I have to admit something, this is not the first draft I’m working on, but it might as well be because I’m approaching it with a fresh mind. The first stages of writing is always messy, in my case. I jump from ideas to ideas and often lose my way before I struggle to find my way back. I have tried different ways to remedy this, but it seems that’s just how I write. It’s suppose to be chaotic until you find your way and I think the story is starting to settle in my mind. In any case, here’s part of chapter 2, unedited: You can keep track of my progress HERE.
Damn, I cannot help to edit… Whenever I start a new day of writing, I re-read the last chapter so that I get back into the flow, but when I do, I often find new things I want to add so that is what I have done. You are not supposed to, but I find it fun… Here’s the edited version (and significantly longer) chapter 1. You can keep track of my progress HERE.
I’m gonna be frank, I’m rather angry at myself… You know as a writer (or an artist) you get excited over a project? You work it in your head, for a little bit, then you write it down in a first draft, all easy, all fun! But somewhere along the way, the story just doesn’t excite you anymore… I don’t know why this happens, why, at a certain point, it gets so hard to finish what I started?
I had a story, written about 4-5 years ago which I finished in 6 months. I had no experience at all about writing and didn’t know what I was doing, but I finished it, and I had fun. Then I showed it to other people and I realized that I couldn’t write for shit. I absorb their critique, I really did, and it helped, to a degree. I wanted to prove that I’ve become better and I wrote a short story. I really liked it, and people liked it too, at certain parts.
They didn’t like the ending, specifically, and even though I thought it ended where it should, I tried to find more of the story when there was nothing there. (I guess it was the best kind of critique, they wanted to know more, after all) but I think it was then doubt started to seep into my mind. I tried so hard to make the story the way that they wanted, but in the end, I could not finish it.
It broke me, I think, because I haven’t been able to finish anything since; nothing longer than a thousand words, anyhow. I honestly began to think that if I worked on a story too much, I’d ruin it, much like I did with my short story. Which is silly, everything you do makes the story better, you are building it, one word at a time. But I cannot shake this doubt. In my head, the story I’m now working on is ruined and is beyond salvageable.
I really want to believe that what I write is better than I think it is, which is why I’m gonna try something.
I don’t care how awful the story turns out, I need to finish something! No matter how awful I think it is. I need to believe that every word is an improvement, or at least one step closer to finding the story, or the fossil, as Stephen King would say – I really recommend his book On Writing.
So here’s the deal: I’ll be posting everything that I write, unedited, on the same day I write it. No matter how little, or how much I end up doing, it’s gonna get posted. I’m effectively gonna spam my own blog with garbage! I hope you’ll bare with me, but I understand if you choose to leave.
The world is not kind to murderers,
is what they want you to think.
In truth, it’s an asset!
They know what you are.
They know you are of use.
© Christopher Stamfors
Perhaps that’s just how some stories are? Some are more demanding than others. They demand rewrites and the plot doesn’t come out as smoothly as you want. Perhaps the process is the mistakes? Finding the story can be difficult but that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from your mistakes. Letting go of our wishes and desire, our egos and all the other things that make us hurry is the hard part. You must trust your instincts and let the story guide you to where it wants to take you, without ever getting attached to what you’ve already written.
But a story can’t just be anything, the idea sprung from something, the core, if you will. There must be a core where everything else grows from? You can’t change the core because that would mean it’s an entirely different story and there’s nothing to guide you along the way. If you don’t have this ‘core’ in mind, your tale can be anything, and that’s when it starts to get messy and unfocused. Basically, it means you’re writing all stories, and no story, at the same time…
I’m not sure myself if this is the case. I’ve only just come to this realisation and I’m certain that I will find the truth, sooner or later. But take my story, for instance: the core idea is that a boy finds a magical pen, nothing more, nothing less. The story revolves around this. Now, what the boy does with that pen, where the pen comes from and who the boy is, is up to the author to find out. Everything is fair game. But my hopes are that if I keep the core in mind and put my trust in the tale and don’t ignore anything, writing will be so much easier.
I’ll keep you posted how it turns out.