The more I think over the thirty short stories I’ll write in thirty days, representing a thirty-day period in the Sammohini Arc of “The Story,” the more I think it’s simultaneously possible and impossible to accomplish. While I was in a float tank, thinking over my plans, my thoughts decluttered and revealed my plan. When I’ve done work like Sammohini, as a corporate computer repair technician goon, I juggled disparate work and small project duties.
I’m still not 100% on the details yet.
Before my hour-long float session, I had completed thirty-five “good enough” short story pitches, and when I came to a five-parter, the ideas just flowed out. That’s always a good sign in writing, and life in general, when you can just get into “the zone” and lose yourself in whatever it is you’re doing, whether it’s gaming, writing, or anything, really. When was in the tank, got over my physical self with its stiff back and cold muscles to enter my deeper mental self, I explored the inner details of the plot.
Here’s what came to mind.
On the first of the month, Sammohini is given a project that must be done by the end of the month. The project will involve in-sourcing a recently acquired clinical practice into the Eville Medical hospital network. She will work with a project manager and a clinical application analyst for the managerial side of the work. She is assigned roughly 25% of her week to the project, can borrow her co-worker Hank for up to 10% – mainly for planning and for his truck – and has her other co-worker Venkat as a backup.
This was common when I’ve done this sort of work.
I think how I’ll approach this is to write a two-parter introduction and then sprinkle the rest of the story throughout other stories. Sammohini might be at her desk reading a project email or reviewing a spreadsheet with what items are on each computer in the clinic when she’s interrupted by a high-priority issue to address. These sorts of distractions were common in my time.
This will prove to be a challenge.
With essays, I can crank them out because there’s little to no imagination involved. All I’ll do is just dump out my thoughts. Even thinking through these ideas about the start of the story and how that all will tie together in a larger whole took more time for me to write, but I think writing as much as I have over the years about my opinions and insecurities has helped me become more forthright with myself. My final thoughts before I included my float tank session was one thought:
Don’t second-guess yourself.
I’ll have J.D. editing what I wrote, others might jump in to read a story or two, and if I get any time, then I can go back toward the end of the month to approve those edits and I’ll have everything publically viewable and commentable, so I can crowd-source my final drafts. As far as laying down the foundations, though, I have to go with what felt right as I wrote because I have little room for error. I can’t polish my first few hundred words for a few days. I have to trust that what I wrote was effective enough. There is no perfection so I don’t have to worry about that.
I’ve just gotta get it in, then I can go through and clean it up.
Just like that project, where this will be her first big IT project but will have help from Hank, her team’s primary project tech, and Venkat, I’ll have to rise to the occasion and do my best on this writing project, where it will be my first big project but I have the aforementioned help. As I explored the stories, the world unfurled. Eville Medical became more realized. I would prefer to know the full world before I build out the hospital, but it works out well enough. I have a cool idea that might be a bit contrived for the hospital’s layout. With the summaries and settings, I started to focus on the characters – six main characters in total, with all the other minor characters that might appear throughout.
Now the most difficult part: What’s the purpose?
For Sammohini, the purpose of her being assigned to the project is to get it done. The hospital won a contract, they acquired a clinic, and they want to get that new clinic up and running quickly with as minimal impact to patient care as possible. She might, through the project, develop certain areas of self-assuredness and confidence to take charge, or even through some of the smaller work she has to do. It’s a difficult line of work. You have to stand your ground against many stressors, from angry customers to short deadlines, and it’s draining yet rewarding work.
I have the conclusion in mind, now.
I can carve out vestiges of the world in the back of my imagination. The more I plan it out, the more real it gets, to the point where maybe not on this go around but in the future, it should just be a matter of channeling out the ideas like I do when I write essays. The benefit of this “2019 Novel” is that it will be an inconsequential element of “The Story.” John and Trishna might not even make an appearance, or if they do, it will be innocuous enough to not impact their story.
These thoughts did make me realize one thing.
I will need to plan out Sammohini’s life story much more before I begin. I know she will be roughly in her early- to mid-20s, but what else? She won’t be married, won’t have her kid yet, and will probably live somewhere nearby. Other than that, how often she’s at work, goes home, and all that are all things I still need to consider. Or not. Sometimes, those ideas just declutter themselves.
I’ll need more float tank sessions…
|Sources: My professional and personal experiences, along with my first float tank session in months. Shout-out to Float Seattle; I’ve been going there since July 2015. Might as well rep them.|
|Inspirations: It’s interesting how all of these essays I’m writing are showing my building processes, and after completing my first story pitches, while reviewing them, I realized it all comes down to what’s easiest? It’s easier to write one larger story, but then, the question becomes – what will its purpose be? Will Sammohini grow as a person after completing the project? Will she want to give up?|
|Related: Other 2019 Novel writings.|
|Picture: This picture is a frame, too, because when you see it you know it’s part of the theme.|
|Written On: October 28th, 2019 [41 minutes, from 10:50am to a two-minute break at 10:07am to put my laundry in the dryer and then until 10:33am, WordPress]|
|Last Edited: October 28th, 2019 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|