A Rather Pleasant Unpleasantness

Say whuh? That don’ make no kinda sense!

I refer to a particular passage in my novella, HorrorCon, where my main character, Eliza (played in this blog entry by the extremely talented Emily Perkins), recounts the horrifying attack that left her with many holes in her life – more than she’s willing to live with. Writing it brought up some dormant awfulness within that I couldn’t really itemize in any concrete way, even though it still feels very real. I suppose I write, like most writers, by plucking from the ether of our collective experiences. I’ve never to my knowledge penned anything autobiographical, but bits and pieces of me end up in there that I recognize. The bulk of my narratives come from my response to the issues and themes that are probably floating about my personal universe and leaking into the cracks of my everyday life. I’ve never been really good at pushing things away and traipsing blithely along while “stuff” happened to other folks. Whether it’s because I’m overly curious or I feel the need to work these things out, laying out Eliza’s horrific episode helped me deal with…something. It was as if I hadn’t created her in my imagination, but that I was watching a real life unfold and reporting it so that it wouldn’t be forgotten. Perhaps that was it; I was both holding her hand and creating her horror. It’s a weird business, this writing nonsense. The thing I didn’t realize was how impossible it would be to stop once I got started.

So that’s my excuse as to why I’m not finished the story yet: I can’t stop! No, that’s not really it. Simply put, the story is telling me where to go and what it needs. I’ve set things in motion, and now I can’t bully proceedings for fear of having my characters fix me for good. You can’t cut them off if they’ve got something else to say any more than you can put them up a tree if they don’t want to be there. They make demands of me, and I must accept my station as their loyal servant – even if I do get to bring the pain. But trust me, whatever I do to them will have definite repercussions. I’m no more alone in this than Eliza. In a way we’re sharing this, and as I put her in the darkest of peril, she makes me feel it, too. I’m sorry, Eliza. And I’m not.

I finished my five today (I’m averaging a page an hour) and realized I’m coming to the end of ACT II, part one, which means it’s not working out how I originally planned. When I started, I thought it would be nice and clean and easy to grasp if I made the acts all correlate to the three different days of the convention: Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I would make each day hold equal weight in page count, and the power of three would make it a taut and balanced story.

BUZZZZ. Wrong answer.

Had I bothered to look a little more closely, I would have realized that I’m actually dealing with Friday night, Saturday day and night, and Sunday day. So just by looking at that you can tell that I’ve got a fat second act as I’ve got to cover more time. And that’s fine, but damn I look a little silly to myself. There was a moment when I thought I was done, and Sunday was about two pages long. I still have that version, and it works, but not if I’m going to adapt it into an American film. So I tucked it away and kept going, cause I want people to actually see this some day.

By my calculations, based on what I know today, I’m halfway done at 72 pages. But something tells me that’s going to change. Surely, Eliza will let me know, as I continue to put her through hell and record it for posterity. In a way, I’m like the doctor/author in the story. I’ve been awakened to a responsibility that may or may not mean the end of me, but I’m inextricably drawn to seeing it out as there are things I need to learn. Cool. I can’t wait to see if I make it.

Madness. Fantastic madness.

About S. Norton

Writer, marketer, musician.
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