Saturday, April 16, 2011

Finding "The End"

Scott D. Parker

I did something this week that I have not done in a long time: I wrote "The End" on a story.

Long-time readers might remember me discussing my feeble explanations to my extended family last Thanksgiving when I had to explain "what was I working on". The year 2010 was not a good year for me writing-wise, and I have been working hard to turn that around in 2011. One of the things that has been hanging over my head is a collaboration I'm working on with another writer.

Let me clarify "Hanging over my head." I have thoroughly enjoyed this project and I've learned something about my character (literary as well as myself) that I didn't know. It's just that when it came time to write, the words didn't flow as freely as I would have liked. Or expected, to be honest. I had this grand vision of myself blazing away through multiple stories at a time, maintaining a high word count/day, and just being this prolific machine. Some of my own past personal success has inadvertently led to a part of my writing brain to think that this is easy work. It isn't, a point made all to clear to me throughout my lengthy and unprofessional struggle to "get it right the first time."

My part of the project had gone so long that I had forgotten my original ideas. You see, I'm a note taker and a planner when it comes to stories. So, naturally, I thought I'd wing it with this one. Wrong choice. I should have blocked out my scenes and then I would have made more steady progress instead of the fits and starts I ended up doing.

It's also taught me some personal lessons. Among them is this obvious little nugget: Do not let rejections get under my skin. It's a natural course of this profession to be rejected. Everyone gets rejected. Get over it.

Through all of my self-imposed struggles, my writing partner stuck by me. I'm thankful for his patience and his faith in the project. And getting to "The End"--something our own Joelle Charbonneau recently reached as well--is a thrill. To be honest, I had forgotten the feeling. We writers are a curious bunch. The mere act of writing two special words can send us to cloud nine. Weird that.

But it also supercharges us, or, at least, me. Finally getting past that sisyphian hurdle was a marvel. It was the little thing that made me remember why I write in the first place.

Joy. Joy at at story told well (to me). Joy at reaching the end. Ain't nothing like it in the world. It has made me already start another tale because I don't want to go too long without experiencing "The End" again.

Song of the Week: John Renbourn's "Palermo Snow." Never heard of him until NPR put up this song on Thursday. He's a guitarist from the early 1960s, says the write-up of this tune. He is new to me, but I've listened to this song at least 10 times since I first heard it. That he pairs his finger-picking guitar with a clarinet makes me even more curious to discover more of his music.


Joelle Charbonneau said...

Congrats on hitting THE END! I love that feeling. Of course, now I am revising and then will have to start a new book. That is always the scary part for me! I'm so glad you hit that milestone. Celebrate!!! (I'm bad at celebrating those victories and encourage others to succeed where I fail!)

David Cranmer said...

Congrats, Scott. And as one who has read of which you speak, I can only add you owe yourself a glass of bubbly to celebrate. Kinda like James Caan with that cigarette in MISERY.