Draining the swamp

I’ve waded through the soggy marshland of pretty words from times past to copy, paste and delete another 1000 or so. The word count is nearing 3000 words that are keepers for the first draft of chapter five with the backlog that I’m squelching through whittled down to 12500 words. At times I’m overwhelmed by the excess that I’ve written over the years and the task that this has created in the present. Words have bogged me down and I’m swamped, but enough with that metaphor…

As I work through the characters are transforming from who I thought they were with revealing glimpses at who they may become as the story unfolds. I’ve found heartache and hidden motivations; I’ve stumbled into broken dreams and disillusions; it’s been very revealing. The words that I’d originally crafted into fragments of narrative came together to reveal a different story that has left me curious about my characters. They are a fragile bunch who are all wrapped up in their own perceptions, wanting to be heard, wanting to be loved, wanting to be happy.

Even though the setting touches on fantasy I can’t make it so fantastical that they can all have their needs met so heartache will prevail for most, perhaps for all – if so, that will almost make it a biography.

The largest parts that I have been cutting are bravado, that is the writing about the character’s public faces and acts towards others. Removing the outside perspective is bringing me closer to my characters where I can better observe them. The parts that I’ve kept show the soft underbelly of the characters, who they are and how they came to be the way that they are. Motivation is key after all, well for me anyway, I need to understand why people do the things that they do to best capture the small things that mean so much.

My intention of writing this story was to show one person’s story but I find that I cannot write about one person without including the stories of all involved. To write it any other way would to be to surround my protagonist with two dimensional characters who would ultimately belittle the protagonist’s struggle; all people struggle in life.

Previously I had worried about creating the right setting and authentically capturing the landscape but increasingly I’m coming to realise that the story itself is the landscape and that the characters create the setting.

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