It’s strange what things will set off my mind down a different path.
Four days ago, it was a single photograph of a Neolithic sculpture depicting a conquering warrior. In a dry history text, no less.
It wasn’t as if I’d traveled halfway across the world to look at the original stone, thinking about the fingers that had etched it so long before mine were ever formed.
No. I was sitting in my bedroom, barefoot, toying with a ballpoint pen looking at a mass-distributed history text.
But I kept staring at the photo, perfectly fixed, not really seeing it anymore. And the words just suddenly started burbling up, crowding my thoughts until I grabbed my “will-write-these-in-full-eventually-ideas” notebook and started scribbling away, disregarding the other things I needed to be doing.
My “life” can wait, I’ve discovered. Stories do not.
Yes, I thought. This is what I want. I’ve never written something quite about this before. Conquering warlords…in high epic narrative style…
And it’s odd what things attach to a story once it emerges. First I had warriors in early civilizations…then it was some random fact I’d picked up about the Achilles tendon and how it enables you to walk…then it was Norse mythology…then giant birds and giraffes…a desert…willow trees…
It isn’t particularly unusual for me to blur the distinctions of what belongs in a story and what doesn’t at this point. Instead of beautiful, lofty, pure epic narratives, I tend to serve up creations stitched together of whatever scraps were left unattended.
One of my recent stories started out as fantasy, got robots, then Italian masks, Japanese marriage gift traditions, the abandoned Capsule Tower in Japan, superheroes, some type of exceptionally strong metal I can’t remember the real name for now, a little bit of flair nicked from Assassin’s Creed images, and oh yeah, an abandoned roller coaster.
Because I wanted to write a roller coaster in the middle of a fantasy story.
It was weird. Believe it or not, the story I wrote after that might have gotten even weirder.
It’s funny how when I try to write, I get disgruntled occasionally because I’m trying too hard. But if life gets crazy busy and I know I have other things I should do…there it is! Right at the most inopportune moment, demanding my full attention.
Love ya, characters.
I think it will be good to write this story. Sometimes I get bogged down in the traditional forest-y Robin Hood-type fantasy setting, and I think I know what I’m doing, so I stop smelling the wild roses or looking up at the patches of sky between the trees. I love it, but I think I know it when I don’t.
I remember seeing images of extensive caverns, and thinking about a cave in one of my forest-y fantasy stories, thinking “Why didn’t I describe that? Why didn’t I go exploring?”
So even though woodsy fantasy settings are my absolute favorite…it’s probably good for me to take a break once in a while. See something different and remember that writing is often about breaking the rules.
Including my own.
So we’ll see where this goes. It might just wind up being Unfinished Short Story #3 Currently in Review. Or it might be my next Writers of the Future entry. I never know what turns the next roller coaster of a story takes me on until the wind is whipping my hair from my face and I’m screaming my breath away.
Or banging my head against my keyboard because my characters are off on adventure and I’m stuck at home, wondering what they’re up to.