That wasn’t fiction. I was actually sitting in the waiting room while my car was getting some required maintenance and thinking about what to write about and feeling a bit blocked and at the same time just being amazed at the characters in the room so I thought I’d just write out the scene as I saw it right in front of me. I don’t know if anyone thought it was interesting or not, but I wrote it so whatever.
I actually can’t write fiction, or rather I don’t understand how to do it. I’ve done it a few times with a collaborator where they throw out an idea and I riff on it with them and that kind of works but just thinking of a story from scratch has never been something I’ve been able to wrap my head around. One of the greatest writing books I’ve ever read is Steven King’s “On Writing” and in it he talks about how he has no idea where a story is going when he begins to write. He just has an initial idea – A story about a girl who doesn’t get along with people at school, a story about an evil clown, etc and just starts writing. When I read that I just stared at the page in complete shock for hours I’m sure. I don’t know if the idea of outlines and structure was just too beaten into me as a kid, but I have a terrible time trying to write something if I don’t know where it’s headed. In fact, I’ll often think about a piece I need to write for a while until I figure out what the direction (at least) or conclusion (more ideal) and will only then start actually writing it. I need a roadmap. I need to limit my options I guess. If anything can happen at any time then I just sit there paralyzed not being able to decide which is the best direction or if I’ll take three steps and then realize I made the wrong one two steps ago. I just don’t have the confidence there I suppose.
Not that I wan’t it, I mean, it wouldn’t be bad to have it, but I’m not trying to be a fiction writer so not being confident in my fiction isn’t really a big problem. I find the real world to be just as fucked up and worthy of observation as anything else. I think that’s why the fiction that I’m drawn to is the stuff that is most plausible. The things you could actually see happening. Once something gets too far fetched I’m out. If I think “this could never happen” then the likelihood that I’ll go back and read more of that story are slim.
So I guess the lesson is if you want me to read your super far fetched fiction make it a very, very short story.