I’ve been hammering the keyboard, trying to finish my first draft. It has taken longer than I expected, even taken a few different turns to the story. I find myself getting bogged down and feeling stagnate. Of course, you have all heard that too much of a good thing is bad. In my case, it’s true. I have been writing on this book long enough that I started writing in circles. Yes, it can happen. It’s a process of looking back through my work making sure the details and story are still intact and flowing as they should. God forbid I mess up on my first draft. What happens is, I find what I’m looking for, but instead of moving on, I begin to think of how I want the edit to work on that particular spot so it matches what I’m writing now. In turn, I edit what I’m writing, to match what is already written. You can see how this could be problematic.
I always stress that editing should only come after the initial draft is complete. Make sure you have all the gory details, dying to get out, down onto paper before they are lost. This is important because you can edit as many times as you like until you feel it is complete. However, you only get one chance to write your first draft. This “writing in a circle” conundrum gets in the way of the creative flow of the story. To fix this problem I decided to take a break from the book. Unthinkable, right? Wrong! As important as it is to finish your first draft, it does no good if your head is in the wrong place. I turned my attention instead to a writing exercise that keeps the brain fresh. I call it the rule of 10.
The rule of 10 is a short story with no more than 10 sentences. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? We’re creative writers…it’s what we do. Fine, then do it. The idea behind the rule of 10 is that to write a cohesive story in less than ten lines forces you to focus on the details that matter. There is no room for half the garbage we normally fill our stories with. It forces creativity and makes us push the limits of minimal writing.
Today I’m throwing down the gauntlet. A challenge to you all, to come up with a cohesive story in 10 lines or less. And making each sentence should fall within the normal parameters grammar. Sentences should not be a paragraph long. If they are, you are missing the point of the exercise. So, write your story, then please, share them. I want to read them, others will want to read them. If nothing else, it will improve your creative writing skills. Below is my story. #ruleof10
Rule of 10.
I could hear him enter the room, a demon stalking his prey.
I knew the sound of his steps by heart.
I escaped him once before, I’m unsure if I can do it again.
I Move slow, and avoid making eye contact for fear this will set him on me straight away.
Instead I slink down behind a chair so everything is hidden save for the small opening I can see him through.
His wet nose sniffs the air, and the ground catching my scent.
I’m afraid to even breathe, for fear of giving myself away.
He is so close to catching his prey he is twitching with excitement.
I must go now or it may be too late.
I spring from behind the chair, startling the life out of my little four pound Chihuahua sending him in running circles around the living room floor.