What I Learned from “Autumn Orange”

“Autumn Orange”, a piece of flash fiction I posted a week or so ago, gave me a realization:  I am a writer!  (see Autumn Orange

Although I’ve worked diligently on craft for the past ten years; i.e. taking classes, studying grammar, analyzing works of fiction, deconstructing sentences; I have not felt like a writer and could not label myself as such.  Honestly, writing is difficult for me and it takes  me a very long time to get something out, or so it seems. 

Take the case of  “Autumn Orange”.  A challenge was given to write a piece of flash fiction, 200 words or less, beginning with a specific clause, ending with specific words, and using the word orange.  For at least five days, I jotted down words and phrases, and noted observations of light and shadows.   At this point, there were no sentences, no story, no real direction on where this was taking me.  I thought about the senses: hear, smell, see, touch, taste, and movement.  The idea of hearing silence popped into my head.  I began to see light and shadows as dancers and I tapped into some emotion in myself.  Then, only then, the story began to take shape.

I am very curious to know the process that other writers go through.  Is it similar to mine?  The task of writing a novel of 50,000 or more words is mind-boggling to me at my snail pace.  I do believe the more I write the easier it gets.  Believe!  Believe!  And write every day!  Any other advice will be appreciated!!!!!!!


About Wings of Wonder

Linda Ruddy is a creative and she works in a variety of materials including pencils, paints, paper, porcelain and fabric. Her current projects involve hand-sewn bookbinding, children's book illustrating, and writing. In 2010, two of her paintings were published in the Saddleback College literary magazine, The Wall. In the past, she has received recognition for painting and doll making. Linda lives in California with her husband and family pet. Her new blog can be found at:www.wingsofwonder.worpress.com Please visit often to see how the site develops. Following the muse, Linda Ruddy
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6 Responses to What I Learned from “Autumn Orange”

  1. One thing I’ve discovered as a writer is that no two pieces are alike. A process that worked for one story will not necessarily work for another. For me, the characters and story tell me what they need in order to get from start to finish. My first novel needed a strong outline, while my second has decided to be much more free-flowing. 🙂

    Your watercolor reminds me of the one and only time I was successful in creating a watercolor painting. I painted an orange and it took hours and hours to finish, but I did it. 🙂

    • It looks like I never replied to this message. Like you, my first novel needs the strong outline. I’ve begun jutting down ideas again. I’m beginning to work on a timeline, character notebook, and a detailed description of my setting. I still have a few boxes of research to reread, but my ideas are beginning to move again. The organizing has helped to free my mind.

  2. robin says:

    I like to roll words around on my tongue. I get a visceral response to the interplay of certain words and images and to which ones FEEL right. I also try to pay attention to my dreams, to images and themes– sometimes a whole story emerges from a dream.

    I remember when I realized that I was indeed a writer. We each have our own experience of it, a rite of passage, really. Congratulations, Linda!

    • Some words feel right but I think I still see writing in terms of images and emotions, pictures in my mind. I may have had an epithany but I know I still have a long way to go. Thanks for your encouragement!!

  3. marilynscottwaters says:

    Kim Dwinell showed me a technique called an “Emotional beat board” where you plot out the rhythm of the story as a timeline, showing the highs and lows of the protagonist as the story unfolds. I’ll email you a copy. 🙂

    One of my favorite writers is Neil Gaiman and he has tons of good advice on his Tumblr feed. http://neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/ Check it out!


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