Dec 16 2019

December commenting on November’s plan


Remember my plan to use November to retreat from the world in general, and take a break from Books 5 and 6?  Because I had been banging my head against the various snags, problems and writerly issues in those stories for such a very long time, and I needed to think about something else for a change?  Like, say, a short(-ish) story?

Yes, well.  I did do that.  Took November (more or less).

But no, did not finish that story. I discovered, to my surprise, that the story in question was rather more complex than I had assumed.

Going in, I knew that the story had A Problem — but in fact, the problem that I thought it had was not the actual problem.  As it turned out, the original problem was an illusion, based on my unfamiliarity with the type of story that is was.

Hurrah, no problem, said I!  I merely have to become more familiar with that type of story, and I’ll know what to do.  Right?

You’d think so.  But, no. Because my new view of the nature of the story revealed that it actually still had problems — just not the one originally I thought it had.  It had, instead, hitherto unrecognized problems!  Brand new and rather interesting ones!  Esoteric problems!  None of which I knew how to solve yet, being still unfamiliar with that type of story…

But further along in the reading/learning/analyzing process,  I also realized that the narrative thread I was following was not even the actual story at all.  There was another story inside it.  And that was the story. The whole thing was, in  fact, something akin to what’s known as a “frame story.”

Well… okay. The outer story, the frame, was of the type that I don’t know well… but the inner story was of a very familiar form.

So, hey! I should be able to do this! And those problems with the outer story?  I don’t have to worry about them after all. Right?

But meanwhile, all that analysis and cogitation had sunk in… and primed my subconscious.  And it decided to step up, as it sometimes will.

We had a little conversation.

Subconscious: Yo, those problems you were worried about?  Here’s the solution.
Me: But, I don’t need them solved anymore! Because it’s a frame, it’s just the “frame”  part of a frame story —
S: Solution.  Here. This.
Me: But, but —
S:  One solution. For all the problems.
Me: But…
S: Just look at it.
Me: So…  this secondary character —
S: Yup. Him.
Me: And everything I thought I knew —
S: All wrong.
Me: Um…
S: This solves the problems.
S: Say “thank you.”
Me: Thank you.

You should always thank your subconscious.  It’s down there working in the mines, slopping in the sewers, filing things away in big dusty file-card catalogs in the basement, all for your benefit. It likes to be appreciated.

So, now that I have all these solutions, now that I have a design and a structure, I just have to, you know, execute everything.

But this story has become way more ambitious than I had originally planned.  More interesting, yes; but more difficult…

If I can manage to pull it off — well, it would be so cool.  Really.  But it’s also entirely possible that this is just beyond my current level of skill…  I could easily crash and burn.

But you know what?  You gotta crash and burn.  Be willing to, that is.

I could utterly fail in the execution of this, but — so what?  If the story stinks, I just won’t sell it and it will never see the light of day.  You’ll all be none the wiser.

So, I’ll catch my breath, and give this thing another go.

But you know, one of these days, at some point, I’d like to just write a story where a bunch of people get into a rocket ship, go somewhere, have an adventure, meet some interesting aliens, and then come back home. Frankly, I could use the rest.

In other news: Hey, tip jar. Some writers have ’em; now I do, too.