Saturday, June 06, 2009

Diners, Contests, Starkville, and throw-away-fiction

The What's-your-favorite-diner-movie contest is still on and goes until June 9, Tuesday night at midnight. Although the first three posters have won the prize--Jason Stout, Alexander Burns, and Robert Swartwood--post your favorite diner movies or diner scenes in the comment section at the end of this post or the end of any of the other two "diner posts," and I'll put your name into a John Steinbeck coffee cup for an opportunity to get a copy of "Little Sisters," an anthology of short mystery stories.

The first to name the movie featured here will have his or her name in the cup three times!!! Anyone is eligible. Comment in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading "Starkville." My plan is to finish it sometime this next week. Here's what I need to do.

  • Write the Reno scene and incorporate it into the draft.
  • Figure out the role of the trucker. Two readers feel he distracts and that's possible, but I want to see what happens if he "bookends" a meaty scene before I decide.
  • Next I need to read the whole piece making sure I have a strong structure, that there's a clear beginning, middle, and end. That there is always forward progress. And that the climax is both unexpected in some way as well as inevitable.
  • Then I need to go through and check the theme. Do I know what it is yet? Something about human connection being the strongest bond or that dreams sometimes melt away when reality happens??? I don't know yet, but once I decide, then I need to go through and look for opportunities to enhance that theme with specific details.
  • Once I'm comfortable that the story itself works and the theme is there to be found, I will need to work on language. Have I used the strongest most precise words? Is it clear? Does the language also support the theme, the characters, and the story? Are there any unnecessary words?
  • Then and only then I can take a deep breath and set it aside for a while to gain some distance.
  • Revisit the story. Proofread. Finalize.

I won't be sending "Starkville" out to any venues online or off because it has been "published" here, but I'll have it archived at my site for whomever wants to see how it developed. That's always been my intention.

And that's what I mean about "throw-away-fiction." Where these words came from, there will be something new to write with the next prompt, the next niggle of an idea, the next bit of overheard conversation.


K.C. Ball said...


The short-order cook is a young Lee Marvin. That's from Shack Out on 101, made sometime in the 1950s.


Gay Degani said...

You are amazing. That cracks me up that you know that. Don't you love the title?????

K.C. Ball said...

I have a mind just full of useless information. It's so crowded in there.

Yes, it's a great title; but it's a pot-boiler plot. I always wondered why they decided not to put a "The" at the beginning.