Scribbler’s Saga #84 – In Between

Posted: April 16, 2019 in Uncategorized

© 2019 G.N. Jacobs

Depending on where I last left things, I love the in-between on many projects. The perpetual toe dance between getting forty new ideas a year onto to my list for later thought, writing/typing preliminary chapters to make sure I actually understand my idea and work intended to just “flop the fish on the deck, or go home” is just Tuesday for me. I must love it a little, I do this so often.

When I get an idea, I mull it over in my head for hours. Sometimes I land on a title, but usually I’m thinking about the characters, setting and maybe the antagonist. Sometimes I have a title and somehow have to live up the promise of the title…truth in advertising. And don’t get me started on a certain movie title that over sold what was on screen, but I digress…

One example of having what should be enough to create a draft in three or four months, but for all the other puppies clawing and whining for attention somewhere in my dinosaur pea brain…The Gunfighter Oratorio. A simple thought process really…at some point you’re just going to have to write a rip-off/homage to the Hobbit and call it a day. Specifically, start with a party and all these focaccia dwarves just invited themselves to the shindig leading to a quest to rid the world of dangerous tools.

As of this moment, I’ve already thought up the character and where he lives. And I’ve also thought up the “things I do differently,” a.k.a. The Six Points of Dissimilarity (a legal standard that means the difference between sued and – “HA-HA, MF! SUCK IT HARD!”). Fairly early in the process, I’m thinking: Thorin is a woman, no hobbits nor dwarves, the band of fourteen is, in strict point of fact, a band bringing along their instruments, the quest McGuffin is related to music (stole it from a horror novel idea, no reason it can’t appear in both) and the minute I decided upon a fantasy world with six shooters, the piece was always going to have its title.

I’ve done a couple test chapters establishing a comfortable house in the wellbit land of Haven (people don’t usually reinvent the wheel when they name things). The landed gentry-man splitting the difference between Bilbo and Frodo lives in this house playing his viola contemplating that his impending run for Mayor may require an adventure.

His guests arrive in ones and twos creating a party where there had been none; finally, the object of the party shows up last, their sister and cousin escorted to meet her betrothed in a faraway land. Sparks fly and when the guests mention that they need both a viola and a fourteenth for the journey, the host leaves home.

And that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. Other stories, maintaining this blog, doing a few more pages of my great comic book and the occasional side trip into TV Land all mean I have to pick a small number of these ideas just to scratch something off the list. My uncle once said, “I’m continuously impressed how you keep working and eventually publish things.”

Currently, the in-betweens that really matter involved an repurposed assassin clone falling in love with a widower as they delve into the secrets of her existence and save the world from hidden enemies. Or there’s been a decent amount of work recently on the two sisters from Trademark Safe Tatooine who band together despite loving the same man to save their planet from excessively greedy and destructive commercial exploitation. Until the next idea makes another left turn…

And there is still another book, a complete rewrite of my (hopefully only) tragically destroyed Crimes Against Elves. Five years grieving for the old version despite pretending it didn’t matter is enough. People asked “can’t you just take the parts that offended her out?” No, I either rewrite the whole thing from jump so that what needs to change doesn’t stick out where everyone sees it and gives me shit for leaving such glaring plot holes. A process that takes five years.

Nothing about how I handle my many in-betweens necessarily should inform how you handle your in-betweens. Yes, I try to keep my distraction to just a few projects keeping them hot and doing my words on a daily basis; that’s as much writing tip as I know how to give in this case. Fight to keep your gnat attention span focused on just a couple things; the other gadflies will still be there.

In addition to the simple incapability to maintain linear thought on just one project for more than six weeks, here’s what I’m thinking is also going on. The places I go when I write are just too damned entertaining in the sense of both places and the people living there that the imagining is sometimes enough to keep me entertained. Screw the words!

Of course, I can’t screw the words forever. The writing does two things. Help me understand what the purely visual part of the imagination didn’t actually tell me about, say, the Obsidian City. And I have to write it if I’m going to share the adventure. So here we are stuck in many in-betweens where I’m having all the fun (sorry), but I do write at least four times a week. I’ll get there…eventually.

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