story in twelve hours

Perhaps the idea is growing in my head.

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Copyright © 2008, Michael M Wayman

It is three o'clock in the morning. I lie in bed. I am thinking – a new story.

Everything is black at this time. Everything looks black. Everything feels black. I suppose most suicides take place in the night. Just ignore it, just think.

The idea of a story is beginning to form in my mind. Perhaps I could write the story in my head. Perhaps the first paragraph word for word in my head; perhaps even the last one.

If it is just an idea, a short sentence or two, I write it down blind on a pad of paper next to my bed; and then go back to sleep. It is an idea for another day or night.

Perhaps the idea is growing in my head. I think about bits in the middle of the story. Perhaps the title too.

When I say story I mean a complete short story or a piece of a longer story, what some people would call a chapter from a novel.

Sometime later I fall asleep, no more ideas are coming.

At nine after breakfast is the crunch point. Have I got enough to start writing? Have I got a title? I always start with the title.

Often I start on the same day or within a week, but sometimes it takes longer; one story was stuck in my head for two years waiting to come out.

I'm feeling lucky, I turn on the PC and tap in the story into the word processor. I say tap because I can't type. But somehow I manage it.

I keep tapping as long as I can; maybe until the end. The words and sentences come out of me like a stream. It just flows, I just tap; the stream stops at some point and I stop tapping. Oooops the stream is stopping now. I will think a bit and maybe the stream will start up again.

Often I finish on the same day, sometimes I have no end or worse no middle; one story was stuck without the last paragraph for four months.

I'm still lucky, I've written the story to the end. Time to research and check.

If I'm not sure of the spelling or facts I leave XXXs in the text and keep on tapping – don't break the stream. Later I can use a dictionary, a thesaurus, a book or the Internet to correct the XXXs. This uses a different part of my head; so I do it later or sometimes before.

Then the checking: spelling, missing words, doubled words, grammar, continuity, tense, and so on. Sometimes I add words to make some part clearer, but this can be dangerous. And since when has my writing been clear? No, I don't make many changes and then only little ones – don't break the stream.

As I said I'm lucky today, the story is written and checked, time to print it out and save it to backup – am I not a good little boy?

I read the printed pages and give it to my in-house proofreader; maybe there are more errors.

After lunch I'm still happy with it. I going to put it on my website right now. I usually add several stories to the website in one go, but today I'm feeling lucky.

Perhaps one of “I'm feeling lucky” or “don't break the stream” would have been a better title; however I have the feeling that they are not original.

I decide which directory (folder) to put it in and prepare two files in my private local off-line website. The story is cut-and-pasted with a preamble and postamble to make a new HTML-file that is the story page itself. To the existing index page for the directory is added a link to the new page. Test it. Upload to the website server.

It is three o'clock in the afternoon and the new story is on-line on my website.

Have you read my website and bottom?