This weekend I spent a few hours at the public library looking over my story. I felt a mix of excitement and anxiety. I had finally gotten through the first act of my book and now I could get to this concept I’d been thinking about for maybe a couple of months now. Or could I? My original outline did not have this concept exactly. After talking with some engineering friends we honed in a couple different ideas that I was trying to articulate. Two main ones. One plot heavy, one main character heavy. This is part of what I blogged about weeks ago. My brother and I discussed whether or not I was combining too many ideas. At the time I couldn’t conceive of putting this story down and putting that plot heavy concept somewhere else. I wanted to make it all work, but after my library session I realized that all I want to do right now is let my current novel project sit still. It needs to take five. I can’t decide if I am pushing too much into it, if I have two different novels or stories here that I want to put into one for convenience. What did this all lead to? It inspired me to sit down and cautiously start typing out the words to a different story, not a novel, just a story. It started with the sentence: he was not important.
Pretty quickly I realized I was talking about Phoenix, a character I created in college. In my college short, titled the Killstory, he had a first person voice. He was an employee at Burger King who’d been sleeping with his manager’s much younger girlfriend and who loved to visit the Killstory, a local movie theater, alone. He was currently going through a caffeine overdose and after a terrible fight with his manager, his shady, older, gambling friend picks him up and drives him out of NYC on a cross-country trip. The story is non-linear, deconstructed and hyper: told through Phoenix’s pov while on the road, while going through the OD. I got positive feedback from my classmates and a more puzzled reaction from my teacher who found it slightly “impenetrable” but who could see the students enjoyed it.
Anyway, that story is different, in many ways, from the one I sat down to write. I gave a nod to my previous story in this current one, but other than that I let it go. Phoenix as a character was back though, currently in third person voice, and with a much different story to live through.
I wrote 6 full pages over the weekend and consider myself about 35% done with the story. I pretty much have it all mapped out. It’s like I’ve been waiting to just take a pause from my other project so I could get this down.
Also, weirdly, I wrote a scene this morning for this story that I knew I’d “seen” before. I realized it was a scene I’d tried to write into the Killstory when I tried to expand it at one time, but it didn’t work or make sense. Now it fits into this story. It’s a small moment, but still, I like when things like that happen. When little pieces of story come together after years of lying dormant.