You’ve had a moment of creative insight and written madly and wildly, or you’ve toiled tirelessly on a story urging you for expression. You have painstakingly reviewed the story, working it through multiple drafts, fine tuning the structure, the language, the characters, the intricate plot. At last, the final piece is ready – the best story you’ve written so far! Now what?
In ‘Selecting the right slice of life’ by Cate Kennedy, Kennedy talks about finding stories in fragments of ordinary life. It is a concept that is very familiar to me. I write to explore and discover my own meaning; I write to work life out. I have always written fragments: snippets pondered over or hastily scrawled. Kennedy says “…stories give our experiences coherence.” Snippets, I find, are quick to write ‘on the go’, they sit waiting to be developed further, or incorporated into some other piece of writing, or are simply left as they are: fragmentary, a complete moment.
What writers do is write…I’m sure you’ve heard me say this before, as have many people before me. At times, writing on particular projects can be labored and finding ideas becomes like panning for gold in modern day teen accessory store! When this happens to me, I do some writing activities. Any writing is better than none, plus, in my experience, this is the quickest way of finding hidden gems.
I collect first lines…from novels and short stories – from anything really. I don’t only select first lines from novels I like and read in their entirety, but aim for a broad range of styles, genre, etc. I like the idea of taking these lines out of the context within which they were written and seeing what I can create around them, seeing what writing they inspire within me, once I have forgotten their original context.