Does It Work?

One of the hardest things for me about writing is figuring out if something works, when I think it’s finished. It seems like there should be some basic formula–did the action build in this way? Was there a nice twist? Did the climax make sense? etc. But the truth is that I’m not always sure where the climax in my stories is. Which I probably shouldn’t admit, but there you go.

But let’s take the Chris Benoit story, which I have been farting with for months. It doesn’t work. I’m not sure why, but it doesn’t. I still like the idea, and the execution seems right, but it just doesn’t do it for me.

And the truth is that, when I’m writing short stories, I revise until I get this certain feeling at the end. It’s hard to explain, but, if a story works, my stomach drops, just a little and then I literally feel like “ta-da!” when I reach the end. If I don’t feel that way, then I know it’s not a good story.

It’s all I have as my guide. So, I don’t know what, if anything, I’m going to be able to do to fix the Chris Benoit story. But I know it’s not right, right now.

On the other hand, I’ve got a story about a gal from East Tennessee I think works right and I’m going to see if I can find it a home.

There’s this thing–which I will tell you all about later, probably Monday or Tuesday, but it involves K. saying “It’s already done so just be gracious and go along”–which caused me to have to pull together some stories to read. And it was weird thinking about which stories I wanted to share, because I want them to be a mix of stories people can buy–A City of Ghosts, “Frank,” and The Witch’s Friend–and a mix of stories I hope they can someday read some place–“Sarah Clark,” something from the Sue Allen project, this new thing I have.

And I admit, I was tempted to read some of “Allendale,” the October story, because I am so excited about it. But it is not on the reading list. We will all go through it slowly together in October.

That story works. Mostly thanks to Lovecraft.

Anyway, it has me excited again, about my work.