Monday, January 30, 2012
One of the notes that I had a hard time wrapping my head around was 'why does this story start now?'. Originally, I'd started my tale one year after a major shakeup in my world, I wanted to show this dichotomy between the old and the new - these two worlds colliding.
But the note made me see my story from a different perspective - mostly that I'd just managed to leap over a year's worth of some quite compelling Drama. A whole host of stories that, due to where I was starting my tale, were relegated to back story. (ahh, back story - teacher, mother, secret lover...)
So I jumped back a year in my world, starting it the day of this massive change. I'm still able to show my world pre-chaos, before things get crazy, but it's also some great fodder for stories because this world (and the characters living in it) are forced into this quick, violent change.
Yes, unfortunately, this also meant that a great deal of my characters histories had to be rewritten, but I was shocked at how positive this one change ended up being; instantly the ideas started to flow, story concepts, character arcs - things that I couldn't do before, groundwork I had only originally 'said' happened could now be shown.
Needless to say, I'm pretty stoked with how it turned out. I sent it off to Chris on Sunday night and he's giving it a read tonight... with a bit of luck he's going to read this and go 'wow!'.
One of the hardest things for me to learn over the years is figuring out 'where the hell am I supposed to start this story?'. For a long time I used to agonize over details like this but, eventually, I learned that there really isn't a shortcut here.
The ultimate lesson here was: I'm a writer, so... write. Write it out, see how it feels. Does it let me tell the story I want to tell? Does it give me ideas for where to go next? Does what I wrote match what I wanted to say? Do these changes make the story better -- or break the whole concept?
Not that I have to write the whole finished product, just the 'beginning'. Set it up, see how it flows. Change a detail or two, write another few pages.
The best part about this exercise is that out of all this stuff that I wrote, that I might think is crap, or that might just end up being binned, there's often little bits that I can hang on to -- stuff that won't necessarily fit into what I'm writing now... but could be useful later.
Basically, the moral of that story is that it's never a complete waste of time to do the long division. To write it all out, to let the mind wander and play.
In this case, all it took was that one note to get me to go 'oh, yeah... why DID I start it there?' which made me say 'well, let's see how it would look like this... or this...'. All-in-all, I wrote about four different 'new' beginnings for my concept, just to see which was the best one. I probably could've done more, but by the time I hit #3 I was already feeling that 'eureka' moment.
And from there, well, it all fell back together rather quickly... and, like I said, for the better.
Let's just hope that Chris feels the same way.
Anyways, that's all for now,