Blog No. 98
Sometime, in the early part of the year, Christian had an interesting idea. It’s not strange for that to happen, most writers are writers because of interesting ideas, but this one wasn’t a story. It was technically a story, but it was also more. Since we, at Adventure Worlds, post our stories on Mondays, and some months end up with five Mondays, Christian thought that we should do something special on those odd months. He decided to start a story, but leave it for another one of us to continue, and so on. He even started the thing off with the event happening on a fifth Monday (which is what I call dedication). The reigns were handed over to Alanna, who took it in a totally different direction, then passed it on to me.
I had some really big ideas building after reading Christian’s first part. I knew where I wanted to take the character and ramp things up. I knew what obstacles I was going to throw in his way. But I had a problem. While reading Christian’s first part was exciting, I wasn’t going second. I was going third, after a totally different person who isn’t me. All my plans were useless, and I knew it. Alanna had her own ideas and took the story over there, leaving me to abandon my initial thoughts and find all knew ones at the end of her story. It’s exactly what we had planned. Each person would take the story to a place where they thought it should go and leave it there for the next person to go pick it up and take it somewhere else. Without getting into the details too deeply (you should go over to Adventure Worlds and read all the parts yourself) the main character in Christian’s story was relegated to a secondary character in Alanna’s, and he was dropped, out cold, into the ether for me to find.
I did though. In the months between part two and three, I came up with plans, and schemes, and capers. I wanted to put aside the work I had in front of me, several times, to start that next part. I mulled over ideas and concepts, trying to bring something big, or special, to my continuation. Knowing that Justin was next, I wanted to drop a stick of dynamite in his lap and blow the who story wide open. Crazy was just the start of what I had in mind. I knew the story so far, the date it was going to be posted, and what my objective was (requested of myself). Early September I sat down with my thoughts and the previous entries fresh in my head and I wrote the craziest, most jam-packed, minefield laden, eleven-hundred word story I could. Then I lost the whole thing on the last couple of sentences.
It was gone. I looked over to Christian (who was there at the time) and cursed. My arms flung around wildly, expletives flew from my pursed lips, my head dropped to the table. I felt defeated. I walked away for a week, picked myself up, and redid it all, obtusely aware that it was nowhere near as good as the one I lost. Still, I pushed through and managed to add in a fair amount of crazy, subtle (and not so subtle) references to not yet written things, and a reasonable degree of sass. I picked up our fallen protagonist and dropped him off in the most challenging, creepy, and wacky situation I could manage. I turned the knob to eleven and pushed the poor kid through the gauntlet, comfortable in the knowledge that I was ruining all of Justin’s plans.
My main goal in writing part three was to ramp up the insanity and leave some solid threads for Justin to pick up or ignore, as he pleases. I think I managed that. I know that I had plans once I read Christian’s first part, and I know that Christian has plans after reading mine. I assume Justin felt the same after reading Alanna’s part. I don’t think you can help but plan, no matter how pointless it is. But that’s part of what makes this kind of story (slash experiment) interesting. Things change at the whim of the person in control. All you can do is wait your turn, then pick up the baton and run with it. I can’t wait to see what Justin does with it, and where it goes from there – but I have a lot of wasted planning before it’s my turn again.
2 thoughts on “Behind the Writing: The Fifth Monday – Part Three”
I remember that fateful day well. I thought I was going to have to bring up suicide intervention tactics on my computer. knowing what you had written and what ended up being written though, I think you did an admirable job of recapturing the lightning.
It wasn’t the most fun I’ve had writing, but once I had some time away from it, I managed to get some perspective. I’m glad I managed to bring some of the initial luster back, but I’ll forever wonder – what if?