Saturday, January 29, 2011

Not Quite Stage Ten

So here it is at last, the final pages of this tale done and, to be perfectly honest, I haven't a clue on what to do next.  Sure, I have the final scenes written, the pretty words all laid out in reasonable prose, the situations all tied up in a nice bow, the actors at the end of the journey that started out in the first sentence of paragraph one in the first scene.  I've done what I set out to do and, although it took me considerably longer than I planned, nevertheless followed the ten stages like clockwork. Not bad for a month's work. I think this is what the editor ordered, or at least would find acceptable.

But for me, it ain't a story, not yet.

There, I've said it plain as can be.  What I've written just doesn't work for me.  I've gone over the scenes one by one and confirmed that each tells its part of the tale, each has the characters acting in accordance with their roles, and each setting is consistent with the environment described in all of the other scenes.  Further, the scenes are in the proper order, revealing what the reader needs to understand as we move forward to the climax.  I even plotted the high dramatic points to energize the narrative where it might otherwise have dragged.  I wrote the high and low emotional points next to humor or pathos to heighten the tension.  I ran out detailed descriptions to provide verisimilitude and make the reader believe the tale is real.

So why isn't this thirty-odd thousand pile of words working for me? 

To my mind, a story should be more than an assemblage of words in reasonable order, more that a description of events, actual or fanciful, and certainly more than something simply readable or enjoyable.  A story associated with my name should be worth the telling and, more importantly, tell people something about themselves that they might not have otherwise realized.  A facet of our inner selves should be illuminated by any story, legend, joke, or speech worth the telling, even if it's a tiny hidden facet that helps us more fully understand what we are or what we could be.

That's what a real story should do.
My next steps are clear.  I need to chip away at this block of text to reveal the story that I know lies inside.  I am not going to abandon this.  Not yet. 

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