Yesterday I wrote four short scenes for current book I have in progress.
And when I write, short, I write SHORT. The longest scene in the group was around 650 words. The shortest, less than 200.
I always used to write pretty short, back in my high school days. Lately, I’m experimenting with my roots and trying to get the most beautiful moments I can make discrete from the ones before and after. I really enjoyed yesterday’s writing.
Related to this, when I walked into the coffee shop this morning, I recognized a favorite song by its fading notes.
That song? Porcupine Tree’s “Collapse the Light Into Earth.” Relevant, because it captures a single moment of emotion in sound and replays it consistently for the length of the song. It’s also one of the few Porcupine Tree songs from that era truly mellow enough to play in a coffee shop at 8 o’clock in the morning.
I guess the moment has got me interested.
Tenlyres (Check it out on Amazon and other ebook stores) is one of my more successful works to have long scenes as standard in it. But writing that book was difficult and took a long time compared to some of my other stories. Focusing on small moments is not easy when I am in the midst of a longer scene.
But I do love those little, near-vignettes that serve as the fulcrum to lever the story in a new direction or reinforce my earlier themes. One can build a story around moments such as these if the moment is strong enough.
I won’t claim to know how strong I make these sets of ~500 words, but I would suggest if you are a writer, try the short segments. They feel empowering, in part because if you have been writing for any amount of time you can probably get one written quickly without feeling as though you are hammering on stone.
And hammering is, in my opinion, a damaging way to look at storytelling. Because storytelling can be like excavation, as Steven King describes it in On Writing, but if one must know when to use the jackhammer, and when one needs but to brush the dust off the fossil.
I think those little moments require the brush all too often.
Thanks for reading.
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