Things Have a Way of Growing in My Mind

Editing is always a problem for me because, like most people who write, I’m more of a putter-inner than a taker-outer. I always find some way to twist something, make it clearer, find that a whole new scene needs to be put in, etc. That’s why I decided to challenge myself when I wrote for the Torqued Tales Anthology — I had a distinct, small word limit, and I stuck to it (even if my one story was responsible for one-third of the length of the small anthology).

My novel Winter’s Trial was an example of why I need to train myself to be more economical in my writing. I don’t think it was bloated (like I would, right?), but for the genre it was a behemoth. Give me a word limit and I’ll meet it. Some stuff gets chopped, but restraint is the better half of valor…or so I imagine the saying goes. (I was totally Mina/Minako/Sailor Venus there, wasn’t I?)

So, I planned to write a novella, a few short stories, maybe a short novel, and then my next wolf book. During this time I would work on the intimidating, huge, possibly (hopefully) mainstream fantasy novel. The next anthology/short story I planned to write was for the Torquere steampunk anthology. I’ve never done anything like that before and it sounded fun. I had an  idea which I had to scrap. I almost got rid of the whole thought and moved on to the next project.

Someone very close to me, who I often accuse of blind and baseless optimism, told me that he was confident that I would come up with something better and that he had total faith in me that I could do it. So far, I can say that, during the conceptual stages at least, he was right. He will read this and he will know. I will never speak of it again. Were I a sentimental person, I would thank him and tell him that I appreciate his confidence in me. But I’m not that kind of a sap. *middle finger, cackle* So, I humored him, and sat down to think about it. During this I got a picture of a city and a world. The picture came with a question — under what ghastly circumstances would a place like this come to exist?

Stephen King has this theory that writing is almost like archaeology, that stories are artifacts of worlds waiting to be discovered. Some call him a genius and disagree, citing work, concepts, and intuitive leaps. I think the truth lies between. This picture came with characters, with a back story, with horror, with love, and all that junk. It was fully formed, but I had to work to retrieve it, to connect themes, and will have to work my ass off to expose it, shine it up, and display it properly.

The short story became a city which became a world which turned it into something I think will require more care and time. I have all the character information down, I have parts about the city and world, I even have two documentaries I want to watch to help out. I think…hope…that I can squish it into a novella. It may get louder in my head and become something more, but I think I can stop it from auto eroticism and making itself pregnant and spawning a baby which will then have to be killed anyway.

Where was I going with that? No idea. But the story keeps getting bigger and bigger. I’m praying for a novella. Is that odd? Does this happen to anyone else? I told this to a writer acquaintance and she told me this:

“…Trusting your instincts while writing is a good thing. Write it the way it wants to be written. Edit later. If it doesn’t work you can decide after the first draft and fix it, but why not have fun and go with it it to begin with?”

Simple, but totally on the mark. Still, let’s hope that it doesn’t overeat and make itself morbidly obese. (As you can see, I’m still struggling with the idea). Anyone else deal with this? Thoughts?

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~ by Darren Endymion on July 14, 2014.

2 Responses to “Things Have a Way of Growing in My Mind”

  1. Interesting post. Sometimes ideas do become much bigger. Last year I did a writing exercise every week, just to come up with something short and different. What am I doing now? I’ve come back to one, and turning it into a novella… which then turns out to be a series of novellas!

    I believe, as long as the idea is good and fun, run away with it. See where it takes you.

    • Nice! Congrats on the idea(s). Sounds like a good exercise, too. When something grabs you, it just sort of kicks you in the brain and won’t stop until it gets the attention it wants, right? Haha.

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