Gina Penn, unabridged.

The Passion of the Story

I’ve been in editing mode for the past couple of months, trying to get The Dark Layer ready for release (many apologies to those wanting to read it-I can’t have it being inferior in any way, which is why it’s late). Finding bad commas, missing words, continuity errors, plot holes, etc… My eyes were crossing but I was getting work done, dammit!

And then, out of the blue, a brand new, bloody fantastic story idea hit me square in the head.

I wasn’t prepared for this story at all. I was content to be in editing mode. At the time, I didn’t even particularly want a new story. I’d been working with my older story for a while and had reached a sort of modus vivendi with it. But this new one made the old one look like a tree sloth taking a nap. It was so perfect! The plot flowed seamlessly. I began to sketch characters in my mind, I saw spectacular scenes in my head, lines of engrossing dialogue. Never, ever before had a story grabbed me so completely or so wholly. I began thinking about this new story all the time, its perfect image burned into my mind and everything started forming so well. The story made sense, everything about it felt parallel to me, as though I was born to tell it, even a possible sequel had been entertained. I jumped into the idea with temerity, my brain an anoesis, that I literally had to take long walks just to pull myself together. For me to be this excited about a story was so unlike my usual self. The feeling was so ferly to me. I couldn’t wait to write it.

But then the story abandoned me.

tout ce qui sera, sera

Literally overnight, the music stopped. My quarter was used and the ride was over. I begged for another go but the stingy old whoremaster that runs the merry-go-round told me to get the fuck off. She even had the intrepidity to pop the happy ballon that had been so carefully tied to my wrist. I walked away, dragging the string along beside me, listening as the story cajoled until I could no longer hear its song.

 I’m upset about this story. It deserved the chance to be told. Instead, it was ripped from the ground like a dandelion. But I’m happy it came to me because it taught me a painful lesson about passion. Passion is mandatory to be a writer. Without it, nothing would ever be finished. There was real passion for me when it came to this story but for some reason it burned out before the muse and I had a chance to really dig our teeth in. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this story will ever be told but that’s okay. Stories come and go. I still have the notes to remind me it was there and also to remind me that this story just didn’t have passion. And since I’m a writer and not a bloodless IRS agent, I can only tell stories with passion.
 
There are always going to be stories that get away from us. Some we’ll be excited for and some not. Apparently I had more passion for the story than it did for me but if the story doesn’t have passion, maybe it isn’t worth telling. I was a fool rushing in, just like that stupid old song says, but I don’t care. If I’m a fool, then I’m a fool. I love my craft, even when it lets me down. I would rather be a hopeless romantic than a lonely old miser. And romance is never hopeless; it is the essence of hope.
 
Keep writing everyone. And remember to have passion. No pain, no gain.
 
 
 

4 responses

  1. Great post Gina. That’s how it is far too often sometimes, but the stories always come back sooner or later.

    Hang in there, Pru

    November 5, 2011 at 6:54 pm

  2. Aww man, sucks that your bitch of a story left you. 😦 I’ve had that happen too. It’s very disappointing.

    Maybe the muse will visit you on this one again. Never say never!

    November 5, 2011 at 9:30 pm

  3. Jason Darrick

    I’m keeping my toes crossed in hopes that this wayward story finds its way home to you.

    November 5, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    • Me too. I thought it was the one.

      November 6, 2011 at 12:57 am

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