Ginger-Haired Twins, Friday Night’s Dream and Other Superstitions

spilled saltI’m working on a story in which one of the characters is very superstitious.

I have to decide if there is a particular superstition that is especially close to her heart. If there is, it’s bound to have an effect on what happens in the story.

Sharp-bladed gifts

When my husband gave me a pair of gardening clippers for my birthday (I did ask for them!), I wouldn’t take them until Continue reading

Hey, What’s She Doing? Developing Character In The Short Story.

The Illuminated Crowd, sculpture by Raymond MasonJust had two stories accepted, and finally, finally finished the final draft of another story. Feeling pretty chipper (as in ‘OK, now I know what I’m doing’), I re-opened a story I’ve been wanting to finish since July 2012.

So much for thinking I know what I’m doing! I’ve no idea how to get into this story. As I’ve mentioned before, I love first drafts. The next stage is like cracking a nut.

Some nuts just don’t crack easily. You might have a lousy nut-cracker or the shell is too thick and resistant. So you try it from this angle, then that, get out the hammer. Some nuts refuse to open and you have to toss them away. But, if you’re lucky, finally a hairline crack appears, and now there’s a chance of getting to the kernel.

“God gives the nuts, but he does not crack them.” Franz Kafka

When I was doing my MFA at Lesley University, my Advisor Brian Bouldrey wrote on one of my first drafts: “Now you’ll have to re-learn what you know.” At the time I had no idea what he was talking about.

But I’ve learned he’s right. There are Continue reading

After the First Draft – Next Steps

So there you have it: a first draft of your short story. What now? What’s the next step?next steps - prints in the snow (2)

In a previous post  I wrote about my struggle with how to continue with first drafts, especially those that had no clear ending, and how I learned to ‘dig deeper’.

Dig deeper. What does that mean? Continue reading