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...

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Best Laid Plans

Well.  That didn't work.  In my last post, I proclaimed I would plan my next short story before I began writing in the hope it would shorten the overall process.  

I am here to tell you, it doesn't work.  Not for me, anyway.  Oh well, I tried.

I dutifully plotted my latest story, Gator Joe & The Mosquito, scene by scene.  But the minute I began, a new character came out of nowhere and totally took over and the treatment went out the window.    The problem I found was that in finding ways to show - rather than tell - I introduced a character as a device, found I liked him and before I knew it a whole new strand of the story emerged.  

I realise now my plan was foolish because creativity doesn't flourish when it can't flow freely - a wild river's course is more interesting and beautiful than a system of canals.  I also realised I enjoy being taken by surprise by my writing and letting it carry me off down random tributaries - an appropriate analogy given that the new story is set in the Louisiana Bayou.  

Any avid readers will be surprised by this.  In a previous post I declared that all my writing was very British but I thought I would take a break from High Tea and crumpets.  I will report on the successes and failures of this new venture in a forthcoming post - at least that's the plan but don't hold you breath 'cos we now know how bad at planning I am.

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