Thursday, 28 February 2013

Short Story Writer: In the Flow: A Revelation

I've been a working hard on my writings all week. I've been working on five stories. Yep, I like to write on more than one thing at once.

Horror Flash = finished
Fantasy Flash = finished
Science Fiction story for an anthology
Fantasy story for an anthology

I was quite happy pootling away when my research for the science fiction led to another idea, and I got distracted and started writing another science fiction story.

And, oh. I got into the flow. That lovely feeling when the words were just flowing onto the page.

Afterwards, once the story was finished, I got to thinking. Why was it that story that was so enjoyable to write? It wasn't the science. It wasn't the length. It wasn't the premise. I had similar elements in the other stories, yet they hadn't been so much fun.

And here's my revelation. it was the fact that the my main character was an unreliable narrator. And I love reading short stories about unreliable narrators. And come to think of it, I love writing them, too.

And maybe that explains why in the horror genre, I've written so many Cthulhu stories, because I love reading them.

So that's my revelation. Write what you love. And you'll love what you write. (mileage may vary).

And in fact I remember reading that advice a few years ago. But it never crystallised for me at the time.

Now I'm going to be looking for story elements in my reading. I know that I've got a fondness for what I call character reveal stories, when the character doesn't solve problems but the emotional pay-off at the end of the story is the unexpected/yet somehow inevitable character reveal. Could I write one of those? I know I've got a fondness for sublime language. Could I do more with my prose?I like sarcasm and sly humour. I like happy endings. And what other elements make me enjoy  a story? What else can I be inspired by?

Oh, happy day.

What about you guys. Have you thought about this. Do you write what you love to read? Have you ever had a writers' revelation that is so obvious?


  1. I do try to write the kind of story I think I'd like to read.

  2. *laughs* it's obvious. Sadly, it wasn't obvious to me! I'm getting on fine with that BBC thing, Patsy. Thanks for the tip.

    see top right, everyone else if you're interested.

  3. Hee! Sometimes the obvious ones are the best :) One of my favourite ways to generate ideas is to take two different elements from stories I like, put them together & see what happens. It's always good fun!

  4. I tend to write what I want to read, but then I remember that no one wants to read what I want to read, so I go back and try to make what I want to read into something someone else might want to. From there it usually descends into a much of incoherence.

  5. I think I'm still trying to learn to write what I like to read, adding a bit more slipstream to my horror and fantasy. My biggest flow observation is switching gears from editor to writer. I'm in an editing mode now, so having fun polishing up some old works. Hope to switch back soon to writer mode and pen some good stuff for March.
    Congrats on your revelation and good luck getting those stories out there.

  6. I love reading English cozy mysteries and I ended up writing YA paranormal cozy mysteries. It's funny, but I haven't editing my second book yet because I'm so into my next WiP - hope this isn't a pattern :)

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  8. I really enjoy writing pulp; it's not the only thing I write, but it comes the easiest and I enjoy it the most -- even thought I don't read a lot of it. Whatever works for you; as long as it means getting to read more of your stuff, I'm all for it!

  9. I think write what you love is just about the best advice there is. And I love your idea of looking for those story ideas and approaches that really engage you. I do that too - althought it can sometimes spoil the simple pleasure of reading...

  10. Often what I love is when a writer pulls off something particularly cool or clever or gut-punching and I can't quite see how it's done. Usually I feel too intimidated to try to emulate it right away, but a while later I'll think about an element of that magic and try to fold it into a story. For me, that's a good way to try to expand my skills.