For the past few nights I’ve lifted my eyelids and let streams fall down my emotionless cheeks. Happens about 3 times per night, expunging thoughts embedded in tears, thoughts better left unthought—a canyon in a storm. For the past few mornings, I’ve woken atop a damp pillow.
He’s blocked, can’t get to me—but he manages through her. Tearing down walls where he can, threatening me and loved ones, threatening himself. A hole in the hallway door where his humanity used to rest, splintered and exposing his many insecurities.
His story has grown in ways I admire as a writer – truly special fiction. He just needs to work on the logic of his words, they don’t add up and only work to confuse readers. His story again changed to responding authorities, however they’d already received a transcript and authorship of some words he’d rather have plagiarized.
His ghost writer’s no better, maybe he should consider a different sourcing method. Her story, too, has evolved into a word soup that makes sense to few outside their binding. As they unravel together, their story more closely resembles myth: a verbal retelling of a retelling. Since the pages aren’t numbered and the binding’s long come loose, I’m not even sure how to follow along.
In the audience, I fidget while waiting for this mess to end. It’s never gone through an editing or reading phase, that much is obvious—there’re too many questions left unanswered. The character development is weak, people don’t change or take responsibility—they’re just always drunk. Maybe it’d work on a 19th century Russian stage, but today’s audiences demand stories that don’t simply toss away logic and rule-sets. If he were going for abstraction, that too was lost in the fog of his many changing words.
Tough crowd, tough crowd—for the author and his ghost writer anyway.
It’s too late though. It’s already been presented and reviewed by critics. It’s a one-star performance. It simply won’t be remembered. There are some words strewn in though, some words the author carefully chose himself—those will speak to his legacy. Those special words would likely resonate well to a crowd in the U.S. south during the 1840s. Again, he’s too late on the draw. Whether the author decides on Russia or the South to share his misery, he’s about 150 years too late.
Back to the drawing board I suppose. The books closed and I’ve unsubscribed from his newsletter. If I can offer something for the next attempt, I offer this: draft an outline before writing. Get to know your characters: their motivations, strengths, and flaws. Take the time to understand the beginning, middle, and end of your story. Does it make sense for your characters to behave in such a way? Does it leave the reader/viewer with a better understanding of your world? Or does it just speak to a bubbling bleakness within yourself?
Change or keep your tone accordingly—but be ready to live with those edits and final product. Maybe a storytelling infographic will help, I don’t know. Writing’s tough for sure, and stream of consciousness is the easy way out for those good enough to crack it.
But I’m not sure storytelling’s for you.