Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Post to Nowhere

Yesterday I posted some flash fiction. Since I was running late with finishing it, I had no chance to really consider why it ended up the way it did. It had sat dormant for 3 days before I decided to button it up. What a difference 3 days makes. My original idea was for a thriller of sorts with death, blood and destruction. Millie would be the "bad seed" infiltrator who worms her way into victims homes for her parents. Boss John and Martha ending up skewered and hanging from different beams in the barn. Their house plundered before it was torched. The story would end with Millie being "discovered" wandering forlorn and lost in a city park in Baltimore. If you have read it, then you know this is hardly how it turned out.

I only make note of this because again I am struck by how odd writing fiction has been for me. I'll start something with specific plot goals and character descriptions in mind and often it works out close to how I envisioned it. In other pieces it all goes to Hell in a hand basket and what I start with is nothing close to what I finish with. I had evil in mind when I started this one and out of the blue, the boy scout in me took over and well, I am pretty surprised with how schmaltzy it turned out. Which is fine. It is what it is.

I did have a point before I was rudely torn away by some stupid cat nonsense. The sounds of a cat winding up their puking machine just outside my door. And oh look. A nice warm sloppy stinky present right there waiting for me to step in it. You little bastards...........

Anyway, so I had a point, but am now struggling to retrieve it from the short term memory file. Dealing with cat barf always throws me off my game. At least this time I remembered the trick my daughter taught me. It is physically impossible to barf if you hum. So there I was happily humming away as I cleaned up still warm and freshly stinking cat puke. Stomach didn't sympathetically convulse once. Humming does indeed work.

Yes. I finally remembered or at least think I did, the point. My from the hip style of writing is fine for farting around. But I can tell now that I need more control and discipline when I write. All too often my stories go off topic and head south. No more perfect example exists than my offering here.

The image comes from Jeremy Mayer - a gifted sculptor whose work you should check out.


David Barber said...

Mike, I thought your story rocked. Well written and heartwarming. Maybe that's your forte. You are a boyscout at heart and that's where you should write from???

Regards, David.

sunshine said...

I loved that story too! There was nothing wrong with it.
So in the end you weren't in the mood to write gore. So what?
Perhaps another time you can revisit that story and write a sequel.
Who knows what happened to them all after the little girl came to live with them.......

So in closing I'd like to say.."shut up. you're awesome". :D
The End.


Kulkuri said...

I thought the story was good. I can see where your other idea for the story would be more interesting and leave the reader hanging and wondering when it would end. Your story wrapped up neatly with the reader not wanting to see "the rest of the story".

Carlita said...

Add me to the list of people who liked that story. Interestingly, I often hear fiction writers (including Roxana Robinson, one of my favorites) say that their characters take on lives of their own and often take the story in very different directions than orginally planned. So you're in good company.

MRMacrum said...

To all - I did not want to give the impression I was unhappy with my tale. Far from it. I enjoyed writing it, even if it did not go as planned. I was just making some observations about the whole process of writing a fictional tale. No matter what approach I use, the story always seems to find it's own way. Either that or I trash it.

David Barber - Hmm. You might be right. But I still don't feel comfortable in any one genre. But thanks for the kind words.

sunshine - Thanks. I liked it also. Maybe it is just me, but every story or piece I write, upon re-reading them, I see words I could have used differently or better.

Kulkiri - You point up one of my tendencies I am trying to not use every time. So far, most of my stuff leaves too much up to the reader. I wanted this one to have a clear beginning and ending without seeming out of place with the flow of events.

Carlita - Mark Twain alluded to the same thing. I guess it is a natural component of this writing gig.

Bernita said...

Ah, thank you for the humming tip!
I have a superior gag reflex...maybe humming will help.