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Finished another story…

In a recent thread, I mentioned I was starting on a second story in my new fantasy universe.  Though it’s a pretty short piece, and I had a pretty clear idea of the story structure from the outline, it was slow going for a while, since I had trouble focusing on it.  No good excuse; I just let myself get too distracted.  Anyway, the past few days I finally buckled down and did a couple of things to cut off distractions — like unplugging the laptop from the DSL cable and taking it into my bedroom to work, or doing my writing first thing (or nearly so) in the morning, while the ideas that percolated between waking and getting to the computer were still fresh.

As of last night, I’d gotten to the start of the climactic scene, and I realized there was an element of the characterization that bothered me, a problem I didn’t have a solution for.  But this morning I suddenly had a new realization about the physics of the climactic situation (for even though there’s magic in this universe, it’s bound by physical law), and that pointed me to a new way of resolving the story, something that I realized was a necessary payoff given what I’d set up.  It’s a resolution I’m a little uneasy with for reasons of my own; if I’d played it the wrong way, it would’ve reflected a notion of justice that I completely disagree with.  But I was able to make it work in a way I’m comfortable with.  And it does make the resolution stronger, the story more effective.  I wish I could explain more clearly, but it would spoil too much.

It just goes to show that while it’s good to have an outline, one should also be open to serendipity.  You never know what you’ll discover along the way.

The story is for an anthology whose deadline is still over two months away, so I’ll have plenty of time to refine it.  I’ll probably do a revision pass, then set it aside for a while, then come back and take a fresh look at it before I submit it.

In the meantime, I plan to get back to work on my spec novel — and resume looking for a paying job.  I’d intended to do some job-hunting last week, but the blizzard made it impractical.

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  1. February 15, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Wonderful.

    I have the same experience. Usuallly when I stop trying to control the direction of the story, it almost always takes a more interesting turn than I planned. But then there’s those times where I’m like, “What the H was I thinking? I admit, I have an addiction to organization, but letting go is sometimes the best way keep the plot interesting.

    cheers,
    -Ed

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