Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Right after I had posted that I was working on "Miles in Between" for the Watery Grave Invitational, Denise, earning the big money I pay her (she just chuckled) said, "You won't be able to finish that by June 5th." My Charmer, of course, was very right. That Marshal Gideon Miles story is in the 4k range and it would take me months to bring it to a satisfactory completion. “Have anything else?” she asked.

I went to my laptop for a file called "Fragments" where I jot down all kinds of snippets whenever something pops in the rusty noodle with the thought I can expand on it in the future. One of these named "Reflections in a Glass of Maryland Rye" had one sentence after it that read, Cash Laramie brooding in a Cheyenne saloon. Simple but that’s all I needed and fingers started dancing. Three hours later, I had a very rough draft completed of a 1,100 word story. For the past week I've been polishing it and will continue to do so up to the moment when I send it off. It's very rewarding to have created something out of next to nothing.

Anybody else have fragments laying around?


pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, but generally on a second look, I say huh? No idea where it came from or where I was going.

sandra seamans said...

Always, along with half stories that stalled and whole stories that just don't sing properly. It's always fun to pull them out and see what I can do with them after letting them sit for a while.

Naomi Johnson said...

Much of what I complete comes from such fragments. It's not often that I can write a story wire-to-wire.

Oscar Case said...

Maybe if you put all those Fragments together you could come up with another "Ulysses."

David Cranmer said...

Patti, I have quite a few like that myself. For a change, this one worked out.

Sandra, And when they come together like "Under the Sun" it is magic.

Naomi, Nice thing about having a stockpile is you're never wanting for story ideas.

I don't write literary, Oscar. That would bore me silly. But I appreciate the confidence you have in me. Wait a minute, you said "maybe." :)

Ron Scheer said...

My "fragments" are lists on stray pieces of paper scattered on my desk or post-its, with tangents that occur to me as I work on this early-early western research. Like Patti, I come across them long enough later to wonder "what was I thinking?"... Pleased to hear of the new Cash story. Reflective sort of action type myself, the first line has me already.

Chris Rhatigan said...

It's cool when it happens that way, David. Sometimes writing with your back to the wall is the way to go.

I do keep around some fragments and occasionally those turn into stories. I also will come back to an old story and pull out a scene or a character that I like and go from there. Even if it doesn't work out it gets the creative juices flowing.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've got lots of fragments and every once in a while something starts to gel. Kind of weirdly, I actually rough drafted a story today from one of those fragments. Seems to be a little synchronicity

Dave King said...

This ties in very well with the post I've just visited at "120 Socks" - inspiration the product of last minute panic. Well done, you and best of luck with it.

David Cranmer said...

I have quite a few post-its too, Ron. And notebooks (four of them) that I'm slowly moving over to the computadora.

I hope I haven't overdone the how far Cash Laramie will go thing. The inspiration if you will is James Bond at the beginning of the GOLDFINGER book reflecting on his latest adventure.

Chris, "Gets the creative juices flowing" it does. Sometimes when I'm stuck I head to the file and tinker around like I'm working on an old car in the backyard. Someday I will have that 68 Mustang running.

Great minds, Charles. Great minds.

Thanks, Dave

AC said...

Fragments and notebooks filled with detailed descriptions of stories I never wrote for one reason or another.

Sarah Laurence said...

I love these glimpses into your creative process. It must be so satisfying to finish a project in days.

My novels take months if not years. I also keep files of ideas and passages cut from WIPs. I never leave the house with a notebook to jot down more ideas on the go.

Isn't wonderful to have the sun back?

David Cranmer said...

AC, Yeah I have a feeling it is pretty standard for writers to have pieces everywhere.

Sarah, Just to be clear many of my short stories take years. Ha. And the novel featuring Cash Laramie is going on two years.

YES to the sun! That was the first thing I said waking up this morning.