Creating stories, piecing together the parts of a narrative until they collectively flow together, is similar to assembling a jigsaw-puzzle. Scanning over miles of tiny fragments, with nothing but a vague plan about what the end result should be is overwhelming, and carefully arranging devices and plot-events is time-consuming and often frustrating, but gradually, with time and effort, a final product starts to take place. For the last few weeks I’ve been pulling together the pieces of the novel, stitching holes which appeared during my initial attempt to write it.
Usually, the process of devising a sequence of events both interesting and believable, not only fills me with worry and doubt, but runs at snail type speeds. Dedicating my days to the profession of writing has definitely helped; its added structure and routine to the craft – instead of waiting for time to fill, I’m utilizing several pre-chosen days a week to getting writing done determined by my work schedule. I walk the short distance to the library and I spend hours at a time sewing together the seams of a fantasy plot. Hopefully, come the dawn of February I will have a framework ready to be turned into a first-draft, and this time, with all possible obstacles already sorted and overcome, I will be able to focus simply on committing the story to page. Somehow, I still believe this will be the hardest part.
My trouble steams from my desire to create the perfect story, which of course, I know, is an unattainable dream. The desire for perfection is often the main source of fear and hindrance to any given project, because nothing can be perfect. Perfection is subjective; what’s perfect for one will never be so for another. I hate twilight, but I know plenty of people who enjoy it. Creating perfection cannot be done, but the pursuit to do so means that many good projects never see the light of day. Including hundreds of stories I just couldn’t get to the notch I wanted them hoisted. Hopefully, this is a sign I’m giving up my perfectionist ways, so I can write without fear that at least the story isn’t perfect enough.
The challenge then will be to push past the notion that the writing style isn’t perfect. I’ve rambled about how first-drafts don’t have to be anywhere near the standard that final-drafts do. The very understanding that something is a draft suggests it’s not yet been whittled into its final shape, and writers tend to only notice the splinters in their wood when they’ve actually taken to the task of carving it. Wood carving metaphors aside, my point is that until you’ve completed the puzzle and seen the overall plot, you can’t distinguish which pieces don’t fit, which characters are too polar, and which aspects are inconsistent.
This post has gained an aspect of a stream of consciousness. My apologies. My ability to comment on my life has been restricted by the aforementioned writing time, and this week has lacked at TOMM. I’m not sure if my hypothetical audience has become real enough for anyone to notice and or care, but I think it’s important that I still make time to write these, because I enjoy doing so. Finding the balance between all my differing writing projects is becoming increasingly difficult. I made an active decision to make the planning process my priority over the last couple of weeks, but I’ve still been working on short-stories, and a collaborative blog with two friends. Unfortunately, that means the frequency of my writings here in this space have started to suffer. I’m worried the quality of my writing in this way may be diminishing also. Rounding back to my point about perfection, the more something is done, the better the doer becomes at it. So, my ability to plan and direct plot-line has excelled because of my dedication, but here I am less coherent with ideas and less able to place them into adequate sentences.
Hopefully, when the intense planning becomes intense writing, I will have a little more time to dedicate to this site.
I’m not sure what this post was about; an apology for my absence to my hypothetical audience, a speech about how not to seek perfection, but to create none-the-less, a rambling. I’ll let you know if I figure it out.