Coming to the end of my scene last night–and I should mention, the end of Chapter Sixteen as well–I wrote this final paragraph:
(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
Erywin sat staring at the empty chair across from her, fingers tapping against both arm rests. “There’s something we, the instructors, say—” She slowly turned her head so she was looking at both children. “—that pertains to both teaching and counseling, Annie. ‘We can show you the door; we can even hold it open for you. But you have to be willing to step through to see what’s on the other side’.” Erywin rose, straightening her pajamas. “She insisted there isn’t anything on the other side, and that’s as far as I can take her.” She respectfully bowed her head. “Have a good evening, children.”
I use the symbolism of a door a lot in this novel. Passing through one door to another and finding something incredible waiting. This was the end of Kerry’s Evaluation and Assessment:
He nodded slowly. “Okay, Doc.” He looked for the exit. “How do I get out of here?”
The doctor nodded at something behind him. “Go out the patio doors.”
Kerry turned and started walked towards them. After three steps he stopped and turned. “There really isn’t a patio out there.”
“There is if you want one.” She gave him a knowing look. “You’re going to find out that around here vision and willpower—and knowing how to apply them correctly—go a long ways towards making things you want happen.” Again she nodded toward the doors. “Go on, Kerry. Enjoy what’s waiting on the other side.”
Kerry did, and slipped right down into the rabbit hole. Annie did much the same for hers: she walked through one door, found she had to walk through another to meet with her adviser–and ended up telling a multi-millenniums old creature that she could stuff it, she was there at school for her reasons and her reasons only, and to hell with everything else. What did she get for her troubles? Shown to another door which should have lead to a nice, comfy bed–which in a way it did, where she said something to a certain doctor/nurse, and that led to questions and answers and reveals and . . . well, the start of something great.
Annie did the same thing to Kerry in London. When she suggested he come with her on a walking tour of London, she didn’t say, “Pack your shit, Welsh Boy, we’re going out.” No, she asked, “Would you like to do something? Would you like to go somewhere with me, Kerry?” She showed him the door, but in the end, he had to decide to walk through and investigate the wonders she was about to show him.
Writing a story, a novelette, a novella, a novel–when you start they’re all like standing before door, wondering what you should do. The door is the idea, but what is on the other side–that’s your imagination. What you’re going to find on the other side . . .
What you’ll find is a room full of jumble. Plots, characters, scenes–they are everywhere. It’s the way things are. Stories are a messy thing, there’s stuff all over the place. But if you work that idea enough, if you think about your characters and where you want them to go, what you want them to do, what sort of adventures they’ll have–in time, you’ll tidy up that room, get things in order, and eventually produce something.
Or as Dwayne Johnson might put it:
When you walk up to opportunity’s door, don’t knock. Kick that bitch in, smile, and introduce yourself.
And then start moving things about and getting that story in shape.
I’m always thinking about my stories. If not the one I’m on, then the next. Though this time is different: I’m eight months into writing, 201,101 words into the story, and I might have another six, seven, eight months of writing ahead of me. I’m going to make a push to knock off twenty thousand more words by the end of July and get extremely close to the end of Act Two–and then I’m gonna start editing another novel, because publishing, that’s why.
I think all the time about my stories, my characters, where I want them. It’s a non-stop thing. Once I’m through that door I have to stay and get things done. That’s why you get a little crazy writing, because you want out of that room, but you can’t leave until you finish.
But not everyone is like me, wanting to write grand, sweeping novels. Some people are really good with short stories. The process is the same, the time frame is a lot different. And keep in mind, there’s writing, and there’s editing. Writing starts the story; editing builds upon that foundation, allows you to correct what isn’t right. No story is perfect on the first draft: I know this all to well. Keep polishing. Make it pretty. In time, you’ll get it there.
Your stories are waiting on the other side of a door. I’ve shown you that door–
It’s up to you to go on through.