Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Friday, September 02, 2016

A little story help for this week's short story

This evening, I finished writing this week’s short story. It has not been an easy story to figure out. I got the idea for this story last weekend, while watching the movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I have seen that movie a million times and I always enjoy watching it. However, when I saw the movie this time, I wondered about something for the very first time: What happens to Chief after he escaped?

As a writer, I’m always asking, What if? But I also ask, What happens next? What is the rest of a character’s story? Where does everybody go from there?

So I decided that this week’s short story would be my idea of what happens to Chief. Of course, I didn’t keep the character names in my story. I don’t wanna get sued! I changed some things around so that it’s not EXACTLY that story but similar to it.

I started writing this story on Monday but I had trouble figuring out what happens next. I spent some time thinking about it all week. As the week started to draw to a close, I knew I was going to have to write SOMETHING if I wanted to beat my deadline to get it done by Friday. So I just wrote whatever came to mind and went from there.

The funny thing is, two things happened today that seemed to help me along.

In my story, Chief is working as a ranch hand in Canada. He changed his name and his appearance but he still pretty much looks the same. In one scene, I had Chief (that is NOT his name in the story) shoveling horse crap out of the stalls. I have NEVER worked on a ranch. I have no experience in taking care of horses or what all is involved in working as a ranch hand, so it was hard for me to envision the things my character had to do. But what’s weird is that after I wrote that scene, I was watching Supernatural, and it was the episode in which Dean was working undercover on a ranch. ("Trial and Error.") It actually showed him shoveling horse poop! So I got a better idea of what that particular task involves.

Then, I was reading a novel I am currently reading for Night Owl Reviews, and in one scene, the author noted that the ranch owner had his horses in a corral. I was all like, “What the heck is a corral?” So I grabbed my phone and Googled it. When I realized that it’s a fenced area horses are kept in, I was all like, “Oh, so that’s what that thing’s called.” But I was grateful too – because in a scene I’d written earlier, I needed to know the name of that very thing! When I went back to writing the story later today, I made the change. It’s called a CORRAL.

I thought it was really interesting those two things happened today when I was working on getting this story written up. I am glad I was able to figure the story out and that I have yet one more short story to add to all of the others I have written for every week of this year so far. Looking forward to writing up the rest of the stories for the rest of the weeks of 2016!

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