A few days ago, I began working on a story idea of the alien invasion variety, because the premise made me laugh and I thought it would be fun. Besides, I have wanted to do a series of short stories to test the market and see what people were responding to these days.
Well, the alien invasion story became more like an alien visitation. And then, I found that while it was entertaining in premise, there was no real conflict going on, and none of the characters had much to gain or lose. That’s the death knell for plotting.
One suggestion from another writer was to just write and let it come out on its own. Problem is, her methodology and mine are very different, as I’ve pointed out before on this blog in posts like Streaming & Quilting: Differing Methodologies in Novelwriting. Try as I might, I could not just become a conduit for that creative wellspring that flowed from my mind/higher consciousness/ subconscious, down through my arms and into my typing fingers. I need DATA…and from the data, comes my story when my brain starts to devise connections in the data. I spent several days just staring at the blinking cursor and waiting for the inspiration to seize me like some epileptic psychic channel.
Today, I had enough of that. This morning I was back to my usual methodology, doing research, both random and specific and seeing where the tidbits led me. The other methodology was, shall we say, a little ALIEN to me. I watched alien videos on Youtube (becoming only a little sidetracked by this one and this one, read articles in science mags, and finally, the puzzle piece that was missing dropped into place, and the ideas began growing on it like a fungus. This is how I write.
Like a fungus.
And a few minutes ago, I was further distracted by the bumblebee that likes to visit everyday, and makes a lot of buzzing racket so that I can’t concentrate. I managed to get him back out the window, and even took video of it on my phone (ever the registrar of all things).
Anyway. As soon as those ideas began to gel, I realized that my short story which is about 8,000 words, would likely be much longer than another 2,000 words or so. It might end up being a novella. But I have that little quickening in my writerly bones and when that happens, I know I must heed it and follow where it leads me. I’d spent DAYS waiting for that quickening. So, not sure where it will go, exactly, but at least it’s got fuel.
Now, my only concern is after it’s finished, how many reviewers will spoil it for others by revealing the surprises. A personal peeve of mine that’s growing stronger every day. But I can’t think about that right now. I have work to do.