In Pursuit

So, when last we talked, I was confessing that, to no one's surprise, I'm getting older, and I was thinking that it was maybe time to do something about all the things that I wasn't doing because I would get to them someday.

If you know me, you know that I like writing. If you don't know me, you should realize that I like writing by the fact that I have a blog, even though blogging hasn't really been too much of a thing for the past ten years or so. Anyway, the things that I've been putting off, usually because I wasn't good enough to pull them off, are largely writing projects. The "someday" feeling was almost universally meant to indicate "someday when I'm a good enough writer, I'll totally write that story."

Well, I tell my kids often enough, and it's true, that not writing is a sure-fire way to not get better (hence good enough) at writing. So I decided that I'm going to pick up one of the projects I'd laid to the side and get to it.

The problem is, there are so many stories I've started and left by the wayside. How could I choose between them?

It came down to three projects that I have a lot of stake in -- three stories I have every intention of finishing before my time on this planet is up. So, I looked at the three stories and figured out which one I was most intrigued by today. Then I found a bunch of reasons why that was a good choice.

The year was 1994. I was very interested in writing. So much so that I had bought a typewriter with the majority of my first-ever paycheque. I'd mucked around with a couple of things, but never really settled on any one thing. Then I started thinking about a king faced with some tough decisions. Then I drew a map. Then I sketched together some characters that totally weren't ripped off from my favourite fantasy series. Then I started writing. I figured I'd get the rest figured out later, but I wanted to write the story. I quickly stalled out and gave up on the story. Then I went back. Then I built in some more pieces.

Over the years, I put together some plans, some world-building, some character sketches. And the stereotypes got some of their own personalities, and became slightly fleshier characters that were totally not ripped off from fantasy novels that I had recently enjoyed.

I swear, I put down that story and picked it up at least ten times over the decades. In 2007, I made some real progress on the story, finishing part 1 and part 2 of a three-part story. But then I talked myself out of part three because there was a lot of re-writing to do on 1 and 2 so that 3 wasn't a nonsensical mess. And those fleshier characters weren't really people yet, they were still ripped off (I mean totally not ripped off) and had nothing to say on their own. They were slaves to the whim of the plot, with a forced "romance" and another that was, literally, a damsel in distress. Yeah, the story has problems.

I always figured that I would have time to get that story right -- give characters their own voices, rather than those of early-to-mid-nineties fantasy heroes. And it makes sense that if my someday is a day that looks a lot like today, then the first and most frequent story I tucked away on the shelf for someday would be the first story I unearth to bring it to fruition.

So, I'm going through the story I've told so far (only wincing in discomfort every so often) and I'm making notes. I'm getting a feel for the lay of the land by re-reading the whole thing, gathering all the notes I've made, all the plots and plans, and I'm going to get this story written.

Maybe it won't be good. Maybe I'll spend the next ten years editing it into something that someone might want to read someday. But that's fine, because, while that someday might be a long way away, now I'm actually moving in that direction.