| David Gane
Doublets, the game of changing a single letter to shift from one word to another was invented by Lewis Carroll, and is also known as word ladders.
This is an appropriate way to describe the work on my current short story. I started with two words: actress and alpaca. The actress lead me in one direction and alpacas turned to antiques. Antiques lead me in another direction, and soon enough I was amongst sea monsters and woolly mammoths. In the end, I am sticking with the mammoths, but it was a long way from the alpacas.
The reason I mention this is that I met a friend who is struggling with her writing. I told her about my own process to get back to writing, and the slow transition to where I am now. It started with writing a fast story, which only drove me to boredom. I continued on to an old script, which was became a good exercise but whose story will likely never reach the world. After I finished that, I moved to short fiction, because I had to write something, and it was the closest I had in my mind. I completed that, imposing a great many rules (probably too many) on the work, but it got past the first draft stage. Finally, I moved on to this story about the mammoths and I know it will be another few days or weeks before it is done. Yet, I am happy.
The process is long and tough but it has to be, so that you dig a little deeper and not rely only on structure to get you to the end. You have to trust on the hope that the longer path up (or down) the ladder will lead you to the heart of the story. It is a building process, reconsidered and reconstructed, every brick and word at a time.