Last night, as I discussed my latest short story with a friend, I told him that this story just had to be written after he commented that it didn’t take me long to write.
I finished it yesterday afternoon and let him read the very rough draft of it. He told me he liked it, and I’m inclined to believe him. (Although that inner critic says that he’s just being nice. Your writing sucks.) I, myself, like the story. It was based on a dream I had and have blogged about the emotional aspect of it in Emotional Writing.
The story itself is based on a woman who loses her husband to cancer and then turns to whiskey to forget the pain. It’s full of dread, emotional tension, alcoholism and then hope. My friend even said that it was dramatic.
I haven’t read it since I finished it. I believe in letting my mind take a break from a new story and go back to it with fresh eyes and a red pen. The revision process is grueling at best. Check out my post on editing for more about how I feel about it.
This post isn’t about editing or revision per se. It’s about this story, A Sad Goodbye.
I’ve never succumbed to alcoholism, and I’ve never been around anyone who has. Yet, I drew from what I dreamed about and how I felt it would happen. Laura Stanfill wrote a post about writing what you don’t know called Prostitution, or Writing What I Don’t Know. Check out the comments on that page as well, because there are a lot of good pieces of advice on writing what you don’t know. And even though her writing is set in the 19th Century, it’s still relevant to what I was working on. I created this character based on her own private world, the pain she feels.
It’s new to me to write about a woman who’s lost her whole world and turns to the bottle. I tend to stick to what I know. It’s easy to get in the mind of a teenager who’s confused and hurting. (I write YA Fiction generally.) It wasn’t all that long ago that I was a teenager. Although at times, it feels like it’s been forever since I was. I have a birthday tomorrow, and even though I’m only turning 24, I feel ancient!
I’ve never been married either, but I can easily imagine how it would feel to lose someone so close to you that you share everything with. It’s the addiction I had a hard time with. My friend told me I did it justice, and I honestly hope that I did. Like I said, I haven’t read back over it.
Even though I was confused about how to write my character at times, I drew from what my imagination believed would happen and how I would feel in that situation. Also, I drew from what I knew about alcoholism and addiction based on what I’ve read or heard in the past.
Despite my worries over this story and how it would turn out, I had to write it. The memory of that dream has been echoing in my brain, and I couldn’t let it go to waste. I had to put the story on paper. It was that important to me.