I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog that I’ve been struggling with some story ideas, trying to make them much more terrifying or compelling or just plain better. One is a potential novel, the other is a short story I’ve been struggling with on and off for about nine months or so. Both involve witches, strangely (maybe it’s a sign of something).

The novel has been a big struggle for me. The way I work with potential ideas, I write down a short summary of the story, like a blurb for a back cover, which allows me plenty of time to come up with ways to modify it, come up with new scenes and characters, and whatever else you do when you create a story. For the past couple of months, I’ve been looking into ways to modify this one novel. Maybe it’s been my experience with the initial story path of Rose, which was so expansive and crazy that it required modification and a new outline a month into writing, but I was worried I was going the same direction with this novel idea, and that I had to find some way to simplify it while keeping the original theme the same.

Well, I haven’t been able to think of anything yet. Ideas come to me but they don’t work out, I just shove them aside because they’re not what I’m looking for. I really like this idea, but I can’t think of anything that’ll work for this story. I’m a bit of a perfectionist that way. I don’t want to write a story that I don’t think is any good.

And then today while I was walking to class (to History of Magic and Witchcraft, ironically), I was thinking about this story, wishing that I could think of some way to make the story work and at the same time wishing that the original idea could still work. And then that errant voice that is in all of us, the voice that questions our beliefs and convictions, asked me, “Well, why can’t the original idea still work?” It actually made me pause (metaphorically, I still had to get to class) and think. I looked at the bare-bones idea of the story and thought. It made me realize that the idea’s original plot wasn’t as expansive as I thought it would be. It might make for a long novel, but it wasn’t so expansive that I had to create a whole world in several books. It actually was pretty solid.

Why was I so worried? If I wrote it right, it wouldn’t have the same problems as the initial draft of Rose. In fact, it might work.

So I’m not thinking about how to modify the story right now. Instead I’m thinking of this initial plot, how it could work after all and how I might support it. I’m not too worried about changing the plot. I can make this one work, if I’m careful.

And as for my stubborn short story, I had another idea on how to fix that. Don’t know when I’ll get around to working on that, but the idea will stick in my head for sure.

You know, authors are constantly learning something new, improving their craft and looking for ways to tell better tales. I learned this past fall that you have to be careful not to get too crazy with your story’s plot or you’ll lose the point of your story and it’ll be boring or confusing. That was the problem with my first attempts with Rose, which I made so big and sprawling because I was worried that if I kept it simple it might get boring.

That lesson is important, but one I got today is that you shouldn’t let fear of being too expansive get in the way of trying to make a good story.

Well, that’s all for now. I’m going to get some schoolwork done, and leave it at that for the night. Expect another blog post soon, my Followers of Fear. It’s about halfway through the semester, after all. Until then, goodnight and pleasant nightmares.

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