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The Point aka All Questions Have Answers Part Two

A long time ago I threw open the proverbial doors and invited your questions.. and I have been really bad about responding to them beyond Part One anyway.

Mea Culpa.

And someday when I am having a slow blog day or something… maybe when the laundry is all caught up and the stories are all done and the floor is vacuumed and the nick knacks have been dusted….I will answer the ones that were sent in.

At least that was my plan but recently (as in… this past two weeks) I have actually gotten the same question three different times, from three different people. Well, the question wasn’t exactly the same, but it was close enough that I thought I would go ahead and answer it.

All Questions Have Answers (especially if the questions are repeated) Part Two


Question:
How do you come up with the point of your short stories? Does every story have to have a point?
What do you do if you have a story but you don’t know what the point of it is?


Answer:
(Just my humble opinion)

Don’t think about the point. Don’t think about what it “means” Just write it out, write out the action of the story, let it just flow… get it down, get it structured, get it in some sort of narrative order. Then ignore it for a while before you go back and read it again.

Stories don’t always have to have points or deep meanings. They are works of fiction, they are art… they aren’t essays that have to answer the question of ‘so what/’.. as long as the reader is engaged and entertained, the story has done its job.

Unless you want there to be a point, a deeper underlying message, a series of symbols and subtext… and if that is the case, well cool. But then think of it on that level.

But what it sounds like is that you have an idea for a story… and you are worried that it isn’t going to hold water unless it is deep. Not to continue on a horribly begun metaphor, but even dinner plates hold water and sometimes all we want is a dinner plate not a bowl. Gah, ok that metaphor was icky and gross and I am embarrassed by it… so ignore that. I hope you get my point though.

Another thing… there have been times when I (and other actual writers who are considered “good” and who have published many many things) will write something and not really grasp the deeper meaning… sometimes it takes someone else to come along and see the layers that are there. That doesn’t mean that they weren’t there to begin with… that can just mean that the author was too close to see them clearly.

This is why I have an editor.

“Did you get the point of the phone cords?” I will ask her, “What did you think the point of the tree in the back yard was?” And she will tell me… and sometimes I will go “oh… umm ok time to rewrite” and sometimes I will go ‘Oh RIGHT, that is what it meant, I soooo knew that going in!”

So, again…. Just write, write write write. The meaning will show itself in the writing or in the reading. Either way.



And now I should get back to my own writing!.

2 comments:

Jay said...

If there has to be point to everything that is written, I should probably shut my blog down. Cause there's totally not point being made at all there. haha

Charity Childs-Gevero said...

I agree! I never "think" about what to write. "Write" is the one who thinks about me and then takes me over! ha ha!

I think some people try to become writers...I think that if you're not a writer, don't try to write! Do something else! Because writers already feel like if the whole world were a paper, it still wouldn't be big enough! Writers need the space! :) So "write" can run around loose out there in the sunshine! :)