Fairbanks Island – Day 2

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.

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Fairbanks Island – Day 1

I told myself I would post my writing progress every time I write in the hopes to destroy the perfectionist in me and break the taboo of the first draft. This is the unedited version of FairBanks Island (Title Work-in-Progress)

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About Stories and Doubt

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.

 

Good Ideas Will Never Leave You

Ever tried just writing something down without anything in mind? Often, a word or a sentence will appear… anything can be formed then; a story, an essay, a poem, a blog post, a diary entry, anything. These are the true thoughts, those that have festerd and merge with other ideas for lord knows how long, until they become true. They are the thoughts you’ve resisted to write down because the written thought is where they come to die, they’ll leave you.

However, thoughts that come to you because they were written, they are the thoughts that you would never have considered without a pen in your hand or a keyboard in your lap. They are thoughts that amaze you to such a degree that you can hardly believe they come from you. You wonder if maybe somebody else is guiding your hand, telling you what to write.

When I write fiction, I have countless thoughts that it would be impossible to return to all of them, because they are a mess, and sometimes incoherent and only makes sense to the person I was at the time. I always fretted over this, trying to organise them so that I could find them easily, but that ended up taking as much time as writing itself, and, I found that I rarely returned to them. Instead, I’d write them down again from memory and I believe that is for the best, because you only recall what sticks with you and those ideas are often the best parts.

What we need to realise is that a story is organic, and so is your mind. Accept your flaws and the unknown. Embrace that there are things beyond our explanation and let it shine through your writing.


© Christopher Stamfors

Our Mind’s a Stranger

They say you must write to learn, to ascertain information better. I wonder if that’s true. Surely, some information can simply be absorb into our consciousness, surely, we don’t need to know the details, only it’s there to be gathered when needed – which is never when others want you to need it…

We won’t remember it clearly, of course, that’s not because we have poor memories, but because the information has been twisted and transformed; merged with other ideas in an indistinct way that cannot be ascertained. But we know it’s there, we know it when we write it down, when it’s fully formed, when it has festered in our brain.

Trying to force a memory is never good, because those ideas aren’t fully formed, they aren’t ready to come out; and they will never come out how you remembered them once they submerge into the recesses of your mind. They are twisted as thoughts gather upon each other until they become part of who you are. Only such thoughts are worth coming out, when they have been untangle and rearrange the twisted mess into something comprehensible, present it in a meaningful way for others and yourself.

But can we truly trust that this will happen, or will the thought be lost in the void if not printed on paper? Let me ask you, will you ever return to a note? The thousands of ideas and thoughts collected over the years? Most likely no, why should you? You have new thoughts every day, what makes the past ones special? They aren’t, because they are shallow thoughts, the genesis of greater ideas that is now is gone because it is now on a piece of paper… Words are where thoughts come to die, or be recreated, you choose which is which.


© Christopher Stamfors

Ignition of Change – Poem

A story is nothing but the preparation of change.

How to reach this point sets the road ahead.

The writer must find this road and not steer from it.

We don’t know the characters in our minds but in our hearts.

At the end of the road they’ll be known in our minds too.

It is then when the writer shines.


© Christopher Stamfors

A Murderer – Poem

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

The Core of the Tale

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.

I can’t believe I did this again…

Yep, it’s the beginning that was flawed, I see that now. In my Last Post, I talked about my stories never ending neatly and I figured out that if the beginning isn’t good, the ending won’t be either.

So, how can I be certain that the beginning is flawed? Because I cheated again…

Again, check This Post if you want to know more, but, I have done this before, I skipped essential parts of the story because I wanted to finish quickly; meaning I neglected to explore all the characters. There’s one character, for instance, that’s part of the backstory and is a complete mystery to me. His only purpose is to instigate conflict, and because he was a minor character in the backstory I didn’t think he was essential, turns out, every character is essential… In my vision, he was inconsequential, but considering how hard I’m struggling with the ending, perhaps he has a bigger part to play than I first imagined?

He would turn out to be…

But, I couldn’t face reality… going back and changing parts of the backstory would means I would have to make major changes to the main story as well. In fact, I was so deep in denial that I convinced myself that all I had to do to fix things was to make the story longer… It will fix itself, right?

I even went so far as to make an epilogue or a prologue just to make sense; without having to put any effort into working it in organically into the tale. That’s cheating. The job of an author is to convey the necessary information within the format of the story, if I can’t do that, I should quit writing.

I think a good point of measure if something is missing in your story is when the purpose of the main character is simply to reveal the backstory and be the eyes of the reader. My main character had no stakes in what’s happening, he doesn’t change as the story progress. The plot doesn’t affect him and he doesn’t affect the plot. A pointless story.

I have to seriously review how I come up with my tales…

It shouldn’t be this frustrating

I while back, I promised myself to never work on a short story for more than a month and now I’ve broken this promise and I feel awful. Why did it take longer than the other times? I don’t know, but I feel that I need to figure this out. Writing a story shouldn’t be this hard and I refuse to accept that the story itself was flawed from the beginning. Everything can be made into a story, it’s just the author that messes up along the way. All I have to do is swallow my pride and do it over again… Right?

The way I figure out something is wrong is when I’m about to reach the ending of the tale and I start to struggle. Something doesn’t make sense and thing don’t wrap up as neatly as they should and I don’t know why. I can imagine part of the problem is that I rely heavily on intuition, that one decision leads to another and will eventually guide me towards the true ending.

Which leads me to believe it’s not the ending that’s the problem, but the beginning. If the ending sucks it is the beginning that is flawed. Makes sense, if the foundation is flimsy the entire building will be flimsy. The question is, can I identify what makes the foundation flimsy before I reach the ending? So that I don’t have to deal with the frustration and rewrites? I don’t know, I honestly don’t. At least I have located the problem, hopefully…

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