Friday, May 22, 2015


It's funny how the mind works.  After struggling with this short story that became a novelette, then a novella, and seems now doomed to wind up as a short novel for nearly a year, I can finally see the end.  Not the ending but the end of the struggle to escape the entangling plot threads that I'd wound into what appeared to be a Gordian knot.

Oh, I tried to engineer my way out of the problem(s) by plotting scene upon scene, layering details, and expanding explanatory material, throwing in flashbacks that later became explicit scenes, but appeared earlier in the story, and then just writing to be writing while hoping that I could weasel-word my way to a decent conclusion.

None of it worked and the more I attempted to extricate myself from the tangle, the tighter the  knot became. What to do, what to do, what the fuck to DO?

So I introduced a new character. Yeah, the dumbest thing I could do.  That introduction threw in several skeins of interactions, dialogue, and settings, that screwed up the plot even more.  Just what I needed was gathering more rope to tie around my hopelessly tangled plot. "Throw it away,"  I screamed and tried to convince myself to just give up and write something --anything-- else. This is my normal reaction to frustration and has resulted in a basketful of "something else's." Instead, I took a few days off to clear my mind, step back, and then look at the mess from a reader's perspective.

That's when something clicked.  Suddenly I saw how to untangle the knot that was holding me back, the critical knotted cord that tied everything else together.  If I tugged here, unwrapped that there, and combined those vagrant pieces of frayed rope, and then wrote another thousand word string on the nature of belief I could create something I could work with.  At this first draft stage a story doesn't have to be good, or even readable.

It just has to be done.


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