Starts and Finishes

There are many lessons a writer must learn. How to create distinct characters. How to craft a narrative. How to throw away words. Where to start and where not to to. And when to finish.

To mutilate a sentiment that is often spoken to new writers, a story needs to be finished before it can be published. Or should be submitted. And figuring out how to wrap a multitude of story threads into a conclusion, satisfying or not, is a pleasant experience.

On the other hand, pick another project you might have started over the years. How many have you finished? I mean really? Still got boxes not-unpacked even though you’ve lived there for five years? Or that cross-stitch someone convinced you would be fun? How’s the garden? Full of plants thriving? Or is it mostly weeds? I could go on. That’s not to say that writing fiction is only ever going to be a fad for most people.

Maybe a closer example is song-writing. This is as tough as writing a story. I know this because I’ve tried it. I’ve heard from well-known song-writers that for every song they finish, there are easily ten they don’t. Ten songs unfinished! How does that stack up on your story-writing? Ten ideas or story starts for each one that went to completion?

It rather puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?

1 Comment

Filed under storytelling, writing

One response to “Starts and Finishes

  1. adampb

    It’s something I had never thought of in regards to stories, that some of them just won’t work. The comparison to song writers is apt. Each song, or story, is another time to practice and develop skills, even if you’re a professional.
    I can now happily leave unfinished ideas or projects behind. Sometime in the near future I may return to see if there is something salvageable. I’ve heard of song writers returning to unfinished pieces and picking the bones for a useable riff, line of lyric or refrain.
    Writers can, and should do it, too.
    Adam B @revhappiness

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