June 13, 2019 in Dag

I want to write something big and messy

I’ve mentioned before in this blog how I’m a bit of a control freak. I’ve discussed how, in most aspects of my life, I like to be the one in charge. I like to stay in control and I don’t like leaving things to chance.

This applies to my writing as much as anything else I do. It’s important for me to stay in control of my narrative. I keep tabs on exactly where the plot is heading, and exactly what all of the characters are up to. I can’t allow any loose ends, or leave any plot point hanging. I have to be in control of it all. If I have to choose between neat and messy, I pick neat every time.

Except – this is posing a bit of a problem for my current novel-in-progress. You remember the one – the fantasy/comedy/romance/adventure/satire (and whatever other genres I can manage to squeeze in). I know, I haven’t posted much about it lately as I’ve been focussed on other things. But even while it’s been on hiatus, it’s still sitting in the back of my mind – and many recent events have made me feel even more compelled to keep going on it. I will definitely get back to it sometime later this year.

The thing is, as you can probably tell by the range of genres quoted above, it’s a pretty big story. Much bigger than any I’ve attempted before. That’s okay. What’s the point of being a writer if you’re not prepared to challenge yourself?

But one big issue it does raise for me is, being such a big story, there are an awful lot of story elements I need to keep control over. How can I possibly manage to exert my usual (high) level of control over such a big and ungainly story?

Simple answer – I’m not sure that I can. And, bizarre as this sounds, I’m not sure I want to. I’m starting to resign myself to the fact that no matter how hard I try, this story is always going to be big and messy. And I’m even starting to think that maybe this isn’t such a bad thing. I’m actually considering the beauty and the joy of a story that’s big and messy. A story that confounds expectations and goes off in directions nobody could anticipate. A story that breaks the rules of writing, left, right, and centre.

I suspect that it’s not really going to change me. In most areas of life, I’ll remain a control freak. But just this once, I’m going to confound my own expectations by aiming to create something big and messy.

Solution from last week

Recall that last week, I posted a short cryptic clue:

Beginning well, then tire unusually is what I do.

If you haven’t figured it out, here’s the solution.

Recall that any cryptic clue is actually two clues merged together – the trick is to split them apart:

– Clue 1: Beginning well, then tire unusually

– Clue 2: is what I do

So let’s look at clue 1.

– Beginning well means we select the letter at the start of the word ‘well’ – w

– tire unusually means we take the letters from the word ‘tire’ and rearrange them – to get rite

– now we join the two together – w + rite = write

Now we can compare this to the second clue. What do I do? I write.

So there we have it. The answer to the clue is ‘write’.

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