While I was in the MRI lobby, waiting for the scans to see what’s been going so wrong with my lower back, my mind went to “The Story.” I prefer thinking about my ambitious long-form narrative project to pessimism or other wastes of time because it’s often more productive. I first thought about something specific to my Minecraft building series for Novel 02, then perhaps a scene or concept I could later use for “The Story.”
There’s a scene somewhere in “The Story,” perhaps later on in the novel series I’ll write once I have the writing skill – by practicing writing other novels like Novel 02, along with the time and pain-free energy – where John and Trishna are watching a movie. This scene might analogize my life. Partway through the movie, Trishna needs to take a break, and because she’s in pain, they stop watching the movie early to go to bed.
Spoilers?: Minor [scene provides information]
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How will “The Story” progress in 2021? My health is the major variable that will tell whether or not I’ll make significant progress toward writing “Novel 02” to then build up the writing practice to write “The Story.” If my health continues to decline as it has, then 2021 will be another year where I work in the background toward writing “The Story.” That’s fine. But if my health improves, 2021 is where I’ll make more outward, substantial progress.
From one perspective, I’ve made plenty of progress in planning out “The Story,” but that’s only planning that I can’t convey meaningfully. There’s no novel to show, no design documents, and nothing besides these essays. The progress I’ve made has been generally in regards to being able to think about the characters in “The Story” clearer and quicker, where they are less of random stories about random characters than they were at the beginning of 2020.
Over the past few days, I’ve dealt with two major spinal issues. The first was standing up after sitting for less than 30 minutes. The second was standing at my coffee machine with no bad posture or further provocation. The first was enough to send me lying down on my bed; the day wasted. As much as I hate to think of inflicting that on anyone, in “The Story,” Trishna probably experiences some of those hardships.
In “Shopping With Characters,” I focused my fiction-writing meandries on how storytelling is more organic than mechanical. Inspiration can happen anywhere; you must first prime your mind to receive the inspiration. Since “The Story” is partially a commentary on contemporary life, it’s easy for me to, say, go to a restaurant and think about how characters might act or react. Let’s take an upcoming scene from the side story Novel 02 as an example of this.
Spoilers?: Major [Overview of Novel 02]
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Over my years of writing these essays about “The Story,” essays, and even Novel 01, I’ve realized that there is a difference between looking for writing inspiration and being “in it.” When interviewers ask writers about where they get their inspiration, they mean well, but they’re not asking the question well. It’s not like we sit alone in a dark room and these ideas appear… Maybe sometimes… It’s more likely we’ll go shopping with our characters.
Spoilers?: Minor [grocery shopping brainstorming]
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One aspect of the relationship dynamic I know for sure between John and Trishna, the main characters of “The Story,” is that they both have patience for the other. That may not sound like much, but I think it’s a fundamental component to relationships of any sort. You’re patient with me as I write meandries. I try to be as patient as I can with others. Within a relationship, especially, there are gives and takes.
Spoilers?: Minor [a conflict-free relationship?]
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Part of the challenge of writing fiction outside of one’s comfort zone is that there are areas that I can’t easily verify. One of the two main characters of “The Story,” Trishna, uses a wheelchair. I don’t yet have anyone I can ask to make sure my brainstorming ideas aren’t problematic, but for something like naming a wheelchair, it seems like some people don’t and some people do, so something like that shouldn’t be problematic.
Spoilers?: Minor [name of wheelchair]
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In “Them Playing Together,” I wrote about how a local videogame store inspired elements of “The Story” ranging from seemingly-insignificant geography to insignificantly-significant daily hobbies. It might be boring to cover many years in the lives of John and Trishna, especially if a majority of their recreational time might be spent playing videogames or reading, but it’s worthwhile to know their favorite hobbies. How much time do they spend doing hobbies apart from each other?