I’ve been working on “Nadie Has a Dog” for the better part of the month and I’m finally getting to the point where it’s wrapping up.
I’ll be honest with you; I’m only now sure how it will end. I wasn’t sure before. In fact, the ending is nowhere near where I thought it’d be.
That’s probably because when I started the story, I only had a couple of scenes in mind.
-The beginning, in which we establish who Nadie is and how she got her name.
-The scene in which she acquires her dog.
-The first scene illustrating what she and her dog do.
After that, I figured I’d wing it. More than likely, writing those scenes, stringing together those parts of the story would lead me to the end. Actually, I thought the last scene was the climax and Nadie and her dog would ride off into the sunset.
Only they didn’t.
And I had to see where the story decided to go.
That happens occasionally with my short stories. I try to be a little more planned out with my longer works, like novellas and novels, just because there’s so much going on that I need to keep track of all of my threads. I let myself have some room to play, of course, but it’s more like dallying between set pit stops on a road trip rather than full on wandering in the woods.
With short stories, I can wander more, though I don’t usually. When I sit down to write, I know what the story is. I still manage to surprise myself, but the overall story is usually written with a solid beginning and ending.
With Nadie, I thought I knew the ending, but I didn’t. There was more story there than I’d originally thought. That’s both scary and neat. The potential to go so far off the rails that the story meanders into nothingness is there and that worries me. I don’t like it when my stories end up as bupkiss. But it is kind of a thrill to just write as it comes and see what happens and see where things go.
Nadie has turned out to be longer and not as overtly shocking as I thought it’d be. Instead there’s a touch of sweetness and a even a little humor to the story. And I like that! It feels right.
Sometimes it’s good to wander.