Monday, January 16, 2012

The Result: Making Scenes Into a Story

On January 10th, I wrote about a challenge I'd set for myself.  I took a group of scenes I'd written as part of an exercise in a creative writing class and tried to weave them into an actual story.  So, in case you're wondering, here's how that went.

The good:  I did get a usable story out of it!  It's now a part of my final project for grad school.  Woo-hoo!  Is it the best thing I've ever written?  No.  But it's there, and it wasn't there a week ago.

The bad:  I had to write almost all of it from scratch.  I couldn't get the tone of the sketches to work in a story.  Basically, the sketches all had upbeat endings.  The story couldn't have that, for various reasons.  (It's hard to have an upbeat ending when the story is a schizophrenic woman who tried to commit suicide, and her sister, and the way that sister is dealing with the first sister's illness.)  Three-quarters of the material from the sketches actually got cut as I wrote the story.  I was able to pull some sentences and the idea of the sketches into the finished story, though, so there is some part of the original there.

It was an interesting process.  I can't say I'd try it again--I like starting from scratch so I don't end up with tone consistency problems like I did here.  But all the same, it showed me how everything can be tweaked or revised to suit your purposes.

The ugly:  Nothing is ugly if you get a new story out of it.  Nothing.