So in my quest to leave the Land of Exposition and its delightful distractions (and myriad of possible paths), I decided to get back to basics, go back to before – before the subplots, the plot twists, and other interesting yet distracting… well distractions to the narrative structure of the individual novels, to each quasi-standalone series and the series saga as a whole. To that end, I went back to the beginning – back to the (handwritten) short stories written half a lifetime ago (including the short story that sparked the one-act play adaptation and unfinished novel), to find inspiration, to gauge how/if my writing style has changed over the years, and to transcribe a copy for my (electronic) archives, as a good amount of my writings, musings and other literary attempts are in notebooks (large, medium and small), slightly yellowed lined loose leaf paper , legal pads and other scraps of paper, all (well mostly) date stamped (and some notes time stamped), which is convenient in figuring out the sequence (and possibly pinpointing what I might have been thinking about/obsessed with at the time of writing).
What I found were interesting albeit strange stories with questionable structure but potential for expansion, as well as a fascinating snapshot of my writing psyche. It also got me thinking (again) about sequence of events and the overall narrative structure – while I’ve spent (too much?) time pondering, tinkering and musing about my characters, their personal exposition and how/if it impacts the story arc, I’ve done very little actual writing of said narrative. While staring at the very beginning might be a very good place to start, I’ve spent (more) time pondering on the (apparent) validity of that philosophy and wondering where/when the “start” of my series saga really is (or should be).
The place at which I decided to start the series saga was originally the prequel section (I think) of the main story, which has become the middle portion of the saga, while the third part was (very) loosely sketched out. In thinking things over and adhering to my quest to return to keeping things simple, the question of whether to continue to struggle with figuring out the beginning (and the exposition associated with the beginning, hence going further back in time) or to start in the middle (which has a quasi foundation) and work with the semi-formed exposition that is the prequel.
Or, in simpler terms whether to start at the beginning and move forward, or to start at the middle (or near the end) and move backwards.
Either way would/could be beneficial to the narrative arc as a whole, and in all my pondering to figure out the actual sequence of events (thus delaying my departure from the Land of Exposition), a bit of clarity has come forth in my adherence to the “back to basics” thing I proposed/declared. Throughout my literary journey, creating characters, sketching out scenes and pondering through plots, a (literal) handful of names have remained relevant throughout all the changes, expansions and other configurations over the years. While the general character makeup for each of the five names has undergone changes (some major, other minor), the name structure and gender designation have (remarkably) remained the same, even though they had been separated between series. In the aforementioned effort to go back to before, bringing this band of characters back together and returning them to the original series in which they had resided has tipped my (internal) literary scale to focus on the latter rather than the former – in short, to apply the George Lucas method and start with the middle series then focus on the prequel series (and then work on the third part of the series saga).
Or I could work on a linear plane, from start to finish, but then again, time isn’t strictly a strict progression of cause to effect, it’s well, you know…
It’s gotten chilly again, despite the few days of (relatively) mild weather – all this oscillation is compelling me to extend my (virtual) stay at the Character Development Inn, visiting the Plot Structure Tea Room in the Land of Exposition.
One of these days I’ll get around to writing the meta story series about my muses and this writing process.
Until then, TTFN! (and Beware the Ides of March, because, well, you know…)