Three Things for this situation:

Not the way it’s set out to do the thing, but that’s life – I tend to be a bit of a rebel anyway, so I saw the ‘Name Three Things‘ and because of my issues earlier today, I put it to myself with my own question: What Three Things Can I Do With It Now?

It‘ being the story that I’ve just finished the first draft of the second rewrite – the Horse Story, a thriller set in country Victoria, Australia.

Some background – when I ‘finish’ a story, I go out and look around to see what’s out there (in the category/genre), how many are similar or close to the premise; you know, stuff like that. Sometimes there’s one or two, sometimes none (I wonder if this is a good thing or bad), sometimes there might be a discussion on the basic underlying idea/theme/notion/premise. This time was different. I got a shock. I really did.

So many (seventeen within a few minutes of searching and skimming) with the Same Premise. It might be okay if the idea was similar because the style and setting and characters can round it out to be different enough. The notion or theme is a bit wishy-washy anyway so I wouldn’t normally worry too much about it … but the underlying Premise? That’s the big thing in a story (for a writer it’s the big thing).

Oh, I know – those musae get out and about and pop their little ideas into as many heads as they can, and you gotta grab the idea and fly before too many others get aboard that idea train … but Seventeen?

Then I saw the three things post … and my mind wandered off onto a lost path and came up with a way to discover a new direction; three postulations for what to do with the story now, so I could:

  1. Forget it. Go on to the next story. Walk away, head down, kicking the biggest rocks and blueing up the grey day for not checking Before writing the first draft (one answer to this is that the story always changes in the writing so I wouldn’t have had an idea of what the final thing would become – it just is what it is).
  2. Don’t think about it until after the first draft of the next story is at ‘the end’ and then come back and reconsider, recheck how many there are – and how good they are (and maybe where they’re set). I might also feel better by then.
  3. Change at least two of the major points of the premise. This would take a bit of work, but I’ve done it before and sometimes a better story comes of it. However, I already have two other stories where this is happening, not because of what else was out there, but because I wasn’t happy with the whole parcel of the story.

That’s three things.

I’ll come back to it for the decision later, but if you’ve done it, or it happened to you – What Would You Do? What Have You Done?

11 thoughts on “Three Things for this situation:

  1. The 2nd choice seems to work best for me, Cage. Treat it as finished draft. Put it aside and look again at a later time.

    I’m interested – how do you do your ‘premise checking’ re other authors. Do you have an approach you take to the task?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’m a speed reader, so I skim the blurb, the preview (the first 20-25%); that will give me enough to know if it’s well-written, so I then go on to the next stage, (if I can get it) the 65-80% point of the story. That’s enough to give me the rounded-out motive for the story. Usually. It will always show me if the story is well-defined or structured because if it isn’t, that’s also easy to ignore; they tend to wander too much, and an unfocussed story is likely to have an unfocussed premise.
      More often than not, it’s the blurb that gives the most info on the premise, but the preview is also pretty good.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, that makes sense.

        Hard to know how to place myself in the s[here of genres. Somewhere in the realm of poetry/short story/verse novel, before coming to actual subject and placement of that.

        Not sure what to make of myself,nor whether to worry too much about it. Though everything seems to need to be pitched at a genre market.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Think category first – so poetry and anthology (for more than one or two short stories in one publication). there are specific categories for poetry, but I don’t know them.
        It’s not that the market is genre-specific, but the places where we sell our stuff (or put it out to the market) likes to label things, and some of the buyers only go into specific aisles, so if you don’t pick the right one, they may not see it (as writers, though, we can change the categories for the ebooks!).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, anthologies and collections are the general rule, I think. Some next level things are straightforward. Small Town Kid will be memoir. What the bushfire set will fit I don’t know. Other work will be more general fantasy. The space traveler will likely be spec fiction. I guess it all sorts itself.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think it makes a difference if it goes in the right category when first published – otherwise, it just slips out of view too fast. One day is all it takes to lose all the people who look at the new stuff in the area they like to read in; one day and the title disappears too far down the list for anyone to scroll to.
        And for me, that’s why it’s important to do the checking before I publish – give it every chance I can to get people to see it, and then dazzle them with something else * I shakes me head, disbelievin’ *

        Liked by 1 person

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