Knowing the Events is Only Half of It

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Wow, it has been a while since I posted anything. Time goes by fast.

I’ve spent all my free time editing my story. I explained the entire thing, in pretty great detail, to Raine the other night. I’m re-motivated. I know I say that a lot, but this time it feels real. I’ve had a realization.

In an earlier post, I expressed concern that nothing about the story felt new or exciting to me anymore. That it had lost its magic. But now I know that isn’t the case. I was just at a low point. I like the plans for my story. The plans are good. Executing them well is going to be a challenge, one that has overwhelmed me more than once. That’s where the gloom and the low points come from. Fear that I won’t be able to take these ideas and put them down the way I want. That after all of my planning, they won’t be effective.

But that’s the exciting part about it, too. Taking what I have in my head and know so well and making it new and exciting by the way it plays out. Just because I have the shell planned doesn’t mean I know all the details. It doesn’t mean that when I finally write it, it won’t be something I never expected.

It’s like watching a movie that you love but have seen 15 times. Is the magic gone? No, otherwise you’d stop watching it. Just because you know what’s going to happen does not mean you remember what watching makes you feel.

When I think about my story, I think about events. When I read it, I think about something entirely different. How it flows, what kind of atmosphere is created, what moments or characters make me smile even after the fifth or tenth read-through. That’s what important. Knowing the events is only half of it.

I’ve finally figured out my issues with part 3. Mostly, it’s that one of the newer main characters just turned out wrong. Not at all how I wanted him. Some events develop too fast, without enough background to properly set the mood. Now that I’ve identified those problems, it will be much easier to read through and fix them. I’m also having fun merging parts 2 and 3. I like going back and forth, and figuring out a good order for the chapters is an art in itself.

I’m working on creepifying part 2, because it needs to be creepy. When Raine read it, she told me that it was creepy right up until a certain point somewhere shy of the middle, but that the rest of it wasn’t creepy at all. Not what I wanted. So now I can fix that, too!

Once all of that is fixed, and the first 3 parts are an acceptable first draft, I know I will be able to continue with the final part. It’s been too hard to write new content while knowing that what was already there wasn’t right. I feel like I’m zeroing in on what I want. Like when I get to the new stuff, I’ll be able to keep focus better because I’ll know exactly what needs to happen. I’ll be able to write clearer and less rambling sentences from the start, so I won’t have to go back and edit them all out later. I’ll be truer to my characters because they will all be the way I imagined them. Their interactions will be better because now that I’ve read through everything and have had time to think, I understand how they all need to fit together.

This stuff is harder than writing in the first place. Fixing. Cleaning up. Making the details pop, rather than bog down the narrative. I know now that all of this is necessary. Before I viewed it as procrastination, putting off writing new content because it was hard. But that isn’t the case. Like I said, I need to get all of this worked out before I move on. Otherwise, the new material won’t come from the right place.

I want to post more often, but it’s hard when I’m motivated on the story. Generally I come here when I want to write, but can’t work on the story. I need to separate the two things and do this more often. Getting my thoughts down like this helps more than having them rattling around in my head with no order.

So, a final thought… Why is it that some things stick with us and always seem new, no matter how familiar they are? Why do we listen to the same music, watch the same movies, read the same books, go to the same places, eat the same food, even when we know exactly what they are, how they go, how they’ll sound, taste, and look? I’ve always known that some things are just like that, for me and for everyone. I’ve never been able to figure out why.

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