In my ongoing bid to read more books than I have written…well, I’d rather neglected to do any actual writing. I’m not suffering from writer’s block; in point of fact, I’ve had the bones of several stories rattling around in my head for some time.
I think my main struggle in all of this has been knowing these stories so well that writing them feels like an uninspiring prospect. When one reads a favourite book for the umpteenth time one can find oneself anticipating favourite moments, perhaps even skipping ahead. Knowing the outcome can make the journey feel like a hike. Translate that to writing, and I find myself hitting a wall.
It’s not that I’m not interested in pacing the journey and having it unfold in an interesting way, but that I find my patience tested wanting to skip ahead and write one of the “big moments” that plague my imagination and inspired the writing of these stories in the first place, or worse still, abandoning one story to go off and write the big moments of another.
I once embarked on a project to write and illustrate a full length comic; the first problem I hit was wanting to skip the scripting and get stuck in to the drawing so I could see it take shape. Constructing panels and drawing scenes proved an even more laborious task, and I soon abandoned it. I will return to it; I need to.
Plainly, having these stories exist as theory in my head is no good, and so I started thinking about how I might go about getting one out quickly so that I could stop thinking about it. One of these ideas, I reasoned, could not only be told satisfyingly in a short story format, but may in fact benefit from a concise and pacey narrative.
This week I wrote a short story, “In Reality” which is a tale of regret, envy and self-destruction with a science fiction framework. I tried to take care to avoid writing a straight science fiction with elements of humanity, and instead write a human tale in which the science fiction serviced the emotion. The defining trait of science fiction, it is said, is to show how scientific advancements can affect our lives; my aim was to look at a particular, popular staple of science fiction and pinpoint its appeal to the human condition. It’s been well received by its limited audience, and is still a first draft, but it feels good to have made the transition from dream to reality, thoughts to words. Rewrites will follow shortly, and once I’m happy with it, all that remains is to figure out how best to get it seen by the people who might care to see it, and make that dream a reality too.