On Writing & Storytelling: A Slow Start Morphs into a Writing Marathon – and I Have the Strained Eyes to Prove It!

Wednesday, April 26, 2023 SITREP

“Tell the story that’s been growing in your heart, the characters you can’t keep out of your head, the tale story that speaks to you, that pops into your head during your daily commute, that wakes you up in the morning.” Jennifer Weiner

It’s late evening on Wednesday, April 26, 2023. The sky is darkening; and as I write this, sunset is only 15 minutes away – by the time you read these words, it is more likely that it will be dark as night. I’m tired, and I shouldn’t even be writing this post after a long day’s workday. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to at least give you (or, at least those of you who are interested) an update about my project on The New Story.

A Sluggish Start to “Hump Day”

My favorite mug.

I had a hard time starting this morning. I woke up at 5 AM for no reason at all, at least no reason that I am aware of. Tried to go back to sleep, partly for health reasons (lack of sleep = shorter lifespan), and partly because I feared that if I got up that early, I’d be as punch-drunk as if I’d had three or four beers and therefore rendered useless, as far as writing is concerned.

I had my café con leche around 8 AM, but even that jolt of caffeine took its sweet time to take effect. I was foggy-brained until, oh, 9:52 AM, when I finally wrote Morning, April 2023 (A Haiku)And even then, I thought, oh well. There goes my plan to get 1,000 words down for today.

I was going to stop for the day. I was going to say, “Fuck it, I won’t work on this story. The words aren’t coming out, and I will end up wasting this Wednesday doing absolutely nothing useful.”

I wish there weren’t a wedding ring on that woman’s finger…but I love this image for any post related to “The New Story.”

The Story Wants to Be Told!

“Authors do not choose a story to write, the story chooses us.” Richard Denney

I took this “selfie” back in November of 2020.

But before I gave up totally, I opened my Word .doc file for The New Story’s rough draft. Scrolled down to where I’d left off yesterday afternoon. Read what I wrote yesterday. Muttered a profanity or two. Bit my lip – not enough to break skin, though – and began typing.

I was late for homeroom. Mrs. Brillenstein didn’t like that. She was a young-looking woman, maybe in her early thirties, with long auburn hair and big brown eyes that could be friendly or fierce, depending on her mood. She taught English 2, Regular, and drama in Room 230, which was also known as the Little Theater. It had a small stage and rows of seats that curved around it like a horseshoe. It was a cool place to hang out, but not when Mrs. Brillenstein was mad at you.

Well, what I originally typed was rougher; you’re seeing the gone-over-twice-or-thrice, edited version. But the first line is the same. I was late for homeroom.

Fast forward to 6:30 PM. That’s when, feeling the effects of eyestrain and tense muscles on my neck and shoulders, I posted on my Facebook page: Today’s final new words count on The New Story: 2,679.

I planned – hoped, really – to produce 1,000 words today. 1,500 tops.

My plan was to write one scene, perhaps two, in the third “chapter” – it’s really an interlude – of the story. By noon I had accomplished the one-scene goal, but I only had 574 new words. So, I pushed on and started another scene, hoping to get to 1,000 words or even a smidgen more.

I did that, too. I reached the end of scene three of the “interlude” at 3 PM or so. I could have – should have – stopped there.

But stories sometimes have a way of wanting to be told, and now it wasn’t a matter of reaching or surpassing a statistical goalpost. I wanted – no, needed – to get to a certain point in the story; the very reason for what I started yesterday and restarted late this morning.

 And for once, I knew how I wanted the scene to end – which is a rare occurrence for me, a seat-of-the-pants storyteller who doesn’t do outlines or plan stories in any meaningful way.

Image Credit: Pixabay

The Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Storytelling

And even though I am now nursing a self-inflicted plethora of aches and pains, I think – I hope – that most of the 2,679 (originally, it was 2,692, but I edit as I write, so….) words are good ones.

Anyway, I have no idea how tomorrow will go with “the new story.” I have a vague scheme that when I’m done with the first draft (which isn’t as rough as most firsts are cos of the way I write), I should have six “chapters” in all. I have written three so far, so I’m at the halfway point. Of course, if the story demands it needs more chapters….

Today’s output, by the way, mentions two songs. Since they’re not “spoilers,” I’m all too happy to share them with (or inflict them on) you.

Well, it’s way past sunset, and I should wrap this puppy up and publish it. So, bye for now!


Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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