I really don’t know what this story is. All I know is that my head hurts and I can’t read this thing one more time. And I’m not crazy about the title but I’m out of time so…tada! There’s the title. It’ll post at one tomorrow.
10,000 words. Yeah. You heard me. 10,000 words and I don’t have an ending yet. That’s not to say this is a long rambling boring thing with no point. I’m just saying I’m at the end but I can’t figure out which scene to finish with. It’s like I’ve written an entire song and I’m down to the last three notes, just the little twirl at the end, but I know that if I put them one way then the song works, and if I put them another way than it’s okay but it’s not quite the same. And I can’t figure out which note should be last.
Also I have no title. I’ve got about eight billion possible titles, but nothing really is jumping out at me. It could be that there isn’t any real great title but I’ll continue to think on this tomorrow and maybe something will come to me. With my luck it’ll pop into my head as I’m walking down the sidewalk and I’ll laugh out-loud and start talking to myself and everyone will look at me funny. Believe me, that happens. If you write you know what I’m talking about.
When I started this project I somehow managed to block out of my head the fact that I can’t keep my damned mouth shut when my fingers are touching a keyboard. This story is 8,000 words already and still growing. Hopefully I’ll be able to trim some of this, but I feel like it’s the bare bones as it is. I should be done with three stories by this point, but no, I’m still rattling on with this one. And it’s horrifying because I managed to pull a rather interesting idea out of nowhere last Thursday, but with the limited time I have left I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it justice. Believe me, that’s a painful thought. You should never fall in love with your ideas, just have them and execute them and move on. Especially when your idea requires you to practically invent a new world in three days.
Plus, I don’t have a title yet.
This is not going well and I am so very tired.
What’s baffling me with this story is the preposterous amount of information I have to hash out and lock down just to write a couple of lines of dialogue. Really it’s….well it’s completely crazy. But some stories are like that. Thus far I’ve researched lightning bugs, probability curves, Greek philosophy, The Port Authority Bus Terminal, the concept of currency, fashion and various labels of scotch…to name just a few.
I should mention that I’m currently thinking of calling it “Second Choice” but I’m not sure I like that. I think I can do better, plus those words appear a fair amount, I don’t like having the title repeated so many times within the story. Hopefully I can think of something better.
Also I’ve been listening to The Pogues almost nonstop. I don’t know. You sort it all out.
I quit smoking exactly one year, two months and five days ago. Not that I’m counting. I mention this because it’s becoming apparent to me with the formation of each new story that smoking wants to keep popping up in some form or another. Frankly it was rather important in one of these stories. At any rate, I’m just going to say that I know it’s happening, and I’m more than happy to let it happen. I quit smoking for none of the reasons that you might think, I despise the Truth ad campaign and I hate every movement that seeks to remove smoking from the arts. I’m tempted to make sure that every story I write contains smoking of some sort, but then I’m overreacting in the opposite direction and, well, that just seems silly. So you might start to notice that smoking pops up a lot in these stories and I’m just saying…I quit smoking exactly one year, two months and five days ago, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to quit smoking in my imagination.
I’m not sure what was going on tonight. Some nights it feels like everyone in the city of New York is looking at me when I walk past them on the street. Yeah, I know. That’s about a half-step away from me telling you that the mailboxes are laughing at me, but I swear sometimes it’s true. Granted, people watching is a huge past time here, and it’s pretty natural to just sort of look around at everything. Maybe it’s just that the times I’m looking out I happen to catch everyone else who’s in the same mood. I don’t know. All I know is I was hunting for some characters and it felt like everywhere I looked, someone was staring right back at me. That, plus reading Harry Potter, plus waiting about forty-five minutes for a Big Mac (I swear that the people who work at my McDonald’s speak some other language so that when I say, “I’d like a Number 1 Meal, please,” what they hear is, “I’d love to stand here forever watching you people lose my food”), plus it just being that kind of night…I guess what I’m saying is I’ve got my story for next week and when it came to me my mind was in a slightly different place. To say the least.
I don’t know. Sometimes you just have to put Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious” on and crank it to eleven. Then you write.
Naturally with only ten days left, nothing written yet, and nothing but a complete unknown in front of me for the current story, it made perfect sense to ignore this project for three days and spend all of my spare time reading the final Harry Potter book. So, sorry I haven’t been posting and sorry if the next story seems wildly rushed but Harry Potter ate my life.
And, not only did he steal some of my free time, but now I’m in a bit of a fantastical mood. I never hear other writers talk about this, so maybe it’s just me, but I tend to absorb some of whatever I’m reading. If I like whatever I’m reading then it seems like a neat trick and I sort of tinker with the idea of maybe trying something like that, and if I hate whatever I’m reading than I get the urge to try and do it better. This is just another warning that I have a hard time staying in one genre. What doesn’t change, though, is my voice. I used to think it did but I’ve come to the conclusion that when I think my voice is different because of some strong influence that I’m reading, it’s actually more like when I’m singing along to AC/DC and I think I sound just like Brian Johnson (or Bon Scott) but if you were to turn off the radio it would still only be me doing a horrible falsetto. You follow?
Point being, with 24 more stories to go I’m basically bound to try anything, but if you stick with me you’ll start to get a feel for how I write, and that never changes no matter what the genre. It should make things pretty interesting when I cave in and write a story about space monkeys attacking.
So I’ve really got nothing. Almost. I’ve basically got a couple of flashes of a character, as I mentioned, but really that’s it. I sort of made it sound like I had lots of pieces of this character worked out but I don’t. At all. I have one vision of him at a wedding, and I think he’s wearing glasses. And I think he’s sort of short. Kind of turtle looking. And really that’s it. I’m going to make a story out of that. And I’m thinking about this and it occurs to me, as I’m sure it occurred to you, that writing is a lot like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Right? I’m sure that’s where you thought I was going with this. Come on, you were like maybe one step behind me there.
The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, based on my rather half-baked knowledge of quantum physics, states that it is impossible to ever know, with perfect accuracy, both the position and the direction of a subatomic particle. Basically if you’re going to be real real precise with your measurements, you need to shine some form of energy (like a wave of light) at the subatomic particle, and if you get the sucker’s location down pat then you’ve applied so much energy you’ve knocked it into an unknowable course, and if you take ‘er easy and just get a real good idea of it’s momentum, then you’ll never know exactly where it is. And that’s writing.
Sometimes you’ve got everything worked out and every plot point drawn out in an outline and every character perfectly sketched in your notes and then when you go to write it it’s perfectly boring. You’ve no longer got momentum. And sometimes you’ve got nothing but momentum and energy but no idea where you and and you go to write it and you’ve got to dance all night with your story and face the fact that it’s more in control than you are and deal with the perfectly wild fear of putting all of your faith into the unknown. Usually with that second option I wind up cutting large parts of what I’ve written and just tossing them by the second draft. But those are your two basic options. Naturally, there are also all kinds of happy mediums, but really they’re all just compromises between how much energy you want and how much structure you want. Get some studio to work out exactly what story they want to tell, and you get a formulaic movie with no pop. Get some indie writer to just take the ball and run with it, and you get some crazy unsellable story that might be a masterpiece or might be masturbation. You never know. Somewhere in between, even just the slightest bit of breathing room for the unknown to creep in, or the most basic of ideas of where you’re going, and then I usually think things wind up much better. But…well…those are your two ends of the spectrum. And I’m currently way the hell over towards energy with not the slightest clue where I’m at.
Wish me luck.
I’m basically out of ideas. I have one very very thin notion tha t might become a story, but that’s it. It’s really only a character study, but I guess I have to run with it. Hopefully I’ll get some more ideas here soon. Somehow. Otherwise this is going to get a little pathetic. I’m going to go sit on a park bench and people watch. That usually helps. Can’t beat Manhattan for that. Except maybe parts of Europe. This is riveting.