A First Year

Trent-11-9-2018-phone-2-print

I have always enjoyed writing.  I also enjoyed creating stories.  The problem is, those two things didn’t always coincide quite right.  I would write stories in my head and nonfiction for school, work or different organizations, but I always grew frustrated with myself when I tried to actually write those stories out.

One morning in November of 2009 I posted a poetic line about the beautiful, unseasonably warm day.  A friend told me that she thought it sounded like a great first line of a short story.  So I sat down and over the next few days I wrote a story to fit that line.  What came out was the story Indian Summer, which I posted a few days ago.

A week or two later I wrote another story, a “short-short” of about 500 words.  A few weeks later, in mid-December of 2010, I wrote another longer story.  The new story, Five Long Walks, I planned out in my head before starting.

I was hooked.

In the year from November 2009 to November 2010 I wrote about a half dozen 4,000 and 9,000 word stories and another half dozen of less than 1000 words.

I have used most of the short-shorts on the blog and Indian Summer was the last of the longer ones that hadn’t been used.  Yes, the first was the last.

I used three of the stories in my first book of Short stories Seasons of Imagination, namely, The Monsters’ House, Living Memories and The Washer Woman.  Quite a few people who have read this collection have told me that The Monsters’ House and Living Memories are two of their favorites, if not their very favorites.

In my up coming collection of short stories, Embers, I am using one from this time period, Midnight’s Flower.

I think one reason why so many of those dozen stories are in my top favorites is because that is all I was doing.  I wasn’t under a time limit for the stories – I could take weeks, while most stories I have posted on the blog took hours, some even minutes.  Thinking of ” the blog”, I wasn’t keeping up a blog, so I wasn’t doing other writing.  There was no competition for my creative output.  I wasn’t writing to prompts.  Most of the stories, after the first two, were planned out before I wrote one word.  Some I had thought about for quite a few days before the first word was written down.

After that year, though, I stopped writing.  I became too busy, too much competed for my attention.  It was two years later before I really got back into writing.  That’s when I started drafting chapters and ideas for The Fireborn.  I spent most of the spring and summer of 2013 writing that.  But that’s a completely different story, now isn’t it?

(If you didn’t catch it, the half dozen “longer” short stories were Indian Summer, Five Long WalksMidnight’s Flower, The Monsters’ House, Living Memories and The Washer Woman.  I also wrote four essays of over 2,000 words.  One did make it to the blog.)

So what?  I recently brought up that little piece of history, Indian Summer, and have been thinking about this productive period.  It was the first time I really sat down and wrote.  It wasn’t just a short fluke and then back to my routine.  Despite the short time off between the last story, The Washer Woman, and my book The Fireborn, I consider that year as the beginning of my “writing career”, such as it is.

 

 

 

 

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15 thoughts on “A First Year

  1. Prior...

    I always enjoy getting to know more about your writing journey – and from the comment to Sandra – I see you have been a writer all your life and it has churned in you! That is so cool and I also admire how you let it unfold over the years – or make that God led and continues to lead your writing projects. It is all in his hands – right ? I mean, write!
    And the Indian summer book is a good time to be brought up as it feels like Indian Summer over here.
    Have a nice day t
    Oh wait – paragraph three has a typo – says December 2019?
    But please tell me that we are still in 2018 – lol

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      You’ve been having Indian Summer? It’s been 20 degrees colder than usual here! We received 6 inches of snow yesterday! And you were right, not only is it still 2018, but that was supposed to say 2010, not 2019.

      Thanks Y. Yes, writing stories in my head is something I had done my entire life, and I tried a couple of times to write them out,but it wasn’t until that year – Nov 2009 – Dec 2010, that I actually sat down and wrote and had stuff come from it that I actually liked… Whether it was just older and less ADHD, having spent the previous 5 years intensely studying classical music composition or God leading me or whatever, for some reason, it all just came together then. I was a far different person than the recent college grad who tried to write on an electric typewriter I received for Christmas…

      Anyway, I will let you get back to your break :)

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      1. Prior...

        still on break but had to update my yoga page and then check in real quick like…
        oh and regarding the weather – still no snow here – but did have a frigid few days to now have almost 50 degrees on a sunday – whew – so nice
        – and wishing you a good day

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
        1. trentpmcd Post author

          Glad you are enjoying your break. Yeah, we had frigid weather. Snow in NH but none on Cape Cod. Today is a bit warmer, but 50s on the Cape (I left this AM) and 40s in NH.

          Hope your weekend is going (has gone) well and that you have a great week!

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  2. fakeflamenco

    I like that your friend’s comment about the poetic sentence inspired you to write more. The writing friends I’ve made along the way have made all the difference to me in helping me continue to be productive. I am in two long-term writing groups right now, one we’ve met once a month for ten years. The other, twice a month for a year. I’ve participated in two FTF writing groups during the last 20 years and that’s kept me going. -Rebecca

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      My friend was actually a friend from my home town who I have known for more years than I admit that I have been alive. She is a journalist who wrote a well received YA novel. So she is someone I would, and did, listen to about writing! I have been in little short lived informal groups, but not the type of writing group you are talking about. I have always wanted to get involved, but all of the face-face (as opposed to online) groups I have found are quite a drive. perhaps I should look online. Cool that the other people in the group keep you inspired.

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      1. fakeflamenco

        How great to get that advice from an established writer! I bet you can find a group that exchanges ms online. Yes, I learn a lot from the other writers by reading their work and receiving their comments. Meeting regularly keeps me focused. : ) Rebecca

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  3. Marilyn Armstrong

    It is nice to have enough time to go over the story until you really feel you’ve gotten it right. I right (mostly) well in advance and if it isn’t timely, I leave it as a draft for at least a few days. It’s not quite as much time, but it’s better than a quick scribble and post!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      It is a good thing to leave it for a while. When I go to publish something I take a lot of time for editing and revising. And I do sit on it for a long time to see it with fresh eyes. I think the difference is that the stories themselves were stronger since they were more thought out. I also experimented, like this first story I talked about, Indian Summer, switches back and forth between two POVs, but both 3rd person. When in the man’s POV, everything is related to visual arts, with color, line and shape standing out with everything he sees or does. With the woman, everything goes back to music. All she experiences is filter in the language of sound, rhythm, harmony and melody. Now, if I see a prompt and post an hour later, I don’t experiment with POV, or try putting in a lot of symbolism or the other things I played with. the plot isn’t as intricate, with different strands moving in different directions making a weave of ideas.

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  4. Sandra Conner

    It’s great that you can look back at that time and see how the creative process began — at least how it began as a serious endeavor. Just two days ago, I was standing, looking at my old Canon electric typewriter and just sort of patted it and reminded it that it, not a computer, had written my very first novel. It now sits unused in the back bedroom, with a cover over it to keep dust out, but it still holds a place in my creative life that nothing else can hold. Somehow, being able to go back to that specific time is both gratifying and enabling. I’m grateful for the experience of the beginning, and, as I think on how far I’ve come, I feel enabled to go further. I’m sure you feel that as well.

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I like the story of your old Canon. Quite a few years before the events here. OK, about 22 years before the events here, I wanted to take up writing seriously. I had hundreds of stories running through my brain. My mom bought me an electronic typewriter. yeah…. no… It didn’t work out and the stories that I translated to page were awful. I gave the typewriter to my sister the next Christmas… After a few false starts, this was the beginning. No old typewriter to look at to remind me, but some old stories that I really like.

      Liked by 2 people

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