Today's StoryADay challenge was to write a drabble. A drabble is a story of 100 words. This is what I ended up with for my first attempt. Your feedback would be appreciated:
When I Became
“First, there must always be magic,” she said.
She glowed in concentration as she held my hand. Her power searched through me for whatever power of mine lay dormant. I hadn't believed when she told me I had something, but she'd since taught me trust.
Then came the moment I became something else, something new. It was so distinct. It felt like both a tearing and an awakening. It was only then I realized I wasn't ready.
It terrified me.
She recoiled. So I was powerful, then.
Since I could, I rose into the air and decided to take everything.
Ernest Cline speaks at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC, 4/20/2016
I'm a writer who isn't writing. For the last several weeks I've been in a rut, possibly due to the umpteen rejections I've been receiving, perhaps due to mental fatigue, perhaps due to a lack of motivation. This period follows an intensely productive period where I started and finished half a dozen stories, took a class, and attended a workshop.
I hit the proverbial wall. My motivation dried up. My creativity went dormant.
Last night I may have gone and gotten myself all reinvigorated. I listened to Ernest Cline speak at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC. If you're not familiar with him, you should know he's the author of Ready Player One, a fantastic book that is essentially Charlie and the Chocolate Factory except it involves virtual reality instead of a chocolate factory and the contestants must know all kinds of stuff about the 80's.
Cline told his "origin story". He grew up on a farm in the 80's in the same pop culture I did. He wrote a sequel to Buckaroo Banzai for fun. He wrote a movie entitled Fanboys about being a huge Star Wars nerd...and it got made! He wrote RPO, then sold the rights for both the novel AND the film within a 48-hour period! He set up a brilliant scavenger hunt contest with clues in his book but didn't tell anyone until the eve of its paperback release. The grand prize was a DeLorean. Stephen Spirlberg's directing the RPO movie. His second book, Armada, is a bestseller right now.
As I listened to him speak, I started to get a little annoyed about how much he was talking about himself. It then dawned on me that of course he was talking about himself because that's why the people came to see him speak (some drove as many as 5 hours). It then dawned on me that the reason I was getting annoyed was because I was straight up jealous! Ernest Cline is living my frickin' dream.
His talk was full of absolute joy, with the primary theme being, "Can you believe all this awesome stuff is actually happening to a schlub like me?"
At one point he stopped to say that he isn't able to write for some imaginary audience. He writes things that, as a reader, HE would find awesome and exciting and cool.
By golly, that's why I do it. That's what I'd forgotten. That's what I'm going to do again.
It's the joy, stupid.
Written April 20, 2016, but posted later due to life and reasons.
Tonight I started the StoryADay challenge. The challenge is to write a story every day for the month of May. Details can be found here.
The first challenge was to write a story in 30 minutes, about a character created with traits you like to read about. The story should explore the idea of something that character would never ever do, while putting them in a situation where they are faced with the choice of having to do that thing. All this must be accomplished in 30 minutes, no more.
I did it. I have a complete story that I'd say is a solid first draft. It may be one of the scariest things I've ever written. My character is one whose life is about taking care of kids. He's a Cub Scout Pack Leader, on a camping trip with his Pack. Things go horribly wrong and he has to make a terrible choice.
A couple of things I learned:
The StoryADay folks did a good job setting up a well-structured prompt. The time limit and the instructions on how to handle it were great.
A story can be written in 30 minutes.
I experimented with what I thought was Hemingway's suggestion to write drunk. As I researched to write this post, it looks like that quote might've been incorrectly attributed to him. In any event, a couple of whiskey shots followed by a nice glass of Frangelico shots seemed to do the trick for me. In fact, I'm writing this post while still slightly buzzed. Wheeee!!!
I'm glad this started on a weekend. Who knows if I'll be able to actually pull this off for 30 days straight, but we'll see. Right now, I'm stoked.