Story Exploded

POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Story Exploded

By Nandy Ekle

It happened again. I woke up listening to a voice telling me an adventure. As the words scrolled across the great movie screen in my head, I realized that would make an amazing story. Probably ten or fifteen pages, a nice juicy short story at best.

As a “pantser” (one who writes “by the seat of their pants”), trying not to do so much planning that all the fun turns into a fill-in-the blank, essay-ish type of work, I took out my trusty computer, opened the word processor and let my fingers transcribe the scenes playing out in my head.

And then I came to a decision-making moment. Sometimes this is where I get locked down, waiting for the characters to tell me what comes next. Most of the time I can see the scenes clearly, but the transitions between the scenes is the muddy white noise part of the brain-feed movie going on. So I have to think for a minute. This is usually not wise if I want a short story because a lot can happen in a decision-making moment.

In this story I began to see twists and turns multiply to look like a roller coaster gone haywire. The hidden truths I will build to are good ones. In fact, I broke out in goosebumps and giggled like an insane madwoman every time a new twist popped up.

Research. I needed to research a couple of things I knew nothing about. And I had to research some things I knew a little about, and one or two things I completely understood, but wanted to find a way to connect to the new things I would be learning. And all the while a new secret would wink at me and I would giggle a little more.

So now I look at my “short story” and realize it’s a good tale, but it exploded into an outright novel. Only, I absolutely don’t want to say it out loud because the muse will pack up and leave me holding a paper cutout of my character in one hand and an dry ink pen in the other.

So, for the moment, we will continue to call this a short story.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

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