Bringing Up The Rear: Clarion Week 3

Writing 150We’re at the beginning of Week 3 in the Clarion Write-a-Thon, and so far I’ve finished just one short story. I’m very nearly at the end of my second — which is a bit of fluff that I’m planning to “publish” on Weasyl and SoFurry. I won’t spend too much time describing it, but let’s just say it’s the first of an experiment. I want to build a shared universe in which various characters get up to shenanigans, floating into and out of one another’s stories. They’re meant to be palate-cleansers between larger projects, more or less, just quick and dirty things.

What’s interesting to me is that the closer I get to the end of a particular story, the slower the writing becomes. I have a big problem with endings — there’s generally a strong idea of the closing sentences, but it’s the bridging of the story from the post-climax to the coda that I generally have trouble with. You want that sense of movement, of things winding down. Personally, I find endings at their most satisfying when you see the collection of order from chaos, when the characters are beginning to piece together the lessons they’ve learned through their experience.

But that’s tough to do in a non-expository way. You don’t want to sit your protagonist down with a cup of tea and give readers a play-by-play of their internal monologue. And it’s hard to have a conversation with another character about it without being a bit too on-the-nose. So I’m still figuring out that part of the story, the part that goes downhill. It’s fun to come upon these gaps in my experience, where I’m forced to confront my ignorance about a basic part of the writing process. Up until now, it would have discouraged or frightened me.

The charity portion has been a success, and I thank each and every one of you who’s donated from the bottom of my heart. So far we’ve raised $371 in donations and $100 in pledges — the pledges have really provided me with incentive to reach my word count goal; if I don’t write enough, I don’t get the money. So far, I’ve logged 10K out of 50K, so there’ll be a lot of catching up to do.

In addition to a metric ton of writing this week, I’ll be trying to update the writing desk a bit more regularly with thoughts about process, snippets of what I’m working on, and (hopefully) the Citizen Kane review at long last. I’ll be heading to Disney Land (!!) on Friday, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t see something from me there, too.

If you’d like to donate money to my Clarion Write-A-Thon, or pledge an amount to motivate me towards completing my word count, visit my author page here. I’m nearly at my $500 goal; I just need a generous donation of $30 more. Once I’ve crossed the finish line, I’ll need to come up with incentives of some sort for “stretch goals”.

In the meantime, I hope you guys are living great stories. I’ll see you here tomorrow!

One thought on “Bringing Up The Rear: Clarion Week 3

  1. I think for once I have the answer to someone’s question!

    There is no winding down, no coda. The story is over immediately upon reaching the final resolution. The trick is that most people think the plot resolution is the final resolution. It isn’t.

    Tony Earley says, “A story is about a thing and another thing.” The first thing is the plot. The second is the characters. When people talk about conflict, climax, failure, final climax, they’re talking about the plot. The final resolution, the resolution of the second thing, shows the impact of the plot’s resolution on the characters.

    I have a blog post explaining this in more detail. Your software marks my comments as spam when I leave a link, so I’ll try mangling it: fimfiction dot net/blog/257540

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