Process: Some Writing

I’m very pleased to announce that a flash fiction piece I wrote, The Wolf Is in the Kitchen, was recently published in Sole Literary Journal.

When Sole notified me they were taking it, I decided to look back at how this piece transformed draft by draft. And since I’m wearing my writer hat at this residency, I thought I might share some writerly process stuff.

The Wolf Is in the Kitchen is based on an experience I had as a child. This event happened at the age when I was realizing that I was an individual. As an adult I recognize it as a key moment in my awareness of my identity as an Italian hyphen American.

How many drafts?

Twelve.

Drafts one (May 2, 2010) through five were written from the point of view of an adult remembering an event in his childhood. The narrator then recounts the different paths the two main characters traveled after the event. I worked on these drafts for 10 days that May. I thought I had completed it with draft five and sent it to a few places. No takers. I put it aside.

October 2010 I was visiting a friend in North Carolina and something about the change of scenery inspired me to revisit the story. After reading it, I decided to make a big change. I kept the first person narrator, but now the event is being told from the point of view of the nine-year-old boy. The story shifted its focus; it had become about knowledge gained and innocence lost. I sent it to a couple of places November 2010. No takers. I put it away. Honestly, at that time, I lost faith in it as a story.

I opened it again one day in October 2011. I liked the story this time. I recast a sentence and decided to send it out. On November 11, 2011 I sent it to Sole.

The first draft is 678 words, the final draft is 576 words. The longest draft was 859 words.
The first sentence changed seven times.
The last sentence changed eight times.
The two most significant edits: changing the narrator from adult to child and adding a semicolon in the final paragraph (draft 12).

When you get down to it, it’s all about making decisions, from start (is this event something I want to transform into a work of fiction) to finish (semicolon or no semicolon).

Directing a film is all about making decisions, too.

I suspect so too are writing and directing one’s life.