I like to write for readers and writers, but this is something different. It’s not a book review or a tip about how to do something. It’s a twenty-minute talk about how to screw a box together. Yes, the simple act of screwing a box together in the shop. Except, as you can sense when the podcaster gets to the 37th question, there’s nothing really easy about it and a hundred ways to botch it.
I started thinking about the short story that I’m working on. I’ve published others, and it’s easy to believe that you know what you’re doing. But did I pick to right characters? Is my time-frame the best for the story? What about the dialogue? Does it draw the reader? Is it stiff and wooden? What if it’s all good, but I lose the reader with the last paragraph? How can you know?
Easy? Maybe, but it’s just as easy to mess up.
I started laughing about half-way through since I spent my former days as a for-hire furniture maker. My creative path is writing now, and there are parallels. We think that we have something down; “I know how to do this.” But when we think out loud about the dozens or hundreds or thousands of decisions, well, it gives one pause. Writer’s block doesn’t sound so far fetched now.
We cure this ill just like the woodworker: we do lots of work. And lots more when we’re done. We expose our work to a waiting public. And we listen to feedback. If they say, “Hey, the way you wove that line into the story? That was great,” we do it again. And we think hard about why it works. Working and thinking, we do them both until they are natural habits. And When someone says, “Hey, the way you wove that line into the story? That confused me,” we think about that too, and do it differently next time and see if it works.
Good stuff to think about!
Go here for the podcast: