Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Story Without a Story

One of the problems with maintaining a blog on writing is that, sooner or later, you'll be expected to write. On top of that, I'm supposed to be concentrating on short stories... so technically I'm supposed to have at least a few short stories (or at least some strange literary experiments) up here.

The catch is that it takes time to write a short story, and it usually doesn't align with my timings for the usual posts. Normally I try to write something at least once every three or four days, in accordance with my personal ten-posts-a-month quota; what this means is that every three or four days, I can consciously sit down in front of the computer, tell myself that I need to write something, and then pound something out. But you can't give literary efforts a strict time limit -- you have to sit down and hash things out before you even so much as finalize a plotline. In a sense, I don't think I can squeeze stories out of my head and into the confines of my short-term plans.

So yes, I'm trying to write a story. And no, I can't fit it into the two-hour window that I normally have reserved for my blog posts. It'll have to wait, I guess. And in the meantime, I'm stuck giving you this revelation of how I write. It's an ironic conflict, seeing that I can't technicaly write a story whenever I feel like writing a story. It somehow supports the notion that I don't come up with these things on a conscious basis -- the ideas are probably holding cage matches in my head, fighting for the right to be let out. And instead of betting on the strongest, the toughest, or the meanest of the lot, it seems at times that I'm just the guy crawling along the floor looking for used ticket stubs.


Anonymous said...

Wait, what are the ticket stubs in this metaphor? /:)

Sean said...

Ida: It's a mixed metaphor, actually. The concept of gathering used ticket stubs goes back to horse racing, where desperate bettors would sometimes search the torn betting slips that lay on the floor of the audience area after a race. That way, if by some chance someone had unwittingly torn up a winning ticket, then they could claim it for themselves.

I use the concept of ticket stubs here to reference the story ideas that I end up using. I feel that, instead of being able to use the strongest or the most interesting ideas that come to mind, I can only start writing the more "stale" plotlines that have been in development for some time. These, in a sense, are the ones that have been sitting on the floor for so long that I can't even remember when their race finished.

Yes, doctor. I really do consider etymologies like this. Really. :)