But anyway, that's not what I wanted to share today. The Politick and I were chatting, and with lack of a better topic, I said:
"I'm changing the subject. writing exercise - u have 120 seconds after i send u a segement of a short story to come up with a paragraph-ish of what happens next OR another part of the same story."
I then sent her this short segment of a story that popped into my head a few nights ago:
Clutching her small pink bag to her chest, she stepped reluctantly into the dingy shop.
“Hello?” she called. There was no reply. The displays sitting on the shelves had a light coat of dust. She cleared her throat and tried again. “Is anyone there?”
Still no response. She watched a spider crawl into a crack in the wall. She stepped forward. Her heels clicked on the concrete through the ragged rug. She pushed aside a curtain and peered into the back room. A man sat facing the wall, eyes closed, head slumped on his desk.
“Sir?” she asked. He didn’t move. She had come too late.
And then I said, "go."
60 seconds later, she sends me this:
"the shop was already closed. she squeezed her eyes hut and opened them, blinking rapidly to clear the colors that dotted her vision. the man was alseep. he was always asleep at the same time. the same time. she knew this, yet she had arrived too late. what was wrong with her? she needed to talk to the man. urgently. she hurried over to his side and tapped on his shoulder. a flash of light and a tugging behind her naval and she hit the wall with a sharp crack and fell to the ground with a sobbing groan piercing the silence. she glared at the man. how dare he turn on his force field when he knew she was to visit him?"
It was so great. Her imagination knows no bounds. I am so lucky to be friends with her. She also sent me a piece of creative writing that I believe she will be posting on her blog, Curious Sparkplug, within the next couple of days.
Another thing I wanted to mention, which is one of the reasons I sent The Politick that challenge in the first place, is to say how wonderful it is to write with someone else. When I wrote those 7 lines, I could not continue the story. I was immediately overwhelmed with questions and directions I could take. Some people complain about not having enough to write - my problem seems to be the opposite. There is so much to write that I couldn't possibly get it all down.
Take the example of the story segment above. That tiny section of text opens up pages of potential things to write about. In my mind (although not in The Politick's), the man was dead. Okay, so if he's dead, who killed him? Why? Why at that particular time instead of some other time? Who is the woman? Why is she in the shop? Does she know the man? Is she looking for something? Does she know the killer? Etc on and on and on... and let's say he's not dead, the route that The Politick took, that opens up even more questions. I'm sure I could fill up pages with ways the story could go, and questions I'd have about where to take it. Actually, that could be a fun writing exercise...
Anyway, getting back to my point, writing with a partner takes away so much of that pressure. I feel very little pressure with these overwhelming questions when I write something like Rudolph and Isadora. Even if I did have something I wanted to investigate plot-wise, I could only do it in my couple of paragraphs. I can't plan ahead for anything, because 9 times out of 10, The Politick will take it in a totally new and unexpected direction. Which is good, because it keeps the story from getting stale. Also, in a story I write by myself (e.g. The Golden Night), I have complete control over how I shape my story. If I choose to go one direction instead of another, that's the way it's going to be and there's nothing to change it. But if I go off in my own direction on a shared project and I miss something important, I have The Politick to cover for me. Working together provides both a safety net, a fresh take on the story, and someone to turn to in case you have absolutely no idea how you're going to get from A to B. What I really want to say is, thanks, Politick, for writing with me.
Check back soon for new Rudolph and Isadora posts as well as a new segment of The Golden Night (I think I finally got chapter two in the general vicinity of where I want it. And it doesn't have to be perfect. That's what rewrites are for).