With less than a week to go before the deadline I finally read aloud, the 3 quarters finished story for publication and I can hear everything that’s wrong with it and nothing that is right about it; at least not right for the brief. There are too many characters for a short story, the paranormal element still does not work and with no convincing ending in sight this cannot be submitted as is. It’s not ready, I’m not ready. And this is why I joined the writing group in the first place, to practise, to learn. Small challenges are offered every three weeks for that very purpose, but again I allowed impatience and the ridiculous obsession to tackle large complex tasks, to lead me to failure. I could rant all day but there were some positives.
The disappointment faded quickly and I regrouped immediately; there is always next year. I was relieved, life is delivering more than enough stress at the moment without adding more. Also the blindingly obvious ‘elephant in the room’ – failure is an unavoidable part of creative life and it has to be managed. If writing is a serious ambition; patience, practice, perseverance and balance are key factors that need to be respected and mastered; there is still a long way to go.
The creative growth out of this experience, came from the revelations about my writing style. No real surprises, but it was good to have them re-affirmed. I am almost compelled to write in episodes. I can never think of a suitable ending and with episodes there is no need; definitely room for improvement here or at least better technical savvy. I get quite involved with my characters and it can be hard to let go them go. The lesson is to recognise when a character has fulfilled their purpose and remember that once a story has been shared, the audience should be allowed to have their own sense of the character’s next development stage. Lastly, I have watched and continue to watch, a lot of television series and film franchises which have had a far bigger influence than I realised. Episodic writing is not a bad thing and it is clearly the type of writing I prefer; my MA lecturer agreed and steered me towards soap writing which he felt I had a natural instinct for. Thankfully it helped to formulate plan B, episodic writing is perfect for this space.