like you are being turned inside out, to watch such mute suffering.
if i set out to write a short story, i inevitably come up with something in the 8,000 word range.
on thursday, however, i had one of those flashes of inspiration at work that come only when you are so tired, so frustrated, so sick of being in an office when everything that matters to you is back at home, when every hour feels so precious and thus that much more of a waste . . . but i digress. i had a flash of inspiration, i was twiddling my thumbs waiting for a client to respond, and i quickly typed out what i thought would be, in fact, a flash fiction.
it felt strong enough that i put the novel aside today and finished it instead . . . and now i have a full draft of a properly short story: just shy of 3000 words long. strange little story, where the heck did you come from? i feel like you’re my red-headed stepchild. happy to have you, but for the life of me i have no idea what part of my mind you sprang from.
a remarkably ugly set of venice-related chapters done. on to milan.
looking ahead, there will be a fair bit that can come out of the later chapters, and one subplot might have to go entirely, since most of its purpose is now moot. starting to feel a little hopeful after all. when in doubt, go linear.
in other news, i had a remarkably thoughtful critique of a short story by leah bobet. i wish she hired herself out as a beta reader. so many folks critique the language and the structure, but can’t talk about the story itself save how they react to it as readers (they liked it/hated it/were moved by it/didn’t buy it/etc.) which is all fine and dandy, but it’s rare that you find folks who can look critically at the story: about the expectations it creates, the questions it raises, how it establishes authority. myself least of all, it is perhaps what i am most blind to in my own work. i feel lucky to now have two such people, even if the bobet experience was a one-off. i need all the schooling i can get on this.