Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Time Is An Invention #2 - In Which Patricia's Questions Are Not Really Answered

Originally posted by D on FB Notes Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 11:26pm.

Patricia, being the knowledge imparting genius that she is, asked me the following series of questions concerning the story. Since I'm still puzzling out things that I mentioned in the last note, I'll take some time to answer those questions and see where it takes me:

Pic unrelated.

I think that a blog about the writing process is, in itself, a novel idea. However, I'm rather unsure what your piece is going to be about--save "time travel." What prompts you to write at this time? i.e., why now and not a few years ago? Mindy's comment instigated it, but something else must have been going on. Maybe you're in a position where you... Read More have more time on your hands, you're feeling more creative than in the past. What will your writing schedule be like? You write that you think this will be an ongoing thing that may take years to accomplish, but do you have a writing schedule? Will you devote 3 hours/week at the coffee house to write? How will your story be distinguished from others? Will you have a moral impetus, a religious statement, a cultural irony, etc. that you're interrogating in your text? As a teacher of writing, I always encourage folks to examine their motives for writing. Why should YOU write THIS story?

Let's go question by question here:

What prompts you to write at this time?
I never really wanted to stop writing, the ideas just don't hit me very often. As I mentioned, I've been kicking this concept around for a while and have really wanted to do something creative with it, I just couldn't figure out what. I knew as soon as it hit me that there was something there that I wanted to write about, I just wasn't sure what it was. Now I've got a really good direction for it, and it's pulling me along with it.

I am feeling a little more creative lately, reason uncertain. I think part of it is this idea wanting to get out, the rest of it might just be the planets aligning correctly.

What will your writing schedule be like?
Honestly, I have no idea how to answer this. I do plan on devoting some set amount of time to working on it, but that will most likely take some trial and error to figure out...how much I can fit into my schedule, how much I can do without getting sick of it/losing my mind, etc. 3 hours a week seems like a good starting point though, so there I shall start.

As for how long it will take, I again have no idea whatsoever. This really feels like a novel to me, and I've got no basis for comparison, as I've never written a novel. My best short story was written in a couple of days and then edited/rewritten over the course of a couple of months. It was a pretty simple premise though, and this feels vastly more complex. In short, I'll have to get back to you on this later.

How will your story be distinguished from others?
This is an excellent question that I also can't really answer. I've never read/seen/heard about a story going in the direction that mine goes, but then the percentage of the literature on the planet that I've read is embarassingly small. I hope that it's a new idea, or at least a new extrapolation on an old idea (time travel)...past that, I can't really say. Again, there's a great deal of the story that I don't have in my head yet.

Will you have a moral impetus, a religious statement, a cultural irony, etc. that you're interrogating in your text?
These questions are starting to make me feel like kind of a dumbass...I'm not sure how many more times I can say "I can't/don't know how to answer that" and not suddenly find that I'm part of a congressional hearing or something.

I suppose that I'm envisioning a cultural irony or two (I do love those ironies), but they're not formed to the point where I can really speak for them accurately. I'm not seeing a lot in the way of religious statements, but I know there's at least one conversation where religion is brought up...it's discussed a little bit, but not necessarily at length or to any conclusion/resolution. That's subject to change, though. The moral impetus (if there is one) might be intertwined with the cultural irony, as the two are hardly mutually exclusive.

Why should YOU write THIS story?
As conceited as it sounds, because it happened to occur in my head...or as Mark so eloquently put it, because the Idea Bird shit it in my head (I told you I'd steal that, Mark). If I find out that someone else had this exact same idea and wrote a story about it, then kudos to them...they should have written it. Until then, it's mine, and I have every intention of nurturing it into a mind-twisting bit of weirdness (as all of the best time-travel tales are).

I've wanted to tell stories ever since I was a kid, and I like to think that I'm at least relatively good at telling them in real life (I possess actual tone and inflection now, for those of you who remember the reading at Barnes and Noble). What always irked me was that I just came across so few stories in my head that were really worth writing down. It's always just an interesting scenario, a passing irony, a fleeting bit of philosophical fluff that's interesting to ponder on for a moment or two, but not really worth digging into and attaching some cause and effect to...or maybe they are, and I just need to start chipping away at them more.

I do have quite the unfortunate tendency to sell myself short when it comes to my talents (most of the time, anyway...I'm getting better about that on some fronts), so maybe my writing is no different. I also have a tendency to be impatient about things I'm working on and getting them into shiny and finished forms. The vast majority of the editing time on the story mentioned above was actually spent making it safe to read at a school-sponsored function...I considered my version of it done after probably a day or two of editing.

What I know is that the stories that have started crawling out of my head like this one is are the ones that are really worth writing, at least for me...even beyond that, it seems like they REQUIRE writing. My zombie story feels like it requires telling, but it has stymied me by turning into a graphic novel in my head, and I can't draw for shit (sorry Mom...the art supplies got me nowhere).

I'll give some more thought to the questions left unanswered (i.e., all of them). I'm going to head home and go to bed for now, though.

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