Thursday, March 31, 2016

Finding a Story, Part Nine

Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, and Eight

For better or worse, this is the last part of this series. We've seen a story go from a prompt to a full-fledged rough draft. You might say, "I've seen no such rough draft!" Relax. Keep reading. And as you take in this masterpiece (read: train wreck), you might realize that there is a mountain of problems with characters, pacing, etc. More than likely, the portal they have wandered through is a giant, gaping plot hole.

But this is what I keep trying to tell everyone. No rough draft is perfect and publishable. Some rough drafts are so rough that 90% of it has to be scrapped to make it even readable. Coming up with a plot that barely works is hard enough. Turning that into a plot that actually works is a whole other kettle of onions.

There is one thing that I'm particularly proud of, and I'm going to point it out now, in case it's not clear when you read it. When Jake talks about his crimes (all the murdering), he says "I," as in "I killed all those people." But when he talks about his first kill, which happened in wartime and was not technically murder, he says "you" like the hypothetical general "you." While he seems to feel little to no remorse over the other crimes, he subconsciously distances himself from that first one. I think a lot of my super clever moments are subtle and easily missed, so I wanted to make sure that this was noticed.

At the moment I'm leaving the story on a cliffhanger. Not because I'm evil (well, maybe that) but because any ending I can come up with just feels like a letdown after this. Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

I know there are some things that need to be fixed or added. The time period and backstory exist in my head, but didn't make it to the page very well. I'm sure I've mentioned how terrible I am at exposition before. It's something I'm working on. Anyway, it's a rough first draft. At some point in the future I will go back and fix it. I have to let it stew for a while, and wait for me to forget how it goes, so I can look at it with fresh eyes.

But enough talk. Here it is. I've even given it a name finally: My Soul to Take.

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