Taking a Fiction Break

The memoir is cooling. I won’t go back and begin the first serious revision until month’s end. So I decided to work on some neglected short fiction. Kumari for sure will be finished before the month is over and I have a Stephen King inspired monster story that is about a third of the way done which I want to finish as well.

As fate would have it, however, I was driving home from town after BabyD’s ballet class and was struck by a great first line. First lines in stories has been a preoccupation of mine for the past few weeks as memoir stuff rolls about in my head. A first line can make or break you because it influences the paragraph that follows. Sometimes, that’s all a writer gets to hook a reader.

So what was the line?

We killed the first one with a Chevy Avalanche.

The road home at night is a secondary highway through farmland. It’s narrow and has no shoulders to speak of with a gaping ditch on either side for any sort of wildlife to hide before making a run for the other side. This includes deer, of course, but also coyote and fox as well as dogs and cats. Even in the winter, you have to be aware of the possibility that something will dart out in front of you.

So while I was watching the road and scanning for potential roadkill and thinking about first lines … one came to me. Unfortunately, an entire story followed close on its heels and loathe to lose it, I started writing it Tuesday afternoon. By Thursday evening, I had 6000 words, and I expect to finish it today although I don’t know where the word count will fall out. I am think at about 8 grand, but that’s just a guess based on the fact that I am averaging about 2000 words a day on it.

And I really like it. It includes French dialogue and only slightly suspect scientific factoids.*

February is a fiction month for me. I had decided that back in January actually. 50 something Moms only requires two pieces from me a month and they have been published already. Blogging here is not really an effort as I do some of it ahead, but I will be leaving less of a footprint on the blogosphere this month. Not so much Facebook. No networking among the blogo-mom’s. Just fiction.

And so far, I am enjoying this fiction break. I have been away from it a bit and am surprised at how much I really like immersing myself in worlds of my own creation. It has made me rethink a few things, but I am not ready to discuss that today.

I will still be blogging here. Never fear. And I will let you know how the fiction goes as it goes.

*Rob is going to fact check my science. It’s good to be married to a grammarian with a chemistry degree.

7 responses to “Taking a Fiction Break

  1. You’re wise to set the memoir aside for a little while, then go back to it. I always tell my writing students that “letting it cool” is the very best thing we can do for any piece of writing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found errors or embarrassing turns of phrases in my published pieces — columns and essays included. Three editors proofed my book before it went to press, yet I still found a few stray typos after it was published.

  2. I an anxious to read the story that grows out of that first line. I love first lines too. Wish that I had the depth to do more than just one liners!

  3. I’ve seen some reviewers who habitually post the opening line of a book as part of their review.

    Yes, variety is the spice of life. Good to visit fiction for a while the memoir simmers 🙂

  4. Narrowing focus sounds absolutely perfect for February. I would do the same if I knew where to start. I will be traveling dark back roads later tonight. Maybe something will come to me….

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