My Method of Story Development

Stasya T. Canine

Note: The original version of this post can be found at

On Sat, 27 Jan 2001 03:36:42 GMT, Sigerson wrote:

A reader asked me a question regarding the last set of stories that I posted. He wanted to know why all three stories started so similarly. I had posted a comment about all three stories starting from the same premise and they would naturally start the same way. Two other readers mentioned this same point, which makes me wonder why I posted the explanation. One reader actually liked the explanation and the idea of three stories starting at the same point but going in totally different directions.

There were the 'Foursome' projects that involved different authors going with the same characters and basic setting. Some excellent work was produced in those.

I have two stories that went like this:

Two stories (On the site I called it 'one line, one author, two genres.)

If anyone is interested, they are titled 'Taste of Her Smile' and listed in the 'Contests and Challenges' area of my site.

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Now, on to 'How?'

My mind seethes with ideas, thus the large hopper. I have a different attitude than Katie's. IRL, there are constant interruptions so I never expect even a short-short to get finished at one go. RL, especially my SO, takes priority over the writing.

I also feel, based on my own experience, that I can drop a story at any point and usually return to it and pick up where I left off. "If it was good enough to start, then it's good enough to finish." If I, as the author, can't drop the story in the middle and have it 'tell me' where it's going to go when I reread what I have, *then* there's a problem with it. I can't expect what's there to lead the reader to the next part. That's when I look at rewriting or put it down and wait for inspiration. One story sat for almost 3 years before a thread in the ng triggered a way to continue. The result was I finished the one in the hopper in a way that it led to the story inspired by the thread. <plug: The "Summer Nights' series - zoo/best. thread was 'Maria's Challenge'.>

In some cases, letting a partial story sit has led to a continuation that was better than what I had originally intended.

The bottom line of course is that everyone has their own ways of writing. :)

As for actual technique, I'm one of the heretics.

Generally I have a core concept or scene.

I build at least one character.

I turn the character or characters loose with the initial idea and let them tell the story as it happened to them.

That's it.

I don't get along with outlines. The few times I have tried to write to any sort of an outline I produced stories that felt extremely forced. I wanted one thing, the characters insisted on something else.

The result of my last attempt to work to an outline has never been posted. A couple of years later, someone gave me a good intro for it and the result, which was much better than the original part two, got posted.

I want my stories to 'feel real'. Life can't be scripted except in a very general sense of knowing where you want to go, imo. So, I don't script my stories in any detail. Even my series work is more fitb than anything else.

The technique is what I'm used to. It works for me and there are a few folks who tell me the results satisfy them. :)

I don't see it as undisciplined. 'Non-disiplined' is closer. 'Disconnected' would work too. It takes a *lot* of self-discipline to let my characters take over and run the fingers so they can tell *their* story without my interfering.

Maybe my age has something to do with my perspective on writing. I'm patient and willing to take a long term view. Unless the story itself is demanding to be completed or I've deliberately agreed to a time limit, I don't worry about how soon I can finish it. The muse may sometimes go on vacation but hey, around me, she's certainly earned those vacations and we get along much better when she returns. She and I have had a lot of fun together since the summer of 95 (and long before that).

The Lady and I have an agreement. She gets plenty of seriousness elsewhere. Enough to overload her. So, by the time she and I get together, she's more interested in having a little free-form fun than she is anything else.

Suits me just fine. <g>

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