Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Pulling Back the Veil

For some writers, it never happens. For me, it's only happened one other time where I got an entire story; plot, characters, resolution, the whole enchilada, dumped into my lap, whole and complete; the only thing left of the process is to write it all down. The feeling is... it's like you've been invited to a secret show. Like someone's pulled back a dark veil and you can see what's going on behind it; things you're not supposed to see. You've tapped into something other than you, or at the least, a part of you that you were dimly aware of, but you've lost the map a long time ago.

I'll often get complete scenes or phrases, opening sentences, snips of dialogue and conversation or a strong visual image that sticks with me. I'll write them down, type them in, carry them around in the sewer trap of my mind until sometime later - sometimes years – I'll get another mini-flash - and see how the various pieces all fit together into a larger puzzle.

I've been working on a pile of things lately. A rewrite of a script. Finishing another, and I just finished a rewrite of a short story. And a novel that has been like carrying a crown of thorns around. Lately, the gears on the wheel of the novel have been turning, and I've felt things beginning to come together.

Last night an entirely new plot came fully formed, subplots, the entire thing, into my head. I wrote until 1:00 in the morning, went to bed.

And my muse poked her head up at the side of the bed and whispered.

"Uhmmm what the fuck are you doing? I don't recall saying you could get up from the chair."

I listened to her baner and counted ceiling tiles for fifteen minutes, then came back down and wrote til 2:00.

My muse is an onery bitch, but she demands attention.

Keep in mind, I'm 40k words into this thing now, and I've been liking the direction. Not loving it. Liking it. I wrote for four hours last night with this new direction, furiously getting down the threads into something coherent; something other than my typical i-can't-keep-up-with-the-fucking-idea writing shorthand.

Let me explain what this revelation would normally mean to me, so anyone who doesn't write may understand.

Stretch your arm out on the kitchen counter. Grab a meat cleaver. Place gently at the inner crook of your elbow. Apply liberal amount of pressure until arm is separated.

Note I said what this would "normally" mean to me. But not this time. What this means in literal terms is that out of my 40k words, I have to grab about 20k of them, pull them kicking and screaming from the page, drag them off the road to the muddy ditch and slit their throats, leaving their dangling participles and spilled gerunds all over the dew-covered weeds.

How did this begin?

Three days ago I was putting my son to bed. I was standing, holding him, and the low glow of his nightlight cast shadows of us against the walls of his bedroom. He pointed at the shadows.

"Whaddat daddee?"

"Just shadows, buddy. The world's full of them."

And that was the kernel right there. I don't know where the second half of that response came from. Well... I do. Shadows have swirled in my head for so long... but nevermind that. That exchange stuck with me the entire night. I walked downstairs asking myself where the hell that came from. Freud at work.

Those three sentences changed absolutely everything.

Those three sentences are going to make me bloody. Very bloody.

I don't think I've looked forward to such wholesale slaughter in my entire life.

Current Read:
Earthworm Gods, Brian Keene. Another ringer for Keene. I'm a sucker for well written first person and he's nailing this one so far.

My rewritten short, Pleasing Marlena. Pulled out the hacksaw and chopped it to pieces, then used sinew to put it back together. Looks a million times better now than it did before surgery and it's ready to get sent out today.

Music Rotation:
Mike Ness - Cheating at Solitaire
Social D - Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n Roll
Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique
Meat Beat Manifesto - Armed Audio Warfare

Funniest thing I've heard/read recently;
An email reply.

Keep the bodies cold.


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