clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Yesterday was a hard day where I learned things but wasn't happy with the progress on a story that is beating me up. I say I'm going to leave it and come back but I cannot yet let go.

There is a lot in this business that runs parallel. You have to be vigilant for just the right piece even when every bloody thing you touch smells like sewage.

The difference between a sale and failure is a word choice, a name, an action performed or a narrative delivered. What's the right piece ? I'm not sure I can answer that little magic. I can say that I can look at it and know at least a thousand wrong pieces.

That was the bit yesterday - a day of wrong pieces.

I was reading Ron Carlson's excellent _Ron Carlson Writes a Story_ and re-read a bit where he describes the process of his rough draft as surviving the story. He's telling the story to himself trying to determine what happens by revealing the tale and he has to work to get to the end without a dead-end or wrong turn.

This morning, wrapping up my semi-aborted notes of yesterday and thinking about the end scenes of my story - those where I am having trouble avoiding a cliche - I have an idea. Then another.

I think of victory versus defeat and how as a writer I'd much rather have a tale of set-back and frustration than effortless victory. I'd rather have epic self-struggle and set-back [ failure] than just about anything else as a plot device because the failure is so much more revealing in the character's response during the denouement and falling action.

So I twisted my story of accomplishment to one of failure. Bloody thing works so much the better. Character growth and accomplishment on one level and failure towards a goal on another. This I can write [ YMMV].

Had I not remained vigilant I would have missed the thought. It was such a fleeting reflection I could have lost it in the desire for another cup of coffee.

Luckily, my best friend Louis is here as a reminder. Keep looking. The fox is out there in the meadow, somewhere.

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