If you’re lost you can look and you will find me, time after time
– Cyndi Lauper –
Today I took the first two parts of my Second Chance story to my writing group. Originally published as The Stamford and Lea as responses to Fiction Friday prompts, they are actually smaller parts of a much large story -perhaps novella length. I hadn’t thought of the story in the thriller/suspense genre because the underlying story perhaps belongs somewhere nearer to magical realism or urban fantasy – not really sure. So I got thumbs up about my ability to build suspense and mystery. Thumbs down however for withholding too much information. The advice was to tell it how it was and then to cleave out the information if it is too much. Because we, as the writer, already have the story mostly formed in our head, what we think is too much is often just enough for the reader.
It was hard though to explain the story is unfolding and elements which may not make total sense in the opening scenes will be explained – teasers for further down the track. What remains however is the story needs grounding. There were arguments between my two writing friends as to whether or not the occuption of the male character (soon to be christianed “Jude”) should be revealed at that early stage or not. And perhaps the hints I have already dropped alluding to his profession might be instead emphasised.
As a larger story the role of Katrina needs to be downsized and it made obvious Jude is really just pining after a lost love – however dangerous it is returning to the hotel for a second rate substitute.
What is Second Chance about? It is based on an idea shared in a woman’s circle a few years ago, where souls reincarnate into lives, family circles etc until whatever is keeping them stuck in these patterns is resolved. In the case of Aurellia and Jude – they’ve been dancing the same dance for almost 2000 years. This time though the Universe has allowed one of them a sneak peak into what is going on and what they decide to do with that information has the potential to lead their souls to a resolution.
The idea came from a musical prompt I used to host and comes from a song of the same name by Liam Finn.
Well honestly I don’t remember who you are?”
In the original story she didn’t remember who he was – it was all a bit obscure. But since writing The Stamford it has all fallen into place – obviously why I wasn’t able to complete the story last year. It was the first time I had no idea how to end the story and the manuscript remained unfinished and my note book filled with a list of possible conclusions – none of them ringing true with the authenticity I needed to.
Last night I dreamt of my first boyfriend and of meeting up with him again. The dream took a bit of poetic license because I know what he does now, where he is – having been tracked down by him a few years ago after he collected a five year old email from me. Yes the Universe does work in strange ways. But getting back to the dream … it was a good exploration of what it may be like to discover an old love again, years after the fact. I have the emotional experience lingering on after the dream, as well as the rather odd and disturbing way it ended. But that’s a whole other blog post.
And that was another aspect of my writing which got the thumbs up from the women in my writing group. My ability to weave a narrative of somatic experience.
As always after writing group I’m charged with the motivation and passion to attack a story for a rewrite, which wanes within a few days as other more pressing writing assignments come up. It is a dimension of my writing I am trying to address – rather half heartedly at the moment – the second drafts, the final drafts and the prospect of submitting something for publication. My anthology of short stories stands partly finished even after I had an epiphany back in around February on how to approach it from a new direction. And I normally have Thursday set aside specificially for critiquing, editing and rewriting. Still, it is a little like going around in circles, and just writing first drafts and nothing beyond there, seems to be a bad habit which is harder break than I first thought … no wonder I have the theme of time after time at the very heart of his current piece project. Now to finish it.