mind, and I’m discovering the story as the narrator discovers it. I don’t know where this will end up. Maybe about 12,000 words?

Is there a market for this? I don’t know, and I don’t care. This is strange and weird and fun, and I’ve enjoyed the process of creation the last few days. May it remain that way over the next week or two.

I’m being vague, I know. I want to talk about this, but I also don’t want to say anything because I don’t want to sap the creative energy. Hence, vagueness.

I’m having fun and, as a writer, the first person I have to entertain is myself. 🙂

Post header photo, “Keyboard” by Anfluffycat, licensed Creative Commons BY 2.0.

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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