How to tell a story out loud

  1. surgebwLook at your list of story ideas and decide they are all crap. Make some coffee.
  2. Pick an idea from the list and start thinking about it.
  3. Stay up too late and write three paragraphs. Tear them up.
  4. Get up at six to write and check your email.
  5. Go out for coffee and overhear the barrista complaining about her crazy cousin. Remember your crazy cousin. Go home and start writing about your crazy cousin.
  6. Write 1200 words. Decide they are crap. Go to bed.
  7. Wake up. Read the 1200 words. Decide there might be a story in there.
  8. Tell the story to the cat. Kick the cat off the desk.
  9. Do a little cutting. Despair that you’ll ever get down to seven minutes.
  10. Tell the story 25 times in the car on the morning commute. Trust that other drivers will think you’re on the phone.
  11. Bribe people with lunch to listen to the story and tell you what’s wrong with it. (There must be something wrong with it.)
  12. Fix the story. Tell it to the cat.
  13. Despair that you’ll ever get down to seven minutes.
  14. Ruthlessly cut the cute stuff.
  15. Ruthlessly cut the stuff that isn’t essential to the through line.
  16. Take out the three stories hiding in the story.
  17. Start to like the story.
  18. Swing wildly to hating the story.
  19. Tell the story to your husband. Follow his advice.
  20. Tell the story to an audience. Spend three days deciphering what you think they thought.
  21. Tweak the story. Put it away for next time. Find a next time.