Yesterday at the coffee shop I sat and listened to some old Gunsmoke radio episodes. These are always good for recharging my batteries, so to speak. Especially when I am deeply involved in writing western stories…or stories in general. The dialog is fantastic and the pacing and structure of the old time radio stories are helpful if you want to study and think about theory.
This is important because I have been struggling with a Haxan short story for about a year now. I wrote the story last summer and I’ve fiddled with it here and there…but it has never come out feeling finished.
There’s something missing in the story. I can’t identify it. But it bothers me.
I have to admit this doesn’t happen too often anymore. It was more normal when I was just starting out as a writer and had way less confidence than I do today. But even for that I am kind of glad this story is still nagging me and that I can’t figure out what’s wrong with it or how to fix it.
The reason is because the story is reminding me that writing is a constant learning process. Anytime a writer thinks he has it all figured out he is setting himself up for colossal failure. So that’s why I am not peeved I can’t figure this story out. I feel deep down I will one day find the key element that’s missing and make the story come together. Then again, if I don’t, that’s okay, too. Because it will always be there nagging at me, a constant reminder that no matter how many stories I have sold, there is always something more I can learn.
Writing is difficult. But sometimes in our difficulties we can learn something more about the structure of a story, and ourselves.