For the first time ever
I think I have a viable idea for a book-length story. Ok, I love writing but I’ve never been very good at thinking up story ideas. At least, none that would go longer than short-story length. I just couldn’t find a way to sustain a long, novel-length story. I never felt like my ideas were good enough or interesting enough.
I’ve tried everything I can think of too to jump start my stupid brain. Writing exercises, I’ve started many many blogs aimed at giving me a place to bounce ideas around, NaNoWriMo… nothing was working for me. Then I met Ficlets. The place has been amazing and I can’t say enough good things about it. I know I talk about them quite a bit here, and you can see my latest ficlets in the right rail over there ———>
but I think there are several things about the site that make it so perfect for me.
The very short format forces you to try and tell a whole story in a few paragraphs, which means you have to edit and re-edit and piece your idea together like a puzzle to make it work and still be cohesive and good. Sure, you can sequel your story if you need more room, or if you’re creating a series. You can even prequel your story (or someone else’s!). So you get good practice. The site offers many ways to get inspiration for a story – you can flip through thousands of Flickr images, or use a story starter, or sequel someone else’s ficlet, or read the site owner’s blog when he throws out quotes and ideas for ficlets. The community has also started incorporating writing challenges you can enter.
My friend used his space to create a nifty challenge called 18-1 where you have to tell a story but the first sentence must be 18 words long, the next 17 words, then 16 and so on until the last sentence is just a word. I’ve entered many challenges, but that one kicked my ass.
But probably the best part of ficlets is the feedback. I’ll admit it straight up. I am a feedback whore. I’ll write a ficlet and publish it, then refresh the page until I see someone’s commented on it. And people aren’t afraid to be honest either. If you suck, they’ll tell you. They don’t know you. It’s not like asking your family or best friend to read your stuff an they’ll probably try to be nice. I find I need that constructive feedback. I need to know what works and what doesn’t. It’s encouraging when they like your stuff because it’s mildly thrilling and prompts you to keep it up.
So that’s a helluva lot of blather on ficlets, I know. So what’s the point? What’s the big idea for a story that’s got me so excited? Well it’s thanks to Ficlets that I had this little epiphany. The other day I was in the mood to write a ficlet but I didn’t have any ideas. So I searched for ‘zombies’ in the Flickr images (I’m in a supernatural frame of mind atm what with the vampire porn and Dresden Files floating around my head.) I found a picture of a handpainted sign that said ‘Legalize Zombie Marriage’ which I found amusing.
And with that picture, a little ficlet series happened. When I was trying to think up a name for the girl, for some reason calling her CherryPop seemed like a good idea. What a weird name, I know. But I like it. A lot. So my ficlet series is sort of about CherryPop’s weird life where the supernatural stuff is slowly being accepted by society as ‘real’ – ie vampires and zombies and ghosties etc. are really real and CherryPop grew up amongst the “monsters” and now she spends her time helping the the normals to get used to the idea and fight for their rights etc.
Anyway, I’m obviously working on the details in my head, but the ficlet series is practically writing itself, it’s so much fun, and I’m making each one up as I go which is probably a bad idea when you’re creating a whole world etc. but I can’t stop thinking about this idea. I feel so excited about it and I’ve never had this feeling about anything else I’ve ever written. So wish me luck and check in with me now and then to see how it’s going (and to see if I’m still doing it.) I’m working up a storyline for it tonight and I might write another ficlet for it as well. I hope to get this written and then I’m going to try the self-publishing route at lulu.com because I don’t have the first clue about how to approach a real publisher. Anyway, I’d better get to it 🙂