Sunday, December 13, 2009

Another Thing I'm Not Good At

I have this story I tell at parties now and then.  It's a true story vividly recalled from my own childhood, and every telling is a unique performance.  I'm a border collie, using various details to charge and feint until every listener has been herded into the right mindset.  Only when I have them on the edge of their seats with bated breath do I give them the climax.  When it's all over, they blink and laugh and say they need a drink and realize how badly they've needed to pee.

It's awesome.

Unfortunately, I don't know how to capture this magic in writing.  I've tried to write this particular story at least half a dozen times, and it never works.  Unlike fiction, the context of the story is my entire childhood, the relevant details infinite. Without being able to read my readers the way I can read a live audience, I can't settle on a useful perimeter.

I'm having the same problem with my entry for Moonrat's Mentors, Muses & Monsters contest.  I'm trying to tell a true story from my life, one I've told out loud many times, and again I can't seem to circumscribe it for the writing.

Oh well.  I'm no good at calculus either, but I get along.

1 comment:

  1. It's like a performance piece. You could write the script but it wouldn't come across the same way. My mother used to tell us a story that her mother used to tell her. I was thinking about this story today, about how if I tried to retell it in written form it would never work unless it was written as a script with stage directions and then it was performed.
    But then again, do you think your story might work with less reliance on visual cues such as body language or eye contact. Perhaps you could try different things like summarizing the story, outlining it, analyzing the theme and characters and then writing the story based on what you came up with when the story had been deconstructed.