Monday, November 2, 2015

Why I write: the discarded remains of Labyrinth of Souls

The end of every major book of mine is followed by a refractory period. This quiet, solemn time is a moment for reflection. For my most recent book, the Labyrinth of Souls, this feeling has been compounded with the complexity of the book's world, its characters, and the issues being dealt with. I should remind you that the book started out as an idea that gestated from this short story. Hold on to that last thought. 

At this moment, I'm staring at pieces of the body that were the original novel. Not to mention 100s of post-it notes meant to assist the story or character, but never made it into even the first draft. Some of these are set scenes or dialogues or whole characters that would have added depth to the story, or to a single character or another angle to the world or the labyrinth in the book.

And yet they didn't make it and some were mercilessly ripped from the main body of the story. Back to that thought. As this story gestated from a smaller seed, so too do I hope that these pieces will help to germinate more and more stories for the future. I also take comfort in what Michelangelo said (to paraphrase him): that one takes a block of stone and chips away until there's a sculpture left... Though I doubt that he would do something as crass as use his scraps for more work. [1]

But I digress. The main issue is seeing these discarded pieces and wondering what truly adds or takes away from a single novel and if I'm wrong to take away so much from the story. Perhaps it should linger some more on these snippets of life in the novel's world?

In the end, this story answers a question I had and evokes many more. I sense that I have grown much from the experience of writing this specific book and I also sense that I will move away from the style, once and for all, because the style does not allow for certain global concerns or views to surface [2]. (I'm rambling now...) Is the topic of the essay an attempt to point to an inherent weakness of me as a writer? Perhaps. But we shall see.


[1] But it's well known that writers are on the lower rung of the artist totem pole, to say nothing of a relatively unknown writer such as myself. 

[2] I feel that this is a problem with many books I now read: that they are trying too hard to focus on the individual. Perhaps it's time to get rid of that?

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