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once upon typewriter

It is after midnight here, and I’ve been working on my latest story Wet Satin Plaything for seven hours straight today.

But I finished it.

I finished it by “patiently meting out words on a page” at times today, and also by writing in a fever-fits of inspiration, deep inside the feelings and sensations that were happening to my characters, actually aroused at times by what I was writing. Sometimes I kept writing by swapping to my notepad, and making plot notes in my scratchy southpaw handwriting – with little swirls as bullet points, when I seemed to have run out of sentences for what was happening.

Other times, I kept writing by not writing, and cooking instead. Knowing my mind was turning over the stones which the unwritten parts of the story lay hidden under while I chopped and stirred.

And I got the submission in (I hope, given time zone differences) just in time. We shall see. I’ve never shaved a story submission deadline that closely before. It was literally the stroke of midnight when I hit “send”.

So it seems, as I was exploring in On Not Writing, reasoning with my perfectionist about being strong enough to weather negative or unexpected reactions actually worked. In addition, I created a strong, provocative piece of fiction out of a dysfunctional past relationship with some pretty emotionally damaging aspects. I allowed myself to explore my feelings of anger about being emotionally controlled, and verbally abused, and that felt powerful. I got to step inside the skin of a femme fatale-type character who doesn’t fear the dramatic gesture to make a strong statement about her boundaries, and to reclaim her power.

This is a short post, but an important one, to honour my progress.

I did what I set out to do. I didn’t give up, or distract myself (too much) telling myself my intention didn’t really “matter”. I followed the thread of the story, trusting in its strength, and I sought some support from writer-friends from the sidelines. Thanks to writer Jacqui Greaves for reading my draft-in-progress and providing feedback.

And I can now say, in comparison to when I last posted On Not Writing, when I confessed I hadn’t completed anything fictional for one whole year, that I’ve changed my own narrative.

There’s power in completions. Unfinished stories have a habit of haunting a writer, whereas completions are cleansing to the soul/soil, leaving room for new blossomings.

At twelve pages, and just over 6000 words, Wet Satin Plaything is now my longest narrative effort, more than three times longer than my last completed story Under My Cape. I’ve blasted through a block I had about only being able to sustain much shorter story narratives. I’d like to think that I am slowly developing my story-telling “muscle”, my stamina for sustained, longer narratives, and that, in time, a novel won’t be beyond my reach.  I know some writers believe they are “only” short story writers, “only” novelists. Me? I hope I’m a work-in-progress when it comes to word-counts.

In the first twelve hours or so (sticking with the twelve theme),  I’d also included as part of this blog a sizeable excerpt from my new story. That’s why there are a couple of comments by readers on the actual story. But I’ve now deleted this, because I’m not sure about the story’s fate, and I want to make sure I don’t contravene any potential future publishing agreements.

I will, however. publish a smaller excerpt here. Do you want to go there?

Meanwhile, we keep writing, don’t we? Those of us who, like Ray Bradbury, cannot stay too long away from words.

“You grow ravenous. You run fevers. You know exhilarations. You can’t sleep at night, because your beast-creature ideas want out and turn you in your bed. It is a grand way to live.”
Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing