Everything Has a Beginning

8 11 2010

Sometimes I wonder whether I’m a terrible writer, or maybe just a slow-thinking genius.

Okay, let’s be honest… I’m not a genius. I’m far from it. It just takes me a really, really, REALLY long time to come up with a good idea. Sometimes it takes me twice as long to figure out how to solve a problem with my story that had a solution so simple, I’m embarrassed to admit it was even a problem to begin with.

Recently, I’ve had to sit down and figure out why my story was so terrible. Okay, that’s not exactly true. It’s not terrible, but it had a terrible beginning. Things were jumbled up and made absolutely no sense. The biggest question of all couldn’t be answered: Why? Why was this character here? Why is s/he this way? Why did they cross paths? Why did they continue on from here rather than going their separate ways?

I couldn’t answer these questions, so I couldn’t continue. If the story makes no sense, then you don’t have a story. You just have a bunch of words on paper (or in my case, on a screen) with interesting characters, a semi-interesting environment, but no direction. Who wants to read a story without direction? I sure don’t.

Because of these problems, I had to make some changes. Some are still rough around the edges, of course. When you’ve had an idea in your head for 6+ years or so, it’s hard to change it overnight. I’ve changed living arrangements, backgrounds, present lives… I’ve even totally changed how the characters meet one another. I think changing how they meet has really helped a lot of things. Before, it made no sense as to why two characters would leave everything they know, everything that’s safe and familiar, just to help some girl they just met.

Now, I’ve brought her to them. I’ve moved an entire race of people, an entire culture, to another continent altogether. Everything is starting to fall into place and make sense now. I feel as though I actually have a beginning I can work with, something I can actually begin writing without embarrassing myself. I think this will finally work.

Next comes the hard part: Actually sitting down and writing.

So, does figuring this stuff out before I actually write it make me brilliant? Or does it make me a slow thinker who could have had this story finished 10 years ago? I don’t know. I don’t really want to know, to be honest. Someday, I will finish this story, and I can finally be proud of my life’s work. This story has been my life for so long, I can’t imagine giving it any less than my absolute best, no matter how long that takes.