Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Scrrew the negative by embracing it...

I bitch, grouch, and complain a lot...and I'm sure it gets tiresome. Sometimes I use my blog to work things out in my head; sometimes it's just verbal vomit. But I have found that when I do my snap, snarl, growl, self-flagellation thing on here, I wind up clearing away some kind of debris in my brain and the ideas come, again. The words make themselves known. The characters stop being as pissy and start guiding and illuminating, once more.

I think half the reason I so disliked my biographical script of that cop's life is, I've since written a book and dug deeper into his character. In fact, in one draft I went a bit farther than he was willing to go in order to show he was a bit unstable, mentally. I forgot that he thinks the conspiracy against him was real and some of the hallucinations that wound up driving him from the force were probably brought on by chemical means instead of the stress and a weak psyche. I still had some of that in...mainly in plotting out the ending...but I get the feeling there was a lot more to what happened with him than he let on.

Still...while the script has that, it's not as tight as it should have been. Had I done a step-outline before I finalized it, I'd like to think I'd have seen how loose and meandering it was turning out to be. Lots of moments and no real sense of urgency or life.

The guy I did it for liked it and I fulfilled my obligation to him...but I blew it with me. I never let the characters become comfortable with me, and it tells. In OT, Jake and I knew each other from the first second. He could be an asshole, but so could I. He could get pissed at me just like I'd get pissed at him...but it's like we were brothers in spirit, and I think it tells in my writing. I agonized over it till it was right.

I didn't do that with this one. I just wrote it and made it polished...and never found the spark in it to make it real. That was my failing and no one else's...and I will not let it happen, again. If I cannot commit to letting a story become part of my life, I won't do it. I'd churn out something lifeless and without meaning. As Hemingway said, "Writing is easy; you just sit at the typewriter and bleed."

My writer's moral to the story -- Stories ain't got lives if you don't agonize over them...

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