April-October Flash Fiction: Uh…
After Celebration my monthly flash fiction goal has gone right out of the window for two big reasons.
1. I don’t have the time (or skill) to work on multiple projects simultaneously (when dictating and driving).
So here I was, moving along at a good clip with the Selkie novel (using the 2YNovel method), when I realized I was falling behind on my other projects. As long as I have a plan for my commute dictation session I have good output; I can reliably dictate at least twice the words* in the same amount of time compared to typing, even when taking into account the dead air. Nevertheless, I was finding that while dictating on a commute does work for me, I am not (at this time) able to effectively juggle multiple projects. This was evident in the amount of time I was spending wrestling with “simple” 500 word flash fiction stories.
2. Flash fiction and short fiction are hard.
The techniques from the Flash Fiction course are sound but I’ve learned that I have a difficult time trying to condense any fiction into a tiny space. As the Genie from Aladdin said, “Phenomenal cosmic power! Itty bitty living space.” Plotting the flash fiction was like trying to wrestle a live octopus into a mesh sack– there were arms slithering out everywhere. Eventually I decided that the Flash Fiction was eating into an uncomfortable amount of my actual novel-writing time and I was falling behind. So, I set them aside.
The Short Story, SNAFU, is another matter. Since I am actually writing it as a prologue for an RPG I’ll be participating in later this year it’s important for me to get that done. But it was also eating into my novel time. So, I decided to crank out the short story just to get it out of the way so I could focus fully on the novel.
I thought it would be a piece of cake. It was only supposed to be 10,000 words.
- Whip up a short outline
- Dictate 1000 words each workday
- Be done in 2 weeks.
Yeah, that didn’t happen.
Even though I have a degree in English literature, and have written a ton of research and analysis papers, outlining has never been my strong suit. Worse, the outlines I know how to do are academic in nature and don’t translate well to creative writing.
I whipped up that outline, a bare-bones academic style thing, and jumped right into writing. It took me several days before I realized that my outline and pre-writing was incomplete: I had a beginning and end, I had a low point and a middle point, but they were all floating in the void and I had nothing guiding me on how the characters get from one point to another.
So, I need to go back to the previous weeks (Week 26-33) and try to do this outlining thing right. I doubt I’ll be able to keep up with the course on a weekly basis, but that’s the beauty of doing a course on your own terms: You can breeze by the easy stuff and take as long as you need on the harder stuff.
*Twice the content. The words might be crappy, but I find it’s worth the tradeoff. I can turn a bunch of awkward simple sentences into a couple great sentences easier and faster than I can craft a great sentence on the fly.