Sunday, February 16, 2014

One of those Epiphany Moments

I had one of those Epiphany moments yesterday morning. Something I knew but hadn't taken onboard. I needed to write more to create emotion and less to impart information. I needed to focus on using the words, rhythm and pacing to get the reader to feel something. So I spent the day writing 500 words, vice the normal 6000 I would normally achieve during that time. I wrote, and rewrote, constantly changing, removing detail. removing action. Shortening, replacing words. And when I was done, the damn thing read like a boring text book. So I started all over, then had the second epiphany of the day. I couldn't tell you the books major conflict, major problem. I couldn't describe it in one sentence because it didn't have one.

Needless to say I then spent hours changing the scene so I could set up the story problem. Using the writing to define and discover the story. And ended up putting in information and detail that ruined the emotion.  It was fun but useless. I have a great setting, great situation in my mind, (Dystopian Warrior School, Misfits who must pass tests to get the future they want) All of it locked up inside an Enclave located on a walled off Cape  Cod. Obviously, a great deal of detail but I don't have the major problem, not yet.

Is it a rebellion, coming of age, romance, quest, I don't know yet. Yet.

So, creating emotion is slow for me. No use starting a story unless you know what the major problem is.

Here is an example of what I wrote, I don't like it yet, but I am using it to get me into the story. it will change. I have highlighted the parts which are in their for information purposes. I think you will see that they get in the way of the emotion part.

                                                   Danny Erikson

I sat there and watched a man die. It wasn’t an easy death. But then my father had never taken the easy way. No, not him. Not when there were boundaries to be pushed, edges to be skimmed, questions to be asked.

For two days I watched the light slowly leak from his eyes. Two days of pain and anguish. Two days of regrets and anger. All of it totally and completely unnecessary. Or at least it would have been in the old days. The time before. Back in the golden age of miracle medicines, electricity on demand, and a society that cared enough to not kill itself.

My dad had been a field hand. Only a field hand as they say. Technically we were all the same, the same level of importance to the Enclaves survival, yeah, right? You learned early in a small village, where the pecking order stood. But even as a field hand, my dad stood out, I had seen the way people listened to him when he talked. I had seen the way my mom looked at him, as if he was special. People knew it wasn’t fair. But he never complained, never made people feel bad.

 Mom told me in my early years that he could have been more, so much more, maybe even senior staff. But an illness at the time of testing. That’s all it took to change a man’s life, away from the corridors to power and onto the enclaves fields, spending the day watching a horses ass as you plowed another field.

Now he was dead. No more. My world had shattered like a stone through the winter ice. How do people function with this blanket of loneness draped over their shoulder?

I pushed a tear off my cheek as a flash flew through my memory. The time I came home crying my eyes out after a painful fist fight at school. He didn’t get mad that his seven year old son had been fighting. He didn’t get mad that I lost, he didn’t even get mad that I was crying. Instead he put his arm around me and pulled me in for the tightest, warmest hug ever and told me he would help me, teach me, and always love me.

My father was so much more than just a field hand.

“I swear dad, I swear on momma’s grave. I will make you proud. I promise,” I muttered through clenched teeth as I folded the sheet around him and pinned it close. My fingers shook as I tried to close the safety pin. It was a waist to send the pin to the bottom of a grave, “I will do what they wouldn’t let you do. Your grandchildren will live in a warrior’s house, maybe even a staff house. No field shacks. I promise you with every part of my being.” Stepping back I looked at the body shrouded in white. This was no longer my father. My father lived in my memories, the quick smile, and the rough hands that could sooth a little boy’s worries. The eye twinkle that let you know all was well in the world.




  1. Great post— and bring on the epiphanies!

  2. This is great. I look forward to seeing how it all plays out:-)