Uncle Josh is also prone to exaggeration. I have managed to get through the 11th prompt of the book and my 4th 7-Sentence Story. Technically, this was Saturday’s effort and I’m behind, but I’m not going to worry about that. What I am going to worry about is not finding a good story in the prompt, because reasons. These are still Pulp-Era prompts, and I’ve enjoyed launching the first Jet Pack and exploring Space Worms and having logical arguments with Psychic Mimes. However, I am finding some of them impossible or just plain silly. I have introduced the first sloe gin to Mars, created a mob hit man with a unique killing method, and brought Cthulu’s ambassador back from the far reaches of space.
Tonight, though, I found myself rewriting West Side Story. In Space.
Some lessons, so far, have been good. One of the ideas behind the seven-sentence story is that the reactions are the direct result of the main character’s action, and it is simply an unintended consequence of their action. Many times in my fiction my characters are reacting against an unknown enemy, and so the failures aren’t really their fault, but the direct or indirect action of my villains. My main characters become witnesses, not agents, of change.
This (still) being the Year of the Novella, I realized some stories are too big for flash fiction, and cannot easily be retold without cutting out some vital bits. If Romeo doesn’t kill Tybalt, the story loses a lot, and it’s not a shortcut to skip that bit. I have, however, begun to feel better about ways to get enough story to make a Novella actually happen.
I’ve been trying to get the time and energy to turn 2015 into the Year of the Novella. Clearly, making plans is a sure way for them not to come to fruition. So I turned to the 100 prompts program to build momentum. That hasn’t worked. One story got through the whole process and is on market. Stories two and three are sitting waiting for me to compile the critiques from April 7. Story Four needs serious re-writing. Story Five failed. Story Six failed. Story Seven Failed, and the reboot of Story Seven failed. I’m talking “what is the next word going to be” kind of failure for a couple of weeks.
I have lost my momentum.
Last night I ran my critique group through Jim Van Pelt’s Seven Sentence Story, which is always fun and I’ve done in several times and tried to expand it. So, to switch up the momentum, I’m going to start with prompt 8 and push forward, writing seven-sentence stories, one a day, hopefully two, maybe even three, until I get through the book.
I will admit that some seeds have been planted. Now I need to deepen the well and get back to work.