I’ve been trying to write a collection of short stories, but having difficulty getting started. My thoughts keep “sliding around” too. I get in my own way, overthinking things as per usual. Yesterday, I decided to try to push through the block, to write through it, and following is what I came up with. I think I have a starting point now.
The Inner Critic
I’m thinking about a story. Any guesses? No?
It’s going to be about a girl / woman / crone… or wait, maybe not.
Aha – “write what you know” so…
Okay, I’ll start there. It’s going to be about a girl, but with many perspectives.
Wait, by perspectives do you mean judgements?
Hmm. Well, maybe in some cases, yes.
Are perspectives always judgements?
No, not necessarily, it depends.
Depends on what?
On the person providing the perspective. Are they reliable, or not. Are they self-centred or not. For examples. Okay, so there’s a girl.
What makes her unique? Do we like her or hate her?
You mean “we” the reader, or “we” the other characters?
Wait – I haven’t even mentioned any other characters yet, you keep interrupting me.
Okay go on.
She’s a lonely girl, even though she’s surrounded by people. And don’t ask me if she’s got bad breath or b.o., she doesn’t. She’s an introvert and she hasn’t yet found her people.
Okay, okay, don’t you get so judgy now!
Right. Okay. So this girl doesn’t think she’s worth anything, so she…
Wait. By “worth”, what exactly do you mean. Are you talking monetary value here like slave or sex trade shit or do you mean she hasn’t found her own personal value?
If you’d just shut your trap and listen, all will be revealed. I’m going to ask you to just shut up now and wait for me to pause and then you can ask questions.
Sorry. I thought you wanted feedback. Jeeze, I’m only trying to help. I’ll leave now if you want.
No, no, no don’t leave, I do want your feedback. But not in bits and pieces. Let me give you a whole meal, or at least the first course, before you jump in. Seriously.
Okay. You should have told me the rules of engagement right from the get-go.
If I had known what they would be… wait. Yeah this is all just a stalling technique. I can see that now. I shouldn’t even engage with you right now, I’m not ready.
I’m thinking I should draw a picture that shows the story arc but I’m afraid that’s a time waster as well – I’d just stare at the axis and go blank. Really, it’s the writing that reveals the story. This writing, without critical voice dropping in (no offence), will reveal what wants to be written.
I’m thinking of a girl surrounded by people, but she’s lonely and she feels she’s not really being seen or heard. It’s a fictional story, timeless and could be set anywhere in the world and at any point in time.
The girl has a few friends who try to help her, and she helps them too yet together they can’t make any real progress. The girl realizes she needs to overcome her fears of being seen and heard to make any real progress in her life.
Along the way, she searches for and finally finds a teacher – a raven – who helps her to see herself as she truly is. Yes, there’s some kind of magic in this story, but it’s real magic.
She loses a friend or two on her journey, which is another challenge she needs to overcome. She has a few additional trials and tribulations and learns a bit each time – about the world, about people, about herself.
She also makes mistakes along the way and the reader may lose faith in the girl for awhile – and may even stop reading. Regardless, the girl (and the writer) must continue.
Eventually, the girl finds herself as someone she hadn’t ever thought she’d be, and is happy to find where she has landed, but sad to realize what she’s had to give up or lose along the way. She’s at the end of one story, and at the start of a new story at the same time.
Okay, now you can jump in.
Hmm okay there’s magic?
What kind of magic?
Everyday kind of magic.
Like a rainbow after a big storm. Like a tiny, fragile butterfly that migrates all the way from Canada to Mexico. Like salmon that are born in a riverbed in north-central BC and swims to the ocean and stays there for five years and then, somehow, find its way back to the exact same spawning ground where it was born. That kind of magic.
Okay, yeah. Will there be any humour in it?
Well, yeah I guess, where it fits, but it’s not intended to be a comedy.
Oh, that’s too bad. People like comedy.
Okay well then, will it be exciting?
I think the girl would call it “tumultuous”. So, yeah.
Thoughts? Feel free to share them here.