Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


Finished a Short Story

November 5th, 2017

Doubt and discouragement have weighed on me these past few years and sapped much of the fun of writing. The direct result is that my productivity has declined. It’s been taking me longer and longer to write, and I’m not nearly as good at sticking to a project and finishing it as I used to be. For example, right now I have at least three novels/novellas in various stages of development and a long short story well begun but far from finished.

But I’m happy to report that since attending the recent workshop, I’m feeling better about this whole writing gig. I returned home with a new sense of direction, with my optimism refreshed, and with a renewed determination to write more.

I decided to jump on the task of writing more while still at the workshop. I came up with a new idea for a story and promptly set to work on it, writing the beginning at the workshop, another long section on the flight home, and finishing it over this past week thanks to my new writing schedule.

At 7,200 words this is a long short story, but no longer than it needs to be. 🙂

I’ll read it over at least one more time, but as of this morning I’m calling it done — which is an incredible relief. This is the first short story I’ve finished this year.

Next on the agenda: Back to work on the story I was laboring over before heading to the mainland. My goal is to have that done by the end of the week. Fingers crossed!

Posted on: Sunday, November 5th, 2017 at 9:47 am
Categories: Writing.
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8 Responses to “Finished a Short Story”

  1. Sara Stamey Says:

    Linda, this all sounds too familiar to me (maybe the state of the world?) I’m happy that you are recharged! I’m working toward my own re-engagement with a writing schedule….

  2. Deborah J. Ross Says:

    So glad to hear you’re writing again and having fun doing it!

  3. Linda Says:

    Thank you, Sara and Deborah! And best wishes on your own fiction projects.

  4. Keith Says:

    I am another who is delighted by more work from you! Sorry it is, at times, hard.

  5. Linda Says:

    Thanks Keith! I’ve long suspected I’m not a natural storyteller…
    🙂

  6. allynh Says:

    For someone who is not a “natural storyteller” your stuff seems to grab hold of me and rip me to pieces, more than not.

    When I’m reading your stuff, I find myself staying up well past my sell-by-date, unable to stop reading and go to bed, despite having read the stories many times in the past.

    I’ve been rereading _The War of Art_ by Pressfield since seeing this video that TPV posted.

    Do It/Don’t Do It
    http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/10/do-itdont-do-it/#comment-403626

    He talks about “Resistance” as an actual force. That the more important the task the greater the Resistance. When I read that, I remembered Star Trek: Next Generation and the Borg phrase, “Resistance is Futile”. I routinely feel the prose I’m working on is dull, boring, not important. When that happens, I shout, “Resistance is Futile!” and keep working to finish. Because I have learned that the same prose, read after it’s “done”, is a compulsive read, and I find myself reading it again and again.

    I found that:

    – Once I can no longer make changes to the text I am free to read it without “me” getting in the way.

    I look at it this way:

    – A book is not complete unless a stranger buys a copy of the book, and reads it.

    So, finish more stuff. Publish it so strangers can read and, thus, complete your stuff.

    And when Resistance strikes, just shout, “Resistance is Futile!” and keep writing. HA!

  7. Linda Says:

    Thanks, Allyn! We all have our different ways of working. What strikes me is the huge effect optimism has on my ability to write. The more confident I feel, the better I work!

  8. allynh Says:

    What is interesting to me, is that I will have a “waking dream” where I see/engage in an event that ties up my attention. I will often write down what I see, with excitement and enthusiasm. I will see more and add to my notes over time. Then the moment that I decide that this is a story to expand and turn into prose, I start falling asleep. HA!

    Once I get into the prose itself, expanding and discovering, I’m fine, wide awake. Then at a certain point, usually when generating the prose is nearing the end, I will find that the prose is dull, obvious, and I lose interest. I’ve learned that once I hit that point I need to go through and add color, put the things on the page that are in my head, but that I’ve somehow left off the page. That brightens me up again.

    Each time I am falling asleep, is what Pressfield calls “Resistance.” It happens each time that I’m about to do something “important.”

    I’ve learned that I have to simply finish what I started despite thinking that it is a waste of my time, because once the text is done and I can’t change it anymore, the prose is once again fascinating.

    This note is a perfect example. I was sitting here, falling asleep, because I was in the middle of laying out a new series, so I stepped away to kibitz. Now I’ll go back and finish a few more pages about the new series, still sleepy as can be.

    Remember: “Resistance is Futile!” HA!

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