The long and short of it

So, how about that Big Story you’ve been promising your editor and yourself?

When we talked about story focus and organization, I mentioned how I had to learn not to think of the novel I was writing as one, massive ream of pages filled with words that I would have to write. Instead, I thought of it as chunks. Chapters.

Whew! Relief.

Thursday, Jacqui Banaszynski will join us again — this time to talk about the Big Story and how to think in, well, buckets.

I did say buckets, yes. Bucket of reporting. Bucket of background. Bucket of reaction. Bucket of color.

As she was talking about it in her office today, I was thinking about Brad Racino’s story about the Regency trailer park. (I asked you to read the story back in January, but then we never really talked about it because of the Snowpocalypse.) I was able to think of those buckets and how much went into each of them. Think about that when you re-read the story.

Oh yeah, please re-read it. He’s going to come to class, and Jacqui — who is an awesome interviewer — is going to get him to talk about how he thought his way through this story. In buckets, probably.

You probably have to think long to write long stories. (Sometimes, we think too long and read too much and get totally paralyzed by the vast amount of information in the universe.) But you have to think in shorter pieces. Maybe when Jacqui thinks about those buckets, she visualizes one or two that are too full and one or two that are too empty.

As an editor, I definitely think about missing pieces, and the best way to fit them all together. I’m more of a jigsaw puzzle person, myself.

Whatever works.That’s the long and short of it.

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One Response to The long and short of it

  1. kcmoritz says:

    Jacqui’s lecture helped me think of my giant autism story in chapters instead of one long thing. At first, I tried to write it as one story, and it was too confusing and too disorganized. Splitting it up, adding subheads and reorganizing helped me tell the story much more effectively; my editor thought so, too. I used to think subheads were nice, but not for me. From now on, I will embrace them.

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