Not As Planned

I’m writing a short story.

It’s for a writing challenge I’m taking part in, and the theme is Diversity in SFF. I’ve been struggling a little with coming up with an idea for the story. I’ve got the main character figured out pretty well, but that’s about it. Yesterday I made some progress and came up with a setting and all of a sudden I had something to start with.

Put the character in the setting. Point them in a direction. Go.

I started writing. Got a few paragraphs done, erased some of them, rewrote them again in a different way, and then started over from scratch. It didn’t go too well. It’s one thing to point the character in a direction, but when I don’t know what direction that is, it becomes tricky.

Today, I ditched it all and decided to do some planning and outlining instead.

I started by visualizing how I wanted the story to begin and wrote that down. Then I went through the back story – to know how my character ended up in the spot where we first find them.

This worked.

The back story is rather action packed, and could probably make for a good story in its own right, but it’s not one I feel like writing. I’m leaving it as backdrop for the story I want to write. It’ll get mentioned in passing, to make sure the reader has at least a vague idea of what’s going on, but other than that I won’t dwell much on it.

Figuring out the back story also meant that the story I’m writing will have to begin in a way different to what I’d first envisioned. It’s also not really the story I thought it’d be, but it’ll be interesting to try and write it anyway.

I think this highlights a few things to try to learn:

  1. Start doing something, just to get started.
  2. Don’t be afraid to scrap what you’ve done
  3. Planning works, except not necessarily as planned.

Now I just have to keep this in mind for the next time I need to get started on a story.

Not As Planned

2 thoughts on “Not As Planned

  1. Loni Townsend says:

    That’s happened to me before. I wanted to write a short piece (like 900 words) of a character’s backstory just so I could figure out his reactions in the present. It turned into a 16K novella. Whoops. But yeah…just start writing, like you said.

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