Knowing what it’s about

I’ve been working on this silly Episode 8 of my fantasy novella series for about a decade. At least it seems that way. I’ve essentially “finished” it twice, but each time I’ve just not liked it. You know what I mean, right? It was all there, but it didn’t seem to buzz. So each time I’ve just gone back and worked on it more.

It’s been a little … uh … frustrating.

But then Saturday morning I finally realized the “problem,” and in doing so have probably proven once again that pretty much everything in writing is simple, once you see it. The issue in this case is a familiar one to me. It was that, while I understood what was happening plot-point-to-plot point, I didn’t actually know what the story was about to me. So, yeah, the story could be done, but I didn’t like how it felt because it didn’t mean anything to me. Or, at least I couldn’t place it into a solid framework in my own mind. *

* Perhaps this is a sub-case of a writer not being a good judge of their own work. Perhaps I could have gone on and used Skyfox to publish the series with the ending as it was, and whatever audience found it would have been perfectly happy. Perhaps they would have determined their own meaning, and that would have been fine. I don’t know. All I can say for sure is that I didn’t like it as it was, and that was a good enough reason for me to work on it again.

It hit me as I was pondering why the lead character was where he was, and other such motivations. In doing so I wrote down a phrase the likes of which will almost certainly be in the last page or two of the final draft. As soon as I did that, I got one of those tingles, a story shiver that some other writers talk of. Yes, that was right.

And so yesterday I spent most of my writing time scanning my work again, and this morning I started actually creating Episode 8 for what will almost certainly be the last time. I expect it will be better. I already feel a lot more comfortable writing it. The characters seem to be breathing properly, if that makes sense. The words are flowing without so much friction.

Will it keep on that way? Who knows for sure, but if I hit my mark right, I’m guessing that the base form of Episode 8 will be finished before the week is out, and that I’m going to actually like it this time. As a writer, I don’t know if you can ask for much more than that about a piece of work at this stage of the process.

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