Creative Struggling

Oh my, I can’t believe I did that last week.  Seriously, I made a huge mistake in last week’s post, Disturbed.  I’ve edited the post to correct the error and would like to ask for your understanding in this matter.  Really, it’s been bugging me for days and I’d like to offer my apologies and hope you’ll forgive my thoughtlessness.

Let me explain.  Near the beginning of the post,  Disturbed, I made this statement:

“But always the man goes south.  Never east where the woman the goes.”

What was I thinking?  That is just so wrong.  Consuela would never go east at this point in the story.  The line should have read:

“But always the man goes south. Never west where the woman goes.”

Thanks for understanding and I hope that this correction will end the matter.  I am sure that you understand the importance of the character’s parting and the significance of the cardinal directions they go.

Of course the fact that Colin had traveled north and Consuela had traveled east to this faithful meeting was also significant.  Well, not to Colin and Consuela. They were ignorant in that regard, but rather the direction of travel informs and defines the mythology and religious practices of the people who eventually settled in and around the meeting area who called themselves, “the valley people.”

At this juncture you have either moved onto a different blog or would like to know where did that information come from. There maybe some of you are concerned about my mental health.

I’ve been thinking about what I wrote last week.  I was even moved to dig out my old file and read through the notes and text I’ve written.  It’s an incomplete narrative with just a seed of an idea.  The idea for the story was born out of a conversation with Heather while we were hiking through the hills.  We were discussing the nature of creativity and brain storming about projects we might do.  Over the miles of walking we meandered onto the topic of me writing a novel.

I’ve always thought the best way to begin a project is to start where you are.  I was hiking that day so the story would be about a hiker.  I wanted an adventure so the hiker would be escaping something.  I’ve always wanted to write about a future society, so why not have my hiker escaping an oppressive future society.  Since I also wanted to write about what I know, I decided to set my world in a future California.

From there ideas flowed and I wrote some 30 pages of notes along with part of the first chapter.  That’s when the problems started.  My character was stiff. Dialog was forced. The action with little dramatic interplay.  It felt wrong and I put it aside.

After I had completed my BA I decided to revisit the work.  Using what I had learned about story telling, I approached it differently and one afternoon after watching the movie, The Dark Crystal, the thought, “fracture the crystal,” came into my head.  Also there were some questions that started to pop up in my mind.  First was, how did world get from the early 21st century to Colin’s world centuries later?  I wrote timelines, notes and part of a diary entry of a person directly involved in the events of the collapse of the United States and existing world order.  It’s a problem to kill nearly seven billion people and not doom the planet to centuries of nuclear winter.

Since I was exploring the past of my world, I thought about the future.  What if Colin’s escape not only worked but also became one of those pivotal points in history where the world changed?  What would the world look like two or three hundred years later?  What if Colin’s descendants started to tell the escape story again and again?  What if they turned it into myth?  What if it turned from myth to religion?

Then I wrote another story about that time after Colin.  I even partly wrote a book of worship for the valley people.  I let the story, characters and intuition inform my writing. I discovered my valley people had important symbolism and metaphors for life – the compass points.

They are people of the land and knowing which way to go is important.  They also knew the parts of the story and broke it down based on what direction Colin traveled.  The city he escaped was on the west coast so he went inland to the east.  The valley people now take that direction to mean the beginning of a journey or a difficult road to take.  In this world young people go east to find themselves.  At a critical juncture in the story, Colin turns north in the hope of finding something wonderful.  The valley people hold north as the direction of the future, of the promise of new things.

It takes more than I can explain here, but each step into the story both clarifies a point and asks a new question.

So getting back to the problem I have with that scene on the dam. I now realize it’s not about the dialog.  It’s not about the actions Colin or Consuela take, but rather it’s about the symbol that it builds for the next part of the story.  The last scene should never be told exactly how it happened, but rather it should be told from a distance, from many points of view and likely should be a poem recited to a young child.

The answer to my other question is, yes I continue and I tell the story the way all great stories are told: in fragments, incompleteness, and contradiction.  It will be a messy story that will not clearly resolve into good and bad or even make you feel good.

All I ask of my story is to make you think, see a different world, consider your future and cause you to rethink your current steps in the world.

Till next week,

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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14 Responses to Creative Struggling

  1. artseafartsea says:

    I am usually not interested in stories about future events. But your story sounds like it would be very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. YAPCaB says:

    Sounds cool


  3. That was fascinating to read your writing process. A story starts but wasn’t ready to be told. You grew, the story changed, repeat. I find that intriguing.

    Too: I liked the discussion of moving from an adventure that appealed to people to a story told to a myth to religion. I can use that process in my paleohistoric fiction book. It makes sense.


    • I find the process interesting too. Part of what has changed for me is my expectations about how stories are told and how readers create meaning from our words. More about that in my next post.

      There are a number of real world examples of where an adventure turned to myth and more. If your story happens over a long period of time think about how early actions of characters can be turned into metaphor, then myth and final worshiped as a religion (or other spiritual practice or discipline).


  4. Glynis Jolly says:

    I have a strong feeling that you’re into this story more than you want to admit. Andrew, it will all fall together eventually. Just keep on writing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. kritsayvonne says:

    Of course to you it was a huge error, I think readers read so fast they’d not notice, I didn’t . Mmm perhaps that shows why I get unseen errors. X

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good point. If you have detail you need your readers to notice, it needs to be out there a few times so if they miss it the first time, they’ll find it somewhere else. I didn’t notice the error until I started to reread my notes.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. davidprosser says:

    Problem corrected, crisis averted. Maybe you can get back to the story now Andrew and produce something spectacular.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my! Be gentle with yourself we all make mistakes. I have made them and noticed after they were published and didn’t see them 3 to 6 days afterwards. Not a biggy. No need to apologize. Its all about learning

    Liked by 1 person

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