Friday, October 26, 2012

Telling stories: Why I will probably never be invited to give a TED talk

I was waiting in line for a drink with AD and I said, "I started drinking whiskey recently.  It makes me taciturn, angry and unable to sleep, so I will probably stop."

He paused and then started laughing at me for telling the shortest story in the world.  X. Y. Z.

Totally fair.

As a child I wanted to grow up to be so many things.  A ballerina.  A janitor.  A school teacher.  An archaeologist.  A historian.  A doctor.  A biologist.  An activist.  A mountain climber.  A jockey.  A pioneer.  A vet.  A mother.  A rockstar.  An actress.  A member of G-Force.  A figure skater.  Eliza Bennet.  Laura Ingalls Wilder.  The list goes on and on.  A writer.

I wanted to write stories.  Didn't write any.  I just wanted to.  Much later in life, I tried my hand at Nanowrimo and discovered that I suck at fiction.  In much the same way I cannot tell a joke to save my life, there was a reason that I never wrote stories, I don't know how.

I would go to write-ins where other people would talk about their plot and how the characters were taking on a life of their own and how much they enjoyed it.  This did not happen to me.  I found myself desperately trying to either figure out how ducks quack so that I could write about quacking ducks convincingly or stealing observations and ideas and snippets and thoughts and conversations from the day to day of my life as it was happening.  If I had a tuna sandwich, so did the characters in my novel.

It was devastating.

Even so, I sign up for Nanowrimo almost every year and I have never finished.  The first time, I finished the word count but not the story.  Since then it's been a boulevard of abandoned word documents.  I considered reading about tropes to see if I could use a bunch of tropes to choke out a story.  They apparently only come in a few flavors.  November is right around the corner and I will try yet again this year.

Maybe I will string together a series of uninteresting and very, very short stories like:

He was going to go to the movies but then felt a sore throat coming on and decided to stay home.  The End.

She wanted a milkshake really badly so she went to McDonald's and got one.  The End.

Again and again for 50,000 words.  An uninteresting book that even I would not read but I will try to write.


At 5:52 PM, October 26, 2012, Anonymous jy said...

Honestly, I sort of love that idea.


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