I’m still struggling with endings, though. So often I’m writing along, happy in my writer’s cocoon. Then I notice the time and realize that I need to find an ending. So far, I have but I’m not always happy with them. In fact, I’m not happy with a lot of them. Several of these stories beg for more length and development. I think that’s a function of my default writing style, which seems to hit a good end point naturally around 5~6k words.
Now, I’d like to try to write shorter but still pleasing stories. In fact, I’d hope I’d strike gold this past week or two, since I have to submit a story to the Cascade Writers Workshop. They have a hard word count limit of 3750 words. I don’t have a ton of short stories that hit that mark. I’d hoped this ‘30 in 30’ challenge would shake something out. But my best work these past few weeks have been, you guessed it, a little over 5k words.
My latest attempt to try something different is to try to come up with an ending before I start writing. Have I mentioned in the past how hard that is? Well, it’s pretty damn hard. I got lucky with Angel Odyssey, that ending coming to me even before the rest of the story. Since then, I’ve mostly been discovering my endings.
The problem with coming up with the ending first is it runs into my biggest challenge: time. I have 2 to 3 hours to write these stories, what with work and commutes and little things like food and sitting down for a minute to reboot. If I had unlimited time in a day, say at a retreat, I might be able to sketch things out, brainstorm and find an ending that way.
Same root cause of my problems with conflict. A lot of these stories would be a lot more interesting if there were more conflicts and if the conflicts I did have had higher stakes. That kind of thinking does come to me, but it doesn’t always come while I’m writing. My subconscious is good but it’s not always THAT good.
So what’s to do?
Well, I’ll keep trying to focus on endings, and conflicts. I’ll write my opening hook in the morning before work and hope my brain can stew on it until evening. We’ll see what happens.