I’m working on a bit of short fiction that, like most of what I write, has decided in spite of my best detailed planning (okay, mental notes developed during showers) to take a left turn when I intended for it to go straight ahead. So it goes.
Now I have to contemplate what that left turn really means for the story.
[Insert melodramatic sigh with forearm on forehead here.]
The left turn came about because I realized that I didn’t much care for an asshole who appeared in the story. Unfortunately, he was supposed to my sympathetic main character. Then I realized that someone else was in the story that WAS my sympathetic character, only he wasn’t the main character like I had originally thought the story was about (at least in the beginning). And it worked out fine until the pivot that I had originally planned on occurring came about (originally developed about the time I had migrated from washing my armpits to turning up the heat on the water to chase away the constant pain I feel in parts of my body for at least five minutes of respite).
If this makes your head hurt, you’re in good company. I do that to people.
Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m supposed to be working (no tasks other than reminding people they failed to meet their deadlines again and thereby keeping my work-plate clear of meaningful work), that my eldest broke up with a significant other and her mother needs to tell me about it right now, school preparations (documents, forms and a tincture of blood to use as a phylactery for when my feral, wayward children don’t do their distance-learning homework), a domestic dispute taking place two houses down and across the street days after someone else got shot a few blocks away, ad nauseam and et cetera.
And it’s not even lunchtime yet!
Nor is the story particularly untethered from something that might happen in real life. And y’all thought I was only interested in writing outre and eldritch tales or fantasy…
Naw, this is one of my “literature” voices, although the weird was going to make an appearance as a gentle reminder that reality is a malleable and elusive thing. Barnstorming this brain of mine as I write this post, I think that might be the problem — that I had something more than off-center happening in my initial
detailed mental, fuzzy outline had planned on. I need to scale back the funk and make it more jazzy (and, on that scale, more T. Monk than G. Miller). Yeah… that’d probably help with the direction. Tweak noses, not shove a shit sandwich into said noses. I think I was planning on the latter when I meant to do the former.
Aside: If you’re wondering why I am writing this and not that, it’s because I subscribe to the practice of writing in stream of consciousness style when you’re blocked until you wear down that damned dam and get back at it. Besides, I write for the sake of writing, not necessarily to get a story out.
I know: Weird.
Besides, I’ve always thought people spend too much time when they talk about process giving unsound advice or advice manufactured for their own finished products instead of the in-progress trials and tribulations of writing as an individual. I think it is important to know that you’re not alone in whatever problems you have as a writer (although I might be alone for all the lack of affirmation I receive to the contrary) and that, sometimes, it’s okay not to know where the story is going (whelp!). Or, if you do know, it’s okay to have it change your mind while you are writing it. I think some of the biggest blocks are when you adhere to an outline too rigidly and don’t let the tale evolve as your write it (to whatever degree you are comfortable letting it evolve). Writers shouldn’t be machines, although there are plenty out there making money of doing just that. If you’re okay with writing formulaic fashion, go for it. I’m just more interested in stretching out past the red lines than in keeping with conformity.
Most importantly: This is not a love song.