More Craft in the Canyon

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Yesterday, I wrote about how I spend my mornings. Afternoons down here in the canyon, though, are not something to miss. Often the warmest part of the day this time of year, I have aimed to spend time outdoors each afternoon if at all possible. So far, that’s meant putting up with a lot of wind and the constant threat of rain showers, but I’ve also gotten some great hikes, walks, and bike rides in. Physical activity is a huge part of my writing process and the further I get in my recovery from breaking my foot, the closer I feel I am getting to “my old self” again. If I’m not for facing the elements, I can still get my heart rate going indoors with free-weights, power yoga, crunches, leg lifts, and pushups. Add an iPod into the mix and, even though I’ve been in the same house for days on end, I can still “transport” enough to feel as though I’m getting out of my head and taking a healthy break.
With my mind and body cleared of stale energy and with a wave of new heat and muscle fatigue spread throughout, I spend the afternoons writing or adding to new stories. The form I’ve enjoyed lately is what author J.A. Tyler calls “triptychs.” It’s a series of 3 flashes all in a row along a larger theme. While Tyler’s triptychs are short (perhaps 1 paragraph each), I’ve modified his model slightly. In my triptychs, each of the three parts is a stand-alone flash fiction piece (1000 words or less, usually closer to 500). Framed together with an intentional triptych title and put in a particular order, the three pieces take on an added meaning that I find really interesting to work with as a writer.

After writing along a theme for Personae of War, it felt really disorienting to have a blank page and wide-open possibilities. But once I settled on a form and found themes emerging within it, new stories started to flow.

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