The Weight of Importance

I started a short story last night. I know I’m supposed to be in the middle of this contest with Dave on the novel manuscript, and I already took off time to write a play, but I’ve had this idea for a while and there’s a deadline approaching that I think the idea would work well for. I’ve been bouncing the idea around now for a few days and last night I sat down determined to start it. But, man, the words just dripped like blood from my turnip head.

Normally with short stories I get into the story easy enough and then usually run into trouble trying to end the dumb thing. But every once in while I get an idea that I know is a good one, a great one in fact. It’s happened one time before and I get all caught up in the greatness of the idea and it’s potential for great acclaim that I paralyze myself during creation.

I was moaning about this to Sarah last night and she said just to let it go and see what happens. That’s pretty good advice, but when I just “let it go” the stories turn out funny or at least with a certain amount of humor, but this story can’t be funny. Sarah was no use after that.

I know the pressure is worth it because the last story this happened with turned out to be the best story I’ve written so far (though it has still gone unpublished so far, grumble grumble) but man, is it exhausting. After about three hours I was able to get almost 900 words last night and I like what I have. It gets a little weird when I start trying to cram things in to make it fit the issue’s theme I’m aiming for, but other than that it should be a good story.

Do you guys ever get overwhelmed by the potential of a great idea?

One thought on “The Weight of Importance

  1. I don’t know about being overwhelmed by a great idea. What can be overwhelming is the number of ideas I get. It has taken twelve years, slogging through ten novels and two short story collections, but I’ve finally found a good balance.For the last three or four novels, I’ve known what my next novel will be six months in advance. It may start with a central image or a character at a certain place in his/her life. But then the concept grows up around it.Usually I’ll get these basic ideas while I’m working on another novel. The discipline kicks in, and I finish the novel… all the while plotting the next novel, exploring character motivation, examining whether this person is truly likeable and whether the plot is plausible.I have to exercise a ton of discipline to complete the first novel first, while the new novel begins to take over my daily thoughts.I don’t know if that answers your question exactly, but it’s that situation that I find challenging, if not overwhelming. Sticking to what I’ve started.Stacey

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