Thursday, December 1, 2011

Chaos Theory

I like my work space to be nice and neat. If you ask my mother (who's seen the current state of my desk and the general clutter of my bedroom) she'll tell you differently. But it's a fact. Even my "clutter" is rather organized, in its own way. I like things to be organized and cleaned. Not always put away or white glove sparkling, but clean. Working in a mess completely stresses me out! So it's safe to say that the messy, unkept state of my stories does well to stress me out more often than not. I don't like chaos (unless we're talking about Loki from the Thor movie. In which case I say "Send him my way! Hubba hubba!") and this mountain I've begun to tackle is nothing short of chaotic.

For example, at one point several months ago I took all of my notebooks and filed them into boxes. Stories from before three years ago went in one pile. Stories from the last three years went in another. They were put up in the top of my closet and all but forgotten about. This morning, in an effort to start on this immense project, I dusted off the old boxes and started pulling out the most recent notebooks and files. To my horror, the notebooks I thought had been exclusively for one story or another ended up holding ideas for thirty or so other projects, some from as far back as middle school! In one notebook alone I had loose papers full names and character profiles that I couldn't put to story ideas stuck between pages of writing that fit somewhere in the middle of a castle fairytale and a pirate horror. On pages further in I found sketches of costumes for a super hero and the layout of a house which had become the setting of a story I'd just recently started. This conglomeration of bits and pieces ended up belonging to a total of nine different stories. And all in just one fifty page college rule notebook! Notebook after folder after binder after notebook, each only got worse. I finally had to give myself a break. There was no way I was going to be able to go through all of it quickly.

As luck would have it, though. I did find one story in it's complete set. Ideas and sketches and all. This is the story I'll be working on to start with. It's one of the most recent projects I've put upon myself, entitled "Conflict." Though it's been forced through the processes of being completely rewritten three times now, I think it's still got a lot of potential. (And everyone says "third time's the charm" right?) Based on the story of my first year in college, the book follows Jackson, a sardonic young man with a haunted past, and Ginger, his quirky but spirited best friend, as they journey through their own first year in university. Together the pair wade through the uncharted waters of a budding romance, struggle with self growth and discovery, and deal with the pain of losing a first love. All the while waging the never ending battle against homework and picky English professors. It's a cute love story with a lot of witty humor and sarcastic charm, curtsy of my own best friend and constant inspiration, my mother. It's a story that she and several others have urged me to finish quickly, so this is the book that I will start on first.

Just for a quick overview, though I do have to completely start over (again) there is a lot of the story already written that I can still use. So it's safe to say once I've gone through and edited out everything I don't want or can't use, I'll be left with about three solid chapters. After that, it'll be an uphill battle trying to roll this sucker along, but I'm convinced that between the long talks with my mother for dialog inspiration and the fun of actually writing something that makes me laugh too the whole thing will turn out okay, if not (hopefully) better. Haha.

And so today, as I'm now off to continue my search for usable material in my Conflict, I leave you with this. Though in life sometimes things might seem a little crazy and hard to handle, if you step back and give yourself a little breathing room, when you come back to it with fresh eyes odds are you'll be able to see the silver lining a little more easily. I know I did.


1 comment:

  1. You clean messyness sounds a whole lot like my dad! :) Enjoy your conflict!