I want you to write a story. Look around: what do you see? Down to the last detail, I want you to decribe it. Every dusty piece of bric-a-brac, every chipped coffee mug with a dried ring of yesterday's caffeine fix at the bottom, every crumpled tissue in the wastebasket…bombard me with it. Leave nothing out. Like Zeus's migraine that yielded Athena, your characters live in your mind before they live on the page; even your blood relatives are not linked to you as profoundly. You're never alone because your characters love you back, with a love that transcends infatuation. In fact, their existence renders yours tolerable. That said, you do yourself and the reader a disservice if you omit back story. We need to know everything: where Joe W attended college, what he majored in, whom he dated, and whether he knocked any of them up; why Jennifer X wore this sweater today instead of that blazer she almost put on, whether she took the subway to work or a cab, what type of cocktail she ordered when she met her friend Janice Y for a drink before dinner. Amid all these minutiae--and this is the most important point, so you might want to write it down for future reference--nothing is allowed to happen. Can you do it? It sounds like a big job, creating nothing out of something, but I think you can handle it. Try a few writing exercises. Have a constructive dialogue with your inner child. Put on your thinking cap. Do your best. I promise it'll be brilliant.
The lovely rot : an agony in 8 fits : introducing The Still Life issueSuspect Thoughts : A Journal Of Subversive Writing
Document TypeJournal article
PublisherSuspect Thoughts Press
Publisher StatementCopyrihgt © 2006 Marshall Moore
Citation InformationMoore, M. (2007). The lovely rot: An agony in 8 fits: Introducing The Still Life issue. Suspect Thoughts: A Journal Of Subversive Writing, (17). Retrieved from http://www.suspectthoughts.com/foreword17.htm