Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Writer's Quiet Fears, Just After Midnight, in The Wee Hours of Sunday Morning

I don't talk much here about my fiction.  It is a fragile topic....ideas for fiction are as delicate as unfinished silk webs, and any early disruptions are likely to destroy them.

My motivation often comes from creating expectations for myself.  In the case of writing fiction, I am anxious about what i expect will be the final opinion of my readers: I want them to like the story, but also to be moved, transformed...changed for good.  But, like an actor on the stage, I feed off applause, an artist's ultimate creative climax at the end of the work.  By sharing bits and pieces early, I risk changing my original vision, and losing the incentive, the promise of acclaimed recognition of my effort, before giving myself a chance to complete something I know is original and exciting. Worse, a lukewarm reception to the unfinished masterpiece leads to discouragement, again no incentive to finish the work.

Sometimes by dwelling too much on readers' reactions, I paralyze myself against moving in a new direction, trusting my instincts.  I tend to want to get it just so, and perfection is like an asymptote---you can get infinitely closer to it without ever touching it.

Tomorrow I have decided to take the plunge and write for a contest offered by National Public Radio: a "three-minute short-story contest", of only 600 words, and 4 specific given words must fit somewhere in the story.

600 words.  Not a word can be wasted.  I have to meet a tight deadline.  And I have to be brief as well as expressive.
As if in a dream, the ideas stirred in the cauldron of my imagination, the ingredients of which came in pinches and shakes from my own experience.....  And so I will craft a story of a dog, a shelter, Opera, a concerned owner, the Italian language.....and hope to move people in a concentrated way.  Lady, shown to the left, was an inspiration...

After the contest ends, I'll submit my story for your review.....Wish me luck!


  1. I'm really looking forward to this Tom. Good luck and all the best wishes for you in your writing the article.

  2. Aww, you couldn't ask for better inspiration than Lady! Good luck with the contest, Tom, I am sure you will be great. Looking forward to reading your finished piece.

  3. Stan: I was really excited to participate. It was a great exercise, and I hope it makes the judges smile, at least. Your support means a great deal to me.

    Tom, I hope to publish the story here in June, after the winner is announced, so that I don't disqualify it as a "previously published work". I hope you will some day represent me as my agent!