I Need to Learn Russian

Well, I’m on the cusp of submitting my first short story in my fiction writing class.  And, as with all good classes, I’m learning multiple things, some about myself.

I know you’ll be as surprised as I was when I realized that I am a little bit wordy!  Big shock here.  Do you mean that most people who blog don’t routinely have posts that are over 1,000 words?  How do they say what they’re thinking?  I have to tell you, I think, and speak, in long, rambling, multiple-subject sentences.  So, of course, I write like that too.

Well, this fiction writing class is trying to break me of that!  Let me tell you my sorry little saga of this first story, as an example.

I had the idea for the story, and had started working on it, but now we’re in the home stretch (rough drafts due next week), so a few days ago I sat down and just did marathon typing.  I didn’t pay any attention to word count because I just wanted to get a complete draft on paper.  So, when I finally had a beginning, middle and end, I looked at the word count.  It was 3,500 words.  I then went to find the instructions for the assignment, so that I could know where I stood in comparison to how many words my story needed (I certainly didn’t want it to be too short.  But, what are the chances of that.  Right?). 

Ahh, there were the rules for the contest our stories would be entered in.  Fiction — maximum 3,000 words.  Oh. Oh. I was going to have to do a little “pruning.”  But then the deadline for that contest caught my eye — January 30.  Hmmm. That was past.  That must not be the contest our professor meant.  I looked down the list — Romance, Horror/Ghost, Science Fiction/Fantasy — ahh, this would be the one — Short Story, deadline May 30.  And, let’s see, how many words — 2,000!  Wow.  That must be the reason they call them SHORT stories — I have grocery lists longer than that. 

So, for the last two days, Hubby and I have been doing major surgery on that story.  In fact we’ve done so much cutting, I feel we are now perfectly qualified to do any upcoming brain surgery you may need.  And, I’m sure our rates will be very attractive when you compare them to those of the guys with all the degrees.

So, this is the reason I need to learn Russian.  I don’t think I’m cut out to write little skinny, concise books like, The Ten Minute Manager or Who Moved My Cheese.  No, I’ve decided that Dr. Zhivago is more my style.  Looooong, rambling sentences, that you might have to read several times to grasp all the complex ideas, all clustered in never-ending, verbose paragraphs.

So, I think this morning I’ll have to call around and see when the next Russian class starts at one of the local colleges.  But, in the meantime, essen gut.  Oh, wait a minute — that’s German.  Well I guess that would work just as well.  I remember a time when I met a German man . . . .

6 Responses to I Need to Learn Russian

  1. “Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.”
    – Henry David Thoreau

  2. Sandra says:

    SBW — Amen! Sandra

  3. Chrissy says:

    How is the shortening going, shortening without losing content is tough! Good luck!

  4. Sandra says:

    Hi, Chrissy — We finally have it cut to 1,987! But, you are absolutely right — it was tough, because I felt like I was having to take out all the interesting stuff, and just leave the bare bones.

  5. This was a great post and not at all rambling. I like the punch line especially.

  6. Sandra says:

    Jenny — Why is this comment so sweet? Who are you and what have you done with my daughter? No, stinging wit? No, observations on the burden of having me as a mother? Are you sick? Oh, wait a minute. I’m coming there in a few days to babysit while you’re out of town! Are you afraid if you insult me, I MIGHT bring lots of chocolate and really ramp your kids up on caffeine for when you get back? Hmmm. You’re right — it COULD happen, so just keep up the nice schtick, sister. I’ll take it when I can get it. :}

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