IWSG Post 18: How to Decide Which Story to Write First
[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]
Thank you so much!
Define sto·ry (according to Google)
- 1. an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment: “an adventure story” synonyms: tale, narrative, account, anecdote, yarn,
- 2. an account of past events in someone’s life or in the evolution of something: “the story of modern farming”
Stories come from everywhere.
Scenario A: Driving in your car in the middle of rush hour traffic, some careless driver is hot on your tail. Obviously, you’re moving too cautiously with a car length of space between you and the driver ahead. In the mirror, you see the impatient driver behind you. They try to pass you on the shoulder. What do you do? You might do what I did and you block him. Then you realize his impatience has turned to rage and the next action could have been the last.
Scenario B: Maybe at work, a big management person who gets stuff done, does so by yelling and barking out orders. Maybe she is happy when tasks work out, but never hands the credit to the person who deserves it. Her teeth are razor sharp and you swear every word is laced with venom. You keep your eyes glued to your computer, praying, Not me, not today.
Outcome: Suddenly the man in the car becomes a fire-breathing demon … or an alien beamed through light, through another human body just to irritate you. The woman in the office turns Python, coiling up in the shadows in wait for you to position yourself just right. If you do, she’ll strike and you’ll bleed, then she’ll track you. Mercilessly. She plans to tear you limb by limb as you scream.
So to answer this month’s IWSG question, “Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?”
I have not. However, I have kept them all and plan to revisit at least one of them once I’ve completed the stories I can’t stop thinking about. My mind tends to fill up with all sorts of ideas when I sit down and ponder.
What are the reasons stories shift?
- We age. We experience new things.
- Passion drives story. With new experience comes new passion in different topics. My characters have changed because I have changed.
- Stories transcend out of other stories. I tend to write the plot that has become the thorn in my side I can’t seem to heal until it’s done. As stated by Robert Jordan, “Belief and order give strength. Have to clear the rubble before you can build.” My rubble is a current story or two. They beg me to put them first.
How to Prioritize?
Largely, two things come to mind: passion and need. If you face a writing deadline or theme, certainly that story plot and character will trump any of the others you may want to write. Next, passion tends to push the creative mind to wander. I do believe we write from our hearts and our joys, not necessarily what we consider ourselves to be experts at. I love research just as much as I love to write. Back in high school, my interests were different. I researched and wrote historical fiction topics. Today, I explore the magical possibility in everyday life. I choose the story based on the character in my mind who speaks stronger. If worse comes to worse, I can always play a quick game of rock paper scissors with my kids over the topic, or, there’s always the option of a coin toss.
Question: How do you decide which story to write first? How do you prioritize your projects? Do you find yourself dreaming stories up through everyday occurrences and writing them out?
Blog Tour Hosts
The authors in the Hero Lost Anthology are looking for some blog tour hosts. If you’re interested and you think you have time during the month of May, please click the google docs form lovely author Sarah Foster created and sign up.
Thank you and have a lovely rest of your day. 🙂