Recently, I finished a 14-week critique group aimed at securing first drafts and 2nd, 3rd, or 4th revisions so we could experience our stories through the eyes of another. We were nineteen strong, with what looks like eight(including moi) submitting the requisite six(6) samples. The samples had an odd limit of 960 words. Most of us, meself included, clocked in around 850 per rendering. Typically, my scenes are 1600-2400 which made the word count a little more challenging, but limits are what make us stronger, are they not?
To help us out, one of the moderators suggested we look at what we write as either “Plot”, “Premise”, or “Prose”. For me, I’ve always found Plot to be the more daunting of the trifecta. This is why I outline, timeline, and outline some more. Next on the “I-don’t-wanna” scale is probably forming up a decent Premise from the wet clay at my feet. I literally comb old newspapers and books with crumbling pages for an idea that’s fresh and never-before-seen. This is why my first fifty pages tend to invert like a sea star’s belly at the all-inclusive buffet before I have something I’m willing to share.
Now, what I can do on a roughly 50/50 basis is to pen a lurid phrase and make you truly believe that small and clever serpent is not only housebroken but responds to a high F# bell and enjoys his milk and crickets after dispatching the curmudgeon last heirs in their sleep, [Doyle; S.Holmes - The Speckled Band, sort of ].
I’m not the greatest of grammarians, but I’ve learned literary writing differs from Junior High essay writing, and once we can fully embrace a well-intentioned fragment, or have fun with a rollicking run-on, then I think we tend to become more passionate writers.
So, my question to anyone who cares to reply; Where do you fall? Do we zip along on your plots, its twists, and turns, and later ourselves into a frantic sweat? Will we gasp and reach for a [small] brandy when fully understand the consequences of failure? I shall we need find a shady spot in the apple’s orchard, or hunker tight in the clammy confines of an old home steeped in betrayal?
What do you think?