Process Stories

Photo credit: Kazuo Ota on Unsplash

Last night, I discovered a streaming series entitled, “The Movies that Made Us.” In its first season, the series explored the making of “Dirty Dancing,” the iconic coming-of-age story of a young woman who falls in love with a dance instructor during her family’s summer vacation at a Catskills resort.

“Dirty Dancing” was released in 1987. I had just moved to Stamford, Connecticut, when the movie came out, but I didn’t know that the studio responsible for “Dirty Dancing” was also based in Stamford or that this studio was known at the time for adult videos, not feature films. I also didn’t know the driving forces behind the movie were two women, or that at least part of the movie was based on the experiences of one of the women, or that they’d ended up with the now-defunct Stamford studio because literally every other studio had turned it down, many claiming it was “too girly.”

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The Novella Dilemma

Novella: a work of fiction intermediate in length and complexity between a short story and a novel.

(Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com)

So here’s the situation. You sat down to write a story. You didn’t think about form or length. You just wanted to tell this particular tale. When you finished, you found that it was 20,000 words long. “Gee,” you thought. “That seems kind of long for a short story.” And then you did a little research, and you found that most literary journals want stories of less than around 5,000 words (some less than 3,000).

oops

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Or Sometimes, Wait

 

waiting

We’ve all heard of setting ourselves up to fail. It’s what happens when we’re gung-ho about doing something right now even though any remotely rational person would say, “Um, honey? Maybe this isn’t exactly the right time.” Continue reading