Saturday, July 08, 2006

Of all the writing I have done over my life, there are pieces that I have started and abandoned, pieces I have shortened, stretched out. I’ve given them all some kind of closure, finished or not.

There is one, though...

Flashback to my senior year of college, January term. I had an assignment for a class. We had to write ten lines of dialogue. The conversation had to have something to do with the Human Genome Project.

Ten lines. I wrote eight pages. One of the professors came up to me at the end of the class and asked if I wanted to finish it.

I did. Still do. Problem is, I am very stuck.

The dialogue was between a college student and her older brother. They were discussing two things. The brother’s work on the Human Genome Project, and their older sister’s recent, fourth miscarriage.

I have scenarios, conversations. I have the entire family.

I have no ending. No closure. I don’t know why I can’t drop it.

It may have to do with a feeling of unworthiness.

A great deal of the story has to do with Jessica (the older sister mentioned in my class assignment) slowly growing emotionally numb, while her husband walks around her as if she’s glass, ignoring his own grief.

I have never had a miscarriage. Thank God. My mother has. A very good friend of mine and her sister have each had two.

Maybe I feel like I shouldn’t be writing about this. How can I write about the pain if I haven’t experienced it?


This upcoming Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I’ll be taking a class called “Jump Start Your Fiction”. I am hoping it will help.


Blogger Mella said...

I've never lost a parent or experienced a stillbirth, but these are stories that I keep finding on my page. I don't think it's necessary for us to be stabbed in the foot to write about the pain we think we'd experience.

There is freedom in fiction to experience things we haven't through the characters we create. Of course, researching for accuracy can't hurt, but for an experience as unique to the individual as a miscarriage, you have a lot of space to explore how you think *this* character would feel/react/respond - and I don't think there are any wrong answers or responses, only ones that won't ring true for your character.

PS - You should see my fragmented fiction's ridiculous. If only I had that many completed pieces!

11:29 PM  
Blogger Mella said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:32 PM  
Blogger LJ said...

Everybody goes the big question mark on the road.
I like the advice Anne LaMott gives...which is that you have to focus completely on and listen to your characters and they will tell you where the story is going. If you focus on plot, you lose it.
I don't know if that's any use to you, but it can't hurt to drop it off for your consideration.
Best of luck with it - and let us know how the class turns out and whether you are, indeed, "jump started."

8:15 PM  

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