Posted September 9, 2010on:
A few days ago I completed my latest short story, for the PARSEC contest. The theme was catchy, I had a story idea, I had a plot. Naturally it took over. I had been working on my novel, Tales of Uncle. I hit a little speedbump with the Scriptures I was writing–they’re Scriptures after all, and have to sound like it–and this story idea came in and took the spotlight away.
It’s the hazard of having multiple story ideas running at once. If one story gets too tricky, another one that seems easier will be the more attractive target. I use this technique on tests, BTW, answer the easy questions first, they get the brain reminded of stuff that you can use to answer the harder questions, and so on. I never answer the questions on a test in order, and I don’t write my books that way. Within each book I write in order, I have no other way to do it, so being able to switch from book to book is a useful technique when one book isn’t talking to me and another is.
None of which has anything to do with decompression. I don’t know about other writers, but for me, a story will dominate my thoughts when I think about writing a story, so that I can only write that one story (unless I hit a speedbump). It’s a side-effect of my writing process, that follows the logic of the characters based on the situation to see what they’ll do to make a new situation for themselves. Sometimes, like Giles in the Restless episode of Buffy, you have to crawl along following a wire that leads to a tangle and spend days untangling it (without the scalping, thank you very much).
So when you’re finally done it can take a while to let your brain get away from that story and get it fixated on some other story. I have 2 other stories I’m thinking of doing, one is Tales, the other is a little horror thing I started years ago and dropped, both because it was dialog-less (and unlike Joss Whedon I was unwilling to accept that challenge back then) and because it’s a horror story, a vampire short that is different from any vampire short I’ve ever read, not that I claim to have read every vampire short there is. I just make every effort to have every story I write be different from any story I’ve ever read. So it goes without saying that this vampire short is different from ‘Bite Deep’, my last vampire short, which was also different from every vampire short I’d ever read.
Or I can blog.
Do you feel the need to decompress after a story? How do you do it?