Postmortem: Kissing Kismet.

Curse or boon? I don’t know.

The problem with writing directly into WordPress and posting creative writing pieces as early versions (most of what you read here is hardly ever what I’d call final versions) is that you see the flaws after they are posted. I resist the urge to do more than correct technical issues (spelling, obvious grammar problems, formatting, etc.) after I hit that “post” button. It’s an anal-retentive thing for me, probably colored by my frustration with folks like George Lucas constantly mucking about with the original Star Wars trilogy to reflect his changes in vision over the years. Imagine if old William Shakespeare made appearance for whatever reason and decided he wasn’t quite happy with Hamlet’s “To Be or Not To Be” monologue and changed it up to suit whatever reflections he had in the grave. I suppose he’s not the best, as the playwright probably did more than his fair share of edits between performances, but you get the gist of what I’m saying.

“Kismet” is a bit like that. I wrote it last night and posted it with only minor editorial changes prior to tossing it out into the ethersphere. It’s what I do. But it’s flaws are evident upon waking. Will I change it? Probably not until I get around to publishing a collection of short stories and poems, which is about as likely to happen as me winning the lottery. In fact, I’m probably more likely to win the lottery.

When that book contract comes up (har har har), I will probably fix the mixed narrative/POV and make it less third-first-persony. I’d probably add some more descriptive elements and try to capitalize on some of the anxiety Steve is feeling on losing track of the hot chiquita he is pursuing, maybe blurring the physical attraction he has for her. This short piece is based on an idea I had a while ago with a much bigger narrative behind it and I happen to know that they are unrequited lovers due to circumstances behind their control, namely that they experience time in reverse as a “generational” thing — one is “reborn” in reverse time, while the other one is “reborn” in the standard perception of time. While they are both able to interact, they move in time together. You know, it’s like that feeling some people get where they know right away that they were meant to be together….

Anyway, posting such things in “draft” form daylights my writing process, including the flaws, of which there are many.

Well, you might ask. How is it a boon?

Well, I think of it this way. I don’t know of any serious writers who claim to one-off their stories in a single session to achieve a masterpiece. Some require fewer drafts than others (though, even some authors I like could probably stand to do a few more drafts/edits), but by and large, nothing published is ever first-shot stuff.

Because I have no shame when it comes to writing, I don’t mind showing early drafts off. In fact, I used to do NaNoWriMo directly to blog as serialized daily fiction (~2.5k words a day for a month, 50k words by the end). I think showing WiP (work in progress) is helpful to aspiring writers, as it shows how good writing usually evolves from a flawed nugget, that they are not the only ones who sometimes struggle or can only seem to generate word manure. If I can normalize that part of the process, I believe better writers than me can learn from my mistakes and go on to write their masterpieces, knowing that it is just part of the process to write horrible stuff on occasion (or regularly, as is my case).

Oh, leave me to my fantasy that I’m somehow impacting young or new writers. Jeeze.

5 responses to “Postmortem: Kissing Kismet.”

    • I’m pretty fearless after all these years of posting and, before the internet explosion, sharing writing in writing groups/performances/etc.

      When you spend 2 hours a day for two years sharing what you had zero time to refine (high school, Writing as Performance), it becomes an easy thing to just shoot off draft works and filter out constructive criticism from insults. Back then, we not only had to share at least some of what we wrote during the afternoons, but we had to try and construct performances elements around it (this was before “poetry slams” were a thing).

      Although one of my old classmates recently was mortified that I shared a bit of writing as art that he gave as a gift back in those days, I think more than a few of us left that course with a fuck-all attitude about our writing and sharing it, whatever the stage of finished it might be in.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve never done any of that. I can see how it would that would help with confidence if it didn’t shattered it completely 😂
        That’s a lot of hours writing! You learn to edit as you go instead of pouring everything out? Must hamper the process to an extent, knowing you won’t be presenting something refined.
        I’ve considered a week of posting whatever comes into my head, in the moment, as is.
        Maybe one day I’ll do it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • There was some “edit-as-you-go”, but it was largely unrefined and raw writing in the high school class. Knowing that you had to listen to what criticisms other had of you eventually tempered anyone’s any desire to troll or be mean. Within the first month, any comments or criticism were almost entirely constructive and made us better.

          More than one of the graduates ended up doing improv stand-up comedy and one that was in my group of students is quite the local celebrity as a result. Funny thing, he was one of the quieter guys back in the day, but his writing was always very much off-center, ESPECIALLY when we did a few collaborative pieces.

          It may have hampered the process somewhat, but sharing was largely optional (although the teacher did call on you, if you dodged sharing too much). I recall several kids seemed intimidated by the prospect of reading out loud due to the presence of a number of irreverent “pagans” like myself. They seemed to think that we’d criticize their more religious writings because some of us were flippant about religion ourselves, though they warmed up to it more as they discovered we wouldn’t criticize the content, but focus more on what word combinations appealed or didn’t quite work. In many ways, the class was fiercely supportive of each other, regardless of the subject of our writings. It was like a big, only slightly dysfunctional, family of about fifteen.

          I say do it. If nothing else, you’ll find out that it isn’t for you under any circumstance. But you may discover a love for improvisation.

          Liked by 1 person

          • A free space to explorer and grow creatively, we’re all are welcome to share. Sounds like a great lesson to teach to teenagers.

            Off-centre goes well with stand up. Thinking on your toes like that must be a rush. You say local celebrity so I probably wouldn’t know him?

            Thats amazing. To overlook something as big as religion and focus on the writing is impressive. Mankind hasn’t been able to do that peacefully yet 😂

            Most my improv is in person, much to the distaste of my wife, family and friends.
            But I think ill post something eventually with limited editing 👍

            Liked by 1 person

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