Beginner's Mind

I’m a full time short story writer again. I’m writing and submitting a short story every week. I’m on my fifth week and I’m learning a lot just by doing the practice.

For example, on this week’s story I was having trouble making a character fit into the plot. I thought she needed to be there, but she just didn’t want to be, and I couldn’t understand why. For one thing, she was crucial to the ending. So I gave her more to do. I had her confront the hero of the story. I did her back story. I raised her stakes in the story. All of these can be effective strategies, but she still stubbornly refused to come alive in any way. She just wasn’t connected to anything else in the story.

Oh, yeah. Seems I forgot to do that. Oops.

So I gave her a relationship with another character in the story. I made her the hero’s friend’s daughter, and wow, everything just clicked into place.

It was obvious, but only obvious after I had tried just about everything else.

So I’m learning. Keeping my beginner’s mind and being open to the process.

I’ll let you know how it’s going.

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One Response to Beginner's Mind

  1. Stephanie says:

    I’m starting to notice an awful lot of resemblance between parenting and authoring. People talk exactly like you’ve just done here when they talk about raising their kids — IF they’re really paying attention to it, I mean. If they’re raising kids to be eventual grownups, with their own separate lives and such.

    It hit me here: “So I gave her more to do. I had her confront the hero of the story. I did her back story. I raised her stakes in the story.”

    And here: “It was obvious, but only obvious after I had tried just about everything else.”

    Oddly, fiction becomes more possible for me to write, when I think of accessing a couple of decades of NON-fiction (aka, my own life!) Interesting …

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