Writing Process: Actually Writing
I have my inspiration. I have my idea. I have my outline and some characters in my mind. Nothing is concrete yet and I have no clue whether or not it will turn into something worth while. But, I have all the things I think I need to make a story. Including: The Vibe.
The Vibe is my own term for how the story feels. It's something between theme, style, voice... all those loose, slippery, intangible elements that go into writing. Without Vibe, a story has no life to it. It's all just telling.
But I got Vibe. Really, this story started with a Vibe: that bizarre, empty drone of that song. The lyrics repeating in my head, "Baby, can you hear me?" sounding so forlorn and desperate. I heard a story completely separate from the story the song writer was trying to tell. Now it was my job to relate that story to you, the reader.
But first, a confession: I have used and will continue to use performance enhancing drugs. Strictly large quantities of caffeine and moderate amounts of alcohol.
So I settled down into an easy chair with my tablet and a whiskey and water. Jameson on this particular night. I had my outline already open in a word doc. I hammered the Enter key four times to move the outline down the page, and I got to work. I already the hard stuff figured out. Now it was just a matter of making it cool.
I came out the gate quick, hard charging and wrote for a solid couple of hours, all the time I had to write on that day. I saved my work and went to bed satisfied.
The next chance I had to write, things went a little slower. Less 90's-movie-hacker-key-hammering and more contemplation and Delete button. Still, I got some things down. Some good things. Some things that felt okay...?
By my third session I was struggling. I suspected I was working on a dud. A stillborn confused mess. A lot of times I can write a whole short story in one session. I'll sit down and three or four hours later I'll have a completed rough draft. This was not one of those times.
As a matter of fact, if it wasn't for this blog series, I may have put it aside. But I'd already made the first entry, already tweeted about it, already bragged about my ability to pull a compelling story idea out of a random pop song. There was no going back. I had to finish this beast whether I wanted to or not.
I spent sometime back at the mental drawing board. Usually, when writer's block creeps up on me, it's because I've lost faith in the idea. And sometimes for good reasons. I think that sometimes I can sense a dud coming, and once I'm convinced of that harsh truth, why waste any more time writing something that's not good? But I was committed to this, and so I reminded myself, I don't always know what will work and what won't.
After some time at the mental drawing board, I came up with a fix, an extra punch for my ending. And that was all it took. One more writing session and a little more coffee and I completed a 5,100 word first draft!
But is it any good? Is it salvageable? Spectacular? That is yet to be seen. Stayed tuned for the next post where I discuss bringing this creature I created out of the darkness and into the light. Comment below!