Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Chill Before Serving

Did you ever do that experiment in elementary school science where you created a tornado in a bottle?  It's basically akin to stirring up a batch of Kool-Aid but more scientific like.  My writing life is like this.  I start with an idea, which is basically like the water.  It's pure and clean and pretty much whole in my mind.  Then I add the flavoring, characters, locale, villains and give it a mighty stir.  At first everything is suspended, yet separate and crystallized.  Then as it gains momentum it begins to come together and starts to form a story.  But if I start to stir too fast a hole appears in the middle of my Kool-Aid and all the great ideas that were coming together are pushed to the side to make room for this giant nothing that threatens to take over.
I find myself writing faster trying to squeeze everything in the space that's left.  I jump around in my narrative. I'm unsure where things fit and the more I stir the greater the emptiness grows while everything I thought I had is frantically trying to become something else.   Even when I let go of the spoon the bright red concoction continues to turn.  I'm learning that the only way for it to become what I want it to is to let it.
As writers, we're hard on ourselves.  We feel bad when we have to start again or rip out pages.  But that's the beauty of it.  We can do what we want.  It's not a one off, we get to try again.
I'm there with a story I've been working on.  I'm a month in and I've been stirring too fast.  I'm at the point where I might just make a new batch, this time with sugar.  After all, Kool-Aid is a drink best served chilled.

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