As mentioned in my previous post, during the coming weeks I will develop my writing style by creating a short story and exploring various story-telling techniques. I welcome your comments on both the process and the story itself. While I plan on submitting the finalised draft for publication, I’ll be aiming for a student magazine and, if it gets published, will credit this blog’s community. So, please get involved. I’d love to know what you think.
First things first – the story. If I don’t have an idea, I ask myself what the story is going to be about. i.e. what do I feel like writing? I get a lot of positive feedback on my speculative fiction stories, so I’ll stick to one of those.
All stories need a point of view character. For a little fun, my main character will be an alien disguised as a human. I’ll make it a male and his name will be Martin.
When developing a story I tend to go for the most dramatic situation I can think of. After a car accident, Martin regains consciousness about to be scanned by an MRI machine that will reveal his true origin. Something needs to stop him from moving or objecting so I’ll strap him to the gurney and shove a tube down his throat. I like that. I’m hoping his being restrained will create some sympathy for Martin, as he really is a nice guy… err, alien.
The story is starting to take shape in my mind. At this point, I usually give some thought to secondary characters to give the story depth and perspective. Perhaps an unnamed group of faceless doctors and nurses to represent society, and a concerned wife. A human wife that doesn’t know his secret – the plot thickens!
I find writing the first draft in longhand helps to get the story down in a quick but controlled manner, while allowing me to switch off my analytical mind and free my creativity. I haven’t mastered getting into this frame of mind but it has become easier with practice. I promise to share my techniques, for now the story is screaming to be told…
Martin regained consciousness while entering the MRI machine, a dull feeling his body was broken in many places by the car accident. His wife peered through the observation window, oblivious to the chaos about to ensue. When he tried to voice an objection, a tube down his throat allowed only a gurgle. Straining against the restraints only earned him an injection of sedatives. As his vision faded, he realised he could do nothing to prevent the examination from exposing his unearthly origin.
Time to digitise the story. I open my new story template, save the file as Draft 0 and type it out with minimal changes. As usual, I’m not entirely happy with the wording and can see many ways to improve it. I remind myself it’s only a rough draft and run it through the spellchecker. While doing so, a working title springs to mind: For Better or Worse.
I rename the file to FBOW-0, and save it to a new folder named FBOW and do my best to not open them for a few days.