Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Some things I did today:

  • decided and believed that I'd write non stop between 10am and 12noon and in those 2 hours finish the story I'm working on for the Guardian competition
  • wrote very little between 10am and 12noon.
  • decided at 12noon that even though I only had today to really make progress with that short story, I was just far too tired and would have to lay on the sofa and watch Brothers and Sisters
  • got a second wind at 12.01 and changed my mind right back to: I WILL WRITE THIS STORY TODAY! In fact, I decided, I'd finish it by 2pm then reward that intense productivity with an afternoon with the latest issue of Mslexia (which arrived yesterday and I'm desperate to read it)
  • sat at a different side of my desk
  • unplugged the internet
  • plugged the internet back in and went on youtube to find this song by Simon and Grafunkel
  • played it loudly, thinking of this scene in Garden State where it rains A LOT on Zach Braff while that song is playing
  • noticed about half way through the song (as I stared outside my window, not writing) that it was starting to rain. Then it was raining A LOT.

  • felt a bit weirded out (Zach - was it you?)
  • and then ran into the living room with my camera to hang out of the window trying to take photos of rain (see above)
  • found one of those jumping spiders on my window ledge
  • poked it back outside with a long ruler
  • looked on the Guardian website and noticed the judges are looking for stories which are:

  • wrote a bit
  • read a bit
  • kept looking at that piece of paper
  • wrote a bit
  • saw 2pm come and go
  • but kept on writing, slowly
  • pretty slowly
  • until 15 minutes ago - I finished the first draft at 6pm.

It's a weird one, I think that's one of the reasons I've had to push it out. It's told entirely in dialogue between two characters. I didn't quite intend for that to happen, and I'm not sure it's even a story - one of the biggest doubts I have when I write a story - is it actually a story?

It might just be a conversation.

How do you know when you've written a story? I mean - is it as simple as beginning, middle, end, but not necessarily in that order?

Or is there something else, an ingredient that transforms a scene into a story?


Jessica said...

Hi Teresa

I'm saving my copy of Mslexia as a writing treat too. (actually, I should be writing now!)

I entered the competition last week and only got a confirmation yesterday! I can only assume they have been bombarded with lots of entries.

I love Garden State too - I got the soundtrack the other year for only £5. The last kiss also has a brilliant soundtrack too :)


Tania Hershman said...

Hi Teresa,
I'm down here in my cellar/study, and I too had grand ENORMOUS thoughts last night of switching off the Internet. Oh how much work could I get done! Do you think it's happening? Hmmmm.

Love your blow-by-blow day yesterday, it was all obviously essential for the writing of the story. And yes, it's a story. If you think it is. That's what I think anyway. Not big into plot myself!

I like your Waiting to Hear Back From section. Might nick that. Is it still raining?

Miles said...

I like how, by avoiding doing any work you actually ended up telling a story, with pictures!

I think a story happens while you're looking for something else.

Hmm, discuss.

The Only Living Boy in New York is so beautiful, especially when it rains.

I think something becomes a story when there's an element of truth or beauty in it. There's a story in everything and everyone. Doesn't mean it's always easy to find it!

Miles said...

Have you seen the trailer for The Time Travel(l)er's Wife, by the way? Could be good... hope they don't cock it up since it was such a good book.

Teresa Stenson said...

Jessica - yes, I agree, it's a great soundtrack. In fact, I borrowed it from a friend when it came out, and never gave it back. Not on purpose, you understand, just kept forgetting... we're still friends - and I'm reminded now that MUST return it to him, asap.

I still haven't read Mslexia! I've got an entire day off on Friday though, so I'll aim to send my Guardian story in the morning and Mslexia will be the reward.

Tania - you know, I'd like it if the internet only came into my house for maybe an hour a day. I'd be so prolific. I'd be like Barbara Cartland.

On the other hand - what about those times when you just NEED TO KNOW what date the Queen's actual birthday is? Or what a 'cup' is in grams? OR if any new news has happened in the last 3 minutes? You'd be buggered.

The 'Waiting to hear back from' list works as a good motivator to send stuff out, and I find it quite a comforting reminder that even if I'm not making anything - there are things of mine out there. Get it nicked.

Miles - it's what all the greats say, isn't it? The thing about ideas coming when you don't try (they say it better than that). I just get hung up on the 'story' thing, and where a sketch or an idea or a snippet of someone's day becomes an actual story. But i should just stop thnking about it. And I will.

I haven't seen the trailer yet, I'm too scared to see it. I'd like to re-read the book before I see the film. I screamed when I saw it was in the brochure for Aug. It's quite a few years since I read the book though, and I'm worried I'm a more critical reader now and I won't like it as much.


Laura said...

Isn't writing just the best when your on a roll and are not blocked. I feel so free as well. Love your blog sweetie!

Miles said...

Because TTW was such a great reading experience, unputdownable in fact, it'll be interesting to see how it translates to film.

It's bound to be a different vibe, although I hope the actors can pull off the rounded brilliance of the characters and it doesn't get too overly sentimental. As weepy as the book was, it was also quite subtle and subversive.

Henry is one of my favourite male characters in a book but Eric Bana(na) isn't one of my favourite actors. Rachel McAdams is good though, although I wanted them to cast Lauren Ambose (Claire in Six Feet Under) as Claire.

I guess she didn't want to be Claire-cast.

Teresa Stenson said...

Hi Laura - yes, writing freely is the best. I get easily distracted too often, or don't let myself get distracted when I need to. Such a bloody balancing act, but addictive! Thanks for dropping in - I'll check out your blog too.

Miles - I did like The Bana, then I just went off him... Don't even know why. It'll be interesting to see if his face can do 20 years old as well as 44. Or whatever the ages are.

I like Rachel McAdams, but love the similarly named Amy Adams - and would have liked to have seen her as Claire too. There are too many lovely red heads for this part.