Words mean nothing if you can’t tell a story. Stories should have a purpose, whether it’s suggesting new ideas or encapsulating authentic emotions, otherwise what’s the point? My writing system helps me write efficiently because everything here ties together, even loosely. I have big ambitions for this recent untitled set of short stories starring Sammohini, a side character in “The Story,” so let’s explore the behind-the-scenes moments I captured while writing “Words Mean Nothing V.”
Thursday, February 8th
[8:35PM] Started the post. Wrote the first sentence. Had some brainstorming over the last week to lay down the foundation.
[8:52PM] Wrote 84 words. Used the Random Letter generator to pick F, then I, and found Fidelity to be a fitting name. Debating between using minifigs or drawing out the scene.
Friday, February 9th
[3:55AM] I always go through and edit what I’ve just written if I’m away from it for a few hours, or after sleeping. Sometimes that coaxes out a better story. Other times, it’s just semantics.
[5:22AM] Just blasted through the rest of the story. I had initially planned on drawing it out, but I compacted it down to the three story beats: set-up, conflict, resolution. This way, next week’s story can have a little more punch. I already know vaguely what I’ll write about. It’s just a matter of getting the inspiration throughout the week.
[5:32AM] Second to last read through. Just ironed out some bits, including details on Jane’s smoking habits. I still need to draw, build, or take a photo for the short story, so I’ll probably go through and edit once more. This story came to life much quicker than I imagined.
[5:38AM] Now, it’s the backburner time in the oven. When I write bigger pieces like this, more important, more substantial, I subconsciously think of the beats. Here’s this logical character, Jane. What breaks her? Are the “tells” in Fidelity’s side of the conversation clear enough? Then, I’ll go back either later tonight, or tomorrow morning, to finalize it.
[6:03AM] On my way back from rowing, I noticed the empty ashtray I leave out for some guests. It may not be the final shot, but that tells the real meaning of this story: how something can cause a minor breakdown in willpower. I certainly felt it yesterday.
[11:08AM] Sent the working draft to some colleagues to see if they wanted to read it over. I should give it the once over, too.
[11:11AM] I can modify some bits in the intro, mainly how I introduce Fidelity, along with verbiage related to smoking later on- that was a last minute change. Originally, Jane had a pack last her six months, in my mind, but they expire within days of opening them.
[12:47PM] I’m not quite sold on the photo. Maybe I’ll bring over a cup of coffee. No pack of cigarettes to sell it…
[4:37PM] I’ve already moved on from this post. That’s a good sign, because I’ll go in tomorrow with a fresh pair of eyes and edit it some more. Still need to think about the photo.
Saturday, February 10th
[7:10AM] I was thinking of drawing the final act, but then that wouldn’t work, and it’s already kinda later than I’d want if I wanted to begin drawing, so I think I’ll do a reshoot of that ashtray. Maybe I’ll clean it and have a lighter next to it? Or maybe I’ll just keep drawing this and maybe draw another to begin with at the coffee shop?
[7:24AM] I wanted to finish the concept of the outro drawing. I don’t think I’ll finish it. Now I’m going to start editing to see how the intro drawing might appear – do I want to draw it? If not, what can represent it?
[8:01AM] I’m OK with the dark shot of the ashtray and a rough sketch of the outro scene. I also coaxed out some more emotion from the phone call at the end. Sammohini calling out for Samuel to take care of Allie after she gets too fussy might be a little tricky in terms of verbal setup and execution, but I’m looking at authenticity of communication over dressing it up traditionally. If she were holding a phone and upset child, she wouldn’t wait- she’d ask for help mid-sentence so she could regain focus. Wouldn’t you do something similar?
[9:04AM] Published about 15 minutes ago? “Good set.” This was one of those pieces I’ve written, maybe about once a month, where I really feel motivated to share it with people. Now onto the next one.
[9:14AM] Final note, both this and the one above not featured in the Trello screenshot. If you want a sneak-peak of the short story that comes up next, highlight the obscured text here – Sammohini and Samuel invite Jane to stay the night. They know her well enough to know that when she gets into that sort of emotional, reserved state, that she shouldn’t be alone. She might be drunk by the time they pick her up. – otherwise, this was a fun analysis exercise. Short stories are becoming easier for me to write now. They used to be these massive undertakings, and I suppose the reason for that was I was writing too far away from what I knew. Now I just take my life and “edit it for television.”
Inspirations: “In Ten Years IV” hypotheticals.