The best place to start this blog lark is with a quick explanation of its title - why 'Scallops'?  
It came to me in a dream:  short stories are like scallops!  Similes and metaphors don't usually come to me in my sleep, I wish they did,  but on this occasion  I had watched rather too much of Hell's Kitchen before bedtime.  At some point, the wannabe chefs had competed to free perfect scallops from the gelatinous mass inside the shells. Craggy-faced Gordon was not pleased if any scallops had been spoiled in the process which, of course, most were.

A short story should also be small and perfectly formed:  it is the result of the skillful cutting down of a large, slippery concept in to a small, firm morsel of art.  As a writer still learning her craft, I know how easy it is to mutilate a good short story.  But I am hoping I'll get better with practice and - fingers crossed - that'll happen before my face turns too craggy...

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Scene it, done it

Taking a leaf out of my-friend-the-screenwriter's script, I am going to tackle my next short story in a scene by scene fashion.  I never plan out my stories.  I begin 50% with a full start-to-finish outline in my head.  In the case of the other 50%, I know where to start and hope that an ending will emerge during the writing.  It's the latter variety that end up with 7 or 8 versions before I'm happy.  What a waste of time and I ain't gettin' no younger.   

So, I'm going to experiment with a scene by scene treatment for the next story.  The scene synopses will set out the action against what I need to convey about the characters and the theme.  Only when I've worked out the story will I decide how to tell it i.e. tense, perspective, scene order. 

I am also going to attempt character profiles before I get stuck in too.  Not all of this information will make it in but I want to see if having fully rounded characters from the start helps the story-telling process or restricts it.   

At the moment, per story I spend about 40% of my time in production and 60% knocking what I've written into shape in post-production.   If this experiment pays off I'll be spending perhaps 40% in pre-production planning, 40% in production and 20% in post.  And, with luck, the overall schedule will be shortened so I up my productivity overall.  I'll let you know how it goes...

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