A Little Breathing Room

This new project of mine is quite the undertaking.

It’s not a story yet, just a mish-mash of scenes and explanations, ideas and a couple concrete moments.

This story has lived in my mind for almost four years now. I started writing it in 2010, but basically, I didn’t know how to create the tone I wanted. I hadn’t read enough, and I hadn’t written nearly enough.

So now I’m reading through all these little scenes I’ve written. The earliest ones are bad. Like, real bad. And I understand why I eventually made the decision to shelf the project. This is a complex story that is going to rely on tone and feeling, it’s not so much what’s happening as how the reader reacts to what happens. It’s writing with the audience in mind, and I just couldn’t make that happen for this story. It was the third story I ever tried to write. Over-ambitious is the phrase that comes to mind.

So, the older bits are a lot of telling, and almost no showing. But, I picked up a pen early last year and tried to work on this, long before my novel was ever conceived of. These bits are better. Good, even. I read over them a minute ago and was pleasantly surprised. The scenes feel real. Far more showing, almost no telling, and they flow very well. The characters actually feel like people, instead of some disembodied voice retelling a ghost story.

I’m getting closer. I’m still not reading the right stuff. Joe Abercrombie’s ‘The Blade Itself’ doesn’t have the same feel or even story content as what I’m struggling to achieve in this story. What I need to do is absorb every short story Stephen King has put to paper. That man’s a horror genius. And I need all the insight I can get.

But, I’m not willing to give up on ‘The Blade Itself’. I’m finally warming up to these characters and invested in their various struggles. So, I’ll finish the book and then start toting around ‘Everything’s Eventual’ and ‘Four Past Midnight’.

I’m excited though. It’s nice to delve into something new. Right now I’m just working on getting all the handwritten sections out of the two notebooks they’re in and into the computer. Then I’ll focus on rearranging the scenes, building the outline of the story. And then I’ll write the missing bits, or delete the really bad parts. Basically, I have all the bones of the story, but they either need amputation or extensive surgery to actually work together.

We’ll see. I’m optimistic about the story. I think it can be good. It’s going to take a lot of work though. And it’s a different kind of work than what I’ve been doing for the last three months. Instead of sitting and struggling to figure out what happens next, I get to put this story together, like a handwritten jigsaw puzzle. It’s refreshing, and my mind already appreciates it.

This is a project that doesn’t have to absorb my every waking moment. I can work on it, and then leave it at the desk. It doesn’t have to follow me to work, distract me from sleep, and demand unwavering attention. And that is a great feeling after a six month creative slog. My brain needs room to breathe.

Anyway, enough talking about it. I need to get this story into the computer so I can make it functional. Have a good day, Blogland. I’ll see you tomorrow.

BZ

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