My Weird Writing Process (For One Story)

I wrote some flash fiction yesterday! Click here to read it. It’s been so long since I’ve been able to concentrate enough to do that. When I sat down to write it all I had was the determination to do it and not much else. This particular story went through an unexpected evolution. Most of the flash fiction I write starts off with an idea that pops into my head or a prompt.

If you read my blog you know I’ve had back problems and I’ve been very sick for a week. Yesterday I was feeling halfway decent and I decided that I was going to write a flash fiction story. I stared into space for a while, listened to some music and glanced through my idea notebook trying to come up with something, anything to write. Space and my bedroom walls did nothing for me, music didn’t work and all the ideas in my notebook are things I want to either spend more time on or are for longer stories. For a moment I thought about working on a longer story but I’m pretty stubborn and I told myself I was writing flash, period!

I turned to prompts. I searched WordPress tags for: prompts, prompt, writing prompt, writing prompts and 100 words. Nothing really grabbed my attention. I don’t know if I was being moody or extra picky or what, but I searched for an hour, going back days in the list of blog posts and came up empty. I even went through my own Wednesday and Saturday posts looking at previous prompts.

Eventually a vague idea hit. I don’t know where it came from. For all I know it was from the third or thirtieth prompt I saw or from thin air. I was going to write about a lady who wanted to make a garden but was scared to.   My very first thought was the first sentence: “Sara hated gardening.” I didn’t know what it was but something about it bothered me, but I forged ahead, writing whatever came to me. I was 400 words in before I realized that I didn’t know where I was going with it. Originally Sara was going to hate snakes. They say write what you know, and I know I hate snakes so that worked for me. As I wrote a bit of description for those horrid creatures I got a little freaked out. Add that to not having any way to twist the story and I had 400 useless words.

Then I decided to change the animal from snakes to something people don’t normally find threatening. This was an interesting process because I had to figure out many words to use that were descriptive and I didn’t want repeats. Thesaurus.com is my friend suggesting creature, monster, critter, beast, vermin, etc.

After going through a few different animals I settled on the final one, which meant I had to make several changes to the story. I also realized the name Sara didn’t really fit the character so I renamed her. By the time I was finished it was sitting at a little over 600 words. I figured I should whittle that down to 500 but since I hadn’t planned that from the beginning I decided not to have the restriction.

There is still something about the piece I’m unsatisfied with but I don’t know what. It’s probably the fact that I haven’t written anything in so long. Maybe it’s because the process was so different from what I’m used to. What really matters though is I sat down with nothing but the will to write and ended up with a story. I wasn’t feeling inspired. The mood to write hadn’t struck. I was simply irritated with myself for not writing lately, no matter the reasons/excuses, and I was determined to write one story. I could say I wish that it hadn’t taken so long to come up with something but the truth is, I was getting in my own way.

My normal process is not normally so messy but I’m all for using whatever works.

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7 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your process. I don’t have a process in hand when writing, so it’s nice reading how other writers tend to get inspire to write something. It gives me ideas and not to mention inspires me. 🙂

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  2. I haven’t completed enough projects to fully know what my writing process is. I like to experiment with different tools and new ways of doing certain things, so I’m sure my process will change over time and maybe even vary depending on the specific project. I do like to discover things while writing, so I’ll probably always incorporate some level of discovery writing into my projects, where I basically take a primitive idea for a scene or piece of backstory and see what happens. Some of it even ends up in first drafts.

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  3. Having read the story already – it’s interesting to see what the process behind it was.

    Perhaps you are just being unduly harsh and hard on yourself. When physical pain is an overwhelming factor in your life – and all the pleasures or “necessities” – and I would probably suppose writing is a necessity for you? – end up playing second fiddle – this in itself is a huge proposal to accept.

    Approaching the idea of creation – in any form – and coming at it – after a period when you haven’t been well – well, kudos for the determination – but I think you already know, because you mentioned it – that your approach was too fixed. In the end, you still ended up with an interesting piece – and I think maybe you are dissatisfied because there could be more character development? It was flash fiction – yes – perhaps longer than you intended – but none the less – you should be happy with your efforts.

    And just as a side note: yesterday seemed to be an “off” day for creating/writing for quite a number of “regulars” – don’t know if it was the weather, or the stars – or whether muses went on rotating strike – but it was slow going for many. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. And there you have it – you’ve unblocked and are well on your way. 🙂

        I guess the point of always remembering that each piece is a step – in some means and fashions – in the creative process helps. 🙂

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