Last week I launched my first short story, DELILAH’S VALOR. It was a terrifying leap into the public sphere, but your response to it has been far better than I could have hoped. Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed it, please tell a friend or leave a review.
If you haven’t read it yet, check out the sidebar for links to all your favorite ebook dealers and give it a whirl.
I had a family member mention twist endings and the twist ending in DELILAH’S VALOR over the weekend and it got me thinking. Mostly about how I NEVER INTENDED to have a twist ending in this short story. I just had a rough concept of a character, started a scene with as many senses as I could manage and then let the story unfold under my fingers. I was just as surprised at the ending as any of the readers were. This is the first time that the twist ending was quite accidental (and perhaps that’s why it seems better executed?).
Either way, twist endings get a bad rap for their gimmicky nature, but I think the best twist endings are not only the endings that change the whole story, but the endings that make you WANT MORE. For instance, I loved THE SIXTH SENSE, but I’ve only watched it once. The twist was interesting and well done, but it flavored the whole story in a tragic light that made it hard to re-watch. I didn’t want to see the characters reside in that tragic, fatal space any longer.
Now this may be controversial (and I don’t care), but one of my favorite twist endings is in LADY IN THE WATER. It’s an underrated M. Night Shyamalan movie and one of my favorites. But when Cleveland Heep discovers his true role and it’s not the role he wanted–man. It gets me every time. Granted the THE SIXTH SENSE and LADY IN THE WATER are very different movies (stylistically and genre and all that), I want to stay in the space where Cleveland Heep has discovered his true role. The space where Cleveland Heep has accepted his grief and is starting to heal.
Do you have a favorite twist ending? Why do you think it’s your favorite (or what do you think works)?
You Can Control Rejections.
No, you can’t control IF you get rejections. Writing is such a subjective field (a point that I understood to my core as I graduated with a major in English Literature from a university).
But what you can do is control whether those rejections consume you. Whether they resurrect your worry, your self-doubt, your insecurities. Whether a rejection in your inbox steals your writing momentum for days, or even weeks.
Well, by writing anyways. By writing on a new project. ENJOYING the process of writing is crucial here. Become a moving target.
I’ve received the most rejections I ever have in the last six months and they just haven’t bothered much. Those who are close to me have even commented on the way these rejections don’t seem to sink in like they used to. I’ve pondered a lot on why that is and I think it has a lot to do with becoming a moving target. I don’t obsess about any one project or any one opportunity for very long. I’ve realized that there are many different opportunities; an individual rejection isn’t the end of a dream–just a redirection.
Keep writing. Keep submitting. Keep the faith.
Then, no matter how sharply that rejection is written, it cannot pierce you–it cannot pin you down.
I was sitting in a writer’s conference when I realized it. I do NOT want to be an author.
An author is someone who wrote that ONE book (or two). The ones she can’t stop doting on. An author gets a little nervous when someone asks them what they are working on now or when the next book will come out.
I want to be a storyteller.
You’ve seen a storyteller at a panel or writing conference. Usually they are the keynote, but not always. They’ve been in the business for decades. They can’t recite every title they’ve published; the list is too long. Besides, they are more excited about the current project and the project after that and after that. They have found joy in the act of CREATING story, not in just the ego-lift of having done the thing.
This is the path I’ve chosen. It may not be your path. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Here I will detail my journey to be a storyteller.