The Oddities of Room 34, a collection of short stories all from different authors, comes out in four days.
April 10th. That is the day when you will have the opportunity to see all of our work and labor over the past semester.
So in honor of that, I’m going to tell you four things that I have learned through writing my story, “Warfare of Toys”.
1. Not all stories have to be happy to end happy
My story is very not happy. It brings forth a feeling of anxiety over something that the main characters care very deeply about. And what happens to them in the short, five-page story is less than comfortable or good. But it ends well. I promise that.
It didn’t use to end well. I thought, “If it starts grim, it needs to end grim.” But sometimes the best and happiest endings come from the grimmest of tales. Don’t overlook an ending happiness, because it points to something greater in a greater way.
2. First drafts should not see the light of day
If you think that your first draft is publishable, then you are either the best writer that ever lived (better than JRR Tolkien or Stephen King, mind you, for they had draft upon draft before they were ever happy with anything) or you should not be writing in the first place.
First drafts need to be sloppy, confused, ineffective and in need of love and attention. They are imperfect. Now, a final draft probably isn’t perfect itself, but the journey from the first to the last needs to be a ground shaking difference.
My first draft was good. A lot of people liked it, but it also confused a lot of people. I spent the rest of the semester slaving over clarity, tone, and rhythm. Did it turn out perfect? No. Obviously not. But it is something I am proud of, and it was all thanks to the class that beat the first draft to death.
3. Cutting out more is better than adding
When you are a writer, you will come across something that does not belong in your story. You will say, “I love this! I spent hours in it, and it means a lot to me personally.” That is your cue to kill it, because, chances are, it is a poison in your story that does not belong. Not always, but more often I am finding that if I have a problem with cutting it out, I should at least consider it.
It is for the sake of my story, and my readers. I do not write for myself. Therefore, I need to make sure what I write is effective towards my readers, and not something I can be personally happy about. They are often synonymous, but you must be ready to sacrifice.
4. I and never going to stop
Writing is addictive. It is wondrous. It is something I do not plan on stopping. In fact, I only plan on writing more. Not for the sake of a bunch of full notebooks, but something publishable and ready for the world to read. I do not believe in not sharing my stories anymore. If you write stories and hide them, you are not a writer. Not a real one.
Real writers need to make a stand for what they believe in. What is the point of a talent if it is never shared? A flower blooms in the sun, not the shadows. So it is time to walk out into the open. Friends, The Oddities of Room 34 is just the start for me.
So there it is. I hope you will pick up a copy of The Oddities of Room 34. I’ve spent a lot of time and dedication trying to make my story worth reading, and I think I have succeeded in a grand way.
You can order a copy on Amazon.com, this coming Monday. If all goes well, I will be sitting down and reading a physical copy of the story I have worked on, as well as the stories of my peers who have worked equally as hard, if not harder.
Here is to your future of happy reading.