2004-10-07

Just Keep Telling Yourself It's All About the Process

Came in to office this morning raring to finish my new Chapter One, because I think I'm about a paragraph and a polish away from putting it to bed and moving on.

But because I got such great notes on a short story I was working on at Group last night -- no, we're not all touchy-feely, yes, writer-talk is a helluva lot more helpful than talk-therapy -- I pulled out the draft/notes for another story I started working on last summer, around the same time that I drafted the story I got notes on last night, just to see what was there.

This new story is far less developed than the one I was working on last night. Mostly, it's a collection of scenes between best friends who are 7 years old and trying to figure out all the adult drama around them while also starting to experiment with their own physicality. It's very skeleton-ish -- mostly, I wrote it because I wanted a framework for the last scene, which I've been carrying around with me for twenty years, in which a boy takes our protagonist into the kindergarten closet to kiss her, and when they emerge, our heroine's best friend chases him down the hallways screaming "Kiss me too! Kiss me too!" I wanted to talk about how sometimes the people you "kiss" are interchangeable, but some times not -- but also how CHOOSING is what relationships are all about, and despite the "you should never choose your boyfriend over a girl" rule, that's COMPLETE BULLSHIT -- getting married and having kids and making a family life is all about choosing your boyfriend first. Anyway, I was having all these thoughts obliquely while writing this story last summer, but realized re-reading it today I was avoiding the hard stuff: THE AWFULNESS OF ACTUALLY MAKING THAT CHOICE as a grown-up, so really the easy kid stuff I wrote needs to be cut into the hard adult stuff of doing that for real -- cutting the cord with the friend, as it were. The story needs to follow our hero trying to justify/own her choice of leaving her friend behind so she can go forward (anybody see a theme in my work here? yeah, and what of it?).

But I have SO MUCH MATERIAL for this with these two girls--I mean, there's a 20+ year friendship in ashes I've been dying to mine, that's what writer's do, resurrect their little murders, right? -- that I worry about it becoming a very long long story or even a novella. And where the hell is the market for that?

WHICH IS COMPLETELY THE WRONG THOUGHT. I need to just write the fucker and worry about what it IS afterwards.

So today, I am going to "finish" my Chapter One and then start working on filling out this new story. It would be good if I could motor through a full draft of the story in the next week or so, so I can workshop it in my Sunday Group in two weeks, because though I could bring the story from last night to Sunday Group, I want to bring something less-worked-over in to them so I have two projects to work through BESIDES the novel and then NO EXCUSE TO EVER NOT WRITE because you can't be blocked on three things at once, it's just completely impossible, lightening can not strike three times.

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