How do I write fiction?

So I take stabs at fiction writing from time to time. I tend not to be happy with what I write because the stories always seem to be about a woman who’s kind of lonely and depressed. Basically this character is me for most of my adult life. I don’t want to write this character because it just feels like me wallowing in self-pity. On the other hand she was real and she was miserable.

In this post, I’m attempting to reframe the kind of passage I would normally write. I need to make my alter-ego (usually called Sheila for some reason), a little lighter and a little more like-able. I’m not the same unhappy person I used to be. Maybe Sheila deserves a taste of the good life too.

This is an exercise to help me figure out what kind of fiction writer I am.

Version 1

She was waiting for something extraordinary to happen, and she knew that waiting alone was useless. She knew that she’d have to take some action and make something happen. All the self-help books said that. But she was scared. She didn’t like leaving her apartment. She wasn’t agoraphobic, but being away from the safety of her home made her uneasy. She didn’t think she was agoraphobic, but sometimes, when she was in a crowd at a shopping center, she got a little panicky. Her heart would race, and she’d feel a bit light-headed. If she stopped for a few moments and pretended to look at some merchandise on a store shelf, she could take some deep breaths and compose herself.

Version 2

Something extraordinary was about to happen. Emaline had waited all morning for the impending moment. This was exciting! She was wearing what she called her ‘Super Fancy Party Dress.’ The dress had a black lace bodice with a black satin skirt. It was her dress from junior prom in 1988. Sure it was a bit old-fashioned, but it still qualified as fancy.

The extraordinary thing that was about to happen was a result of months of hard work and planning. Emaline had gone to every open-mic, talent show, dance recital, and poetry reading in town, secretly recording performances with her little digital audio recorder. She was collecting talent!

You might wonder how an audio recording of various examples of local talent could result in an extraordinary event in the life of our Emaline. Well, that’s what this story is about.
There might be something there.

A side note:

I’m narrowing the scope of this blog so it’s more about writing, and other artsy things. My other blog “A Learning Experience” will be about my struggle to find a career, perhaps in Instructional Technology, perhaps in some job that doesn’t exist yet, but has to do with online content curation. I’m all over the place! I really just want to be a movie star, or a blues singer, or an herb farmer, or …

Oh well, on with the beautiful struggle!


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