In my last summer without obligations, between high school and college, I spent most of that innocent time writing a foundational element to “The Story” References stars John (left) as “everSOL the Valiant,” crash-lander on a strange planet that is driven to find his dearest friend “Trisha” (right). I forgot about References to become a salaryman. After rescuing it from this almost-lost disk, what’s available is online, unmodified. Let’s talk about my successful failure: References.
Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (just recollections, regrets, reinforcements…)
I couldn’t finish it. It’s not that I didn’t know how it ended. I had enough ideas to carry John would along toward his journey to Eville to find “Trisha.” It was just, having no experience in writing or planning any major undertaking other than playing videogames, I had no structure.
Just the starting and ending points.
Planning isn’t always required in life. Writing isn’t just one of those “wing-it” situations. When I don’t have a clear structure on what topics I want to cover, in even seemingly inconsequential short essays like these, my writing can fall apart. Ideas only hold so much together.
Even today, my writing-planning skills are sketchy.
The last 200 words in “Words Mean Nothing V” went astray from my rough plan. Worse still, I almost wrote myself into another corner, just as I’d done 12 years ago, in that I had ideas without the means to turn them into something. Jane’s story could go in too many directions.
That loose structure works well with one-offs.
What ever happened to the gym ghost? How about the girl in the tub? Short stories don’t have an overarching need for narrative consistency. Recurring fiction practice character Sammohini, Trishna’s sister, has partially told my career story while vicariously planning my future.
Shouldn’t she branch off to have her own independent structure?
Where do I see Sammohini with five additional years, in story? Five to 20 years prior? How does she help tell Trishna’s side of “The Story?” There are myriad structural questions and plot diagrams that I could build to help me better realize the scope and nuance of her cast of characters.
With a solid structure, the verbiage can be creative.
If the structure is creative, then the narrative doesn’t follow a consistent ruleset, the characters don’t seem realistic, and the writing gets unwieldy. All that happened with my cherished References. I was too compelled to begin writing that I hadn’t done any ‘writing stretches.’
Yet I couldn’t have spent those writing days any better.
It’ll be fun to return to AKIN and follow John on his quest. Maybe reading and providing full commentary on References will help me write “The Story,” because despite 60 tangentially-related essays and 53 directly related essays, I haven’t written a single proper word of “The Story.”
I’m still learning from my previous mistakes.
Even here: I wrote most everything, edited it down, and the remainder almost became too unwieldy.
I need to practice writing more.