Just as a week ago I’d finished the draft on Replacements, last night saw me finishing the draft on Echoes. Last chapter, a few words added, a couple of things edited . . . ta-da! Final Draft is in the bag. Now all that’s required is one more pass, another good polish, a book cover, and it’s ready to take its place next to Banging the Cheer Squad, which is one of the tomes that appears on my Smashwords front page. (There’s even an interesting first sentence: ”Gretchen thought she was the only cheerleader who had been turned into a gangbang slut.” Definitely not my high school.)
The last chapter has always made me cry–my story Echoes, that is, not the one about slutty cheerleaders. I wrote it last year, starting it almost about this time, and it was a reflection of something that I was feeling at the time. I wanted to get everything down inside words I’d remember, everything that I felt would convey how I felt then, and I think–I think–I got it right. It was the first real story I wrote that touched my emotional side, and it’s really one of the first stories that isn’t just words, but possesses feelings as well.
Which is why the ending makes me sad, because the feelings are still there. Probably will be forever.
The thing about Echoes, though, is that if I couldn’t have finished it, I’d have never been able to write the ending to Transporting. The later was delving into some deep, emotional waters as well, and as I’ve stated in other, older posts, in order to finish the story, I needed to get into some feelings I couldn’t access. I’d always been a touch unemotional, and it showed in my writing. I could plot and do prose, but there was something missing.
It’s a fact of life that sometimes your writing is going to make you cry. Can’t be helped, because when you, the writer, goes over a piece, no matter how long before it was written, you’re going to remember when that writing happen, where it happens, and maybe even what you were feeling when you wrote those particular words. That’s assuming you aren’t Scriptomatic 3000, which was something I think Dan Aykroyd called himself when he was developing scripts.
If you’re just hammering away at your stories, getting the words down one after the other, and you’re not putting yourself into them, then maybe you won’t feeling anything when you’re editing them later. I think that will show up in the story, however, because as many of you know, when you’re reading another author’s work, you see things in your head, see the characters a certain way, and the emotions that trickle out are pretty much a combination of yours mixed with those of the writer. But if the writer didn’t put any of themselves into their work, the reads may just feel that.
There is one other thing about getting your feelings onto the page: it means you’re will to open yourself up to things you may not like to remember, or feel, or even admit ever happened. It’s not a pleasant thing to do–I know, I’ve done it. There are a lot of things in my life that I wish hadn’t happened, and would like to forget completely. But when you’re writing . . . damn it, those feelings just seem to pop up, you know?
All that remains are the covers, and a little polish . . .
I’m almost there with the new stories. Here’s hoping people like them.