So, I’ve had a few hours to unwind now and reflect on my day’s writing. Upon reflection I learned a few things. They are as follows
- I am not happy with the day’s story, but
- That’s okay because I still did what I set out to do by getting something down on paper and
- I think I’ve hit upon what I did wrong and will hopefully learn from it
So, let me explain. I’m not happy with my story today for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I see a lot of the usual problems with my work in it. I spend too much time focusing on certain things, not enough on others. The big example today is right at the end when I start to go into the “history” of moon colonization. It’s….interesting, at least to me, to think that corporations might drive space colonization and would turn the moon into a big tourist trap as a means of recouping their investment, and I think that’s why I latched onto the idea. The problem is that A) I realize that the idea is not original and B) It isn’t what I started out trying to write.
The initial idea for the story was that two grandchildren, heirs to a fabulous fortune, are taking a trip to the moon to deposit the ashes of their recently departed grandfather in the traditional family plot in the moon’s first mausoleum. I doing so they secure the inheritance left them by their grandfather and also stay within their own father’s good graces, securing that inheritance as well. It was actually the idea of these ashes being interred on the moon that first sparked my creative desire to tell this story. I had these visions of what might be our next stage of space exploration, where individual humans become so wealthy and powerful that they go to further and further lengths to secure their legacy, and what better way to be remembered than to fun your own manned mission to the Moon and have a monument raised in your honor, like some kind of space age pharaoh complex? But, like Ozymandias himself (uhhh, that’s THIS Ozymandias, not THIS one), their efforts to be remembered are eventually lost to time. All of that would be a backdrop to the conflicts of the two grandchildren, the indolent grandson who is so afraid of the finality of his own life that he lives in a state of constant mid-life-crisis….ness, and the granddaughter who is so desperate to prove that she’s just as worthy as the last male heir of a ancient patriarchy that she sacrifices her own life to become a carbon copy of her father.
And I failed. But that’s okay.
It’s a minor failure. A failure that had to happen. Remember that scene in the movie “National Treasure”? The one where Nick Cage gives that little inspirational quip about Thomas Edison to Justin Bartha? Well, today I guess you could say I didn’t fail. I just found one way not to tell the story I wanted to.
So, what have I learned? Well, I learned that the history of moon colonization isn’t quite as compelling as I thought it would be, and that less is more when it comes to telling it. I should give the reader enough information that he or she can fill in the gaps, and maybe even imagine things greater than I could. And I think I’ve learned that what I need to focus on first is the characters and then worry about going back in with the “sci-fi” stuff later. I spent a lot of time researching moon domes today, I’ll tell you that. Which is fine, and will be necessary at some point but not what I’m trying to achieve with this writing challenge.
I will not be continuing this story tomorrow. I’m going to let it sit for a while. I will, however, be revisiting it during the second or third week of the challenge when I will devote a day to doing a “second draft exercise”. I’m sure there’s an actual name for what I intend, but basically I’m going to take the story I just wrote, and then completely redo it without looking at the original, hopefully the ideas that were only passing fancies will fall away, and the real meat of the story, and maybe a few potatoes, will be what I have left.
Anyway, that’s my daily reflection. Let me know if you agree. Thanks for reading, see you tomorrow.