I did it, everyone! I managed to wrestle my short story into a first draft!
Now, don’t get me wrong – it’s a rough first draft, but 1,645 words and a shaky ending are better than 475 words that dwindle off into nothingness.
Think of it as: I’ve won the preliminary fight and I’m ready to go for the belt! There’s still work to be done, but I’m in a much better place than I used to be.
To get to this point, I had to question a lot of things about this story:
Is the narrator the only person who knows the truth?
Does everyone else also know the truth? And how does that change the narrative?
What exactly is ‘the truth’?
Is the ‘protagonist’ the first?
Have there been others? If so, how many?
How does this character compare to everyone else?
I mean, I basically had to question the whole darn plot, but sometimes you gotta do that (especially if you’re the kind of person who gets hung up on pedantic things, like yours truly). I’m not throwing words down and hoping that they’ll make sense – I’m making sure that the mythology of the world I’m creating fits the kind of story I want to tell.
And now that I have a better idea about what this story’s made of, the next round should go a lot smoother. Fights are always easier once you’ve sussed out your opponent’s weak points*.
So to anyone out there who thinks that stories can’t be tamed or thinks that they have to be perfect the first time – think again! It can be difficult putting down words you aren't confident in, but sometimes you’d got to push past that feeling and get something – anything – on the page. You can always re-write it later.
As I mentioned in the footnote of a previous post: “Sometimes you’ve got to write a lot of wrong to figure out what’s right.”
*Is this analogy still working?**
**I've now come to realize that the title relates more to Boxing than Wrestling, but titles are hard, guys...***
***Also, I tried to make a point about ‘killing your darlings’ but then it didn’t fit with the edits, so I had to kill it. Gotta walk the walk, my friends.****
****ALSO, I make a reference to ‘killing your darlings’ in that blog post I referenced, so… coincidence?