If “The Story” is my writing end goal, why distract myself with so much? The rowing makes sense because it’s good to be healthy. Why not compress it down? Spend that time studying fiction? Read the classics? Take classes, write drafts, send them out for criticism, revise, and learn the craft? Well, the thing about John (left) and Trishna (right) is that they’re two shades of our reality spectrum, and their story references it all.
Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (worldbuilding)
Let’s take rowing.
I row because it helps my physical health and I enjoy it. I’ll occasionally think about how John might row with his arm or how Trishna might row with her limited mobility, especially when my body aches. I am lucky to have full body functionality. Some do not. I want to include how John will definitely exercise to prove that he can “lift up to 50 pounds” to get a job. Trishna will do similar. So, I write about the nuances of exercise.
How about sobriety?
John will have enough run-ins with inebriated people to determine his resolve. Trishna will choose the same path either through conversations with John or on her own. Not every character will. Trishna’s older sister Sam[mohini] used to smoke. Her friend Jane and her big boss still do. Her manager Linda is still gripping through the worst of it. Other as-of-yet unwritten characters will fight, fall, fail, recover, or lose. This topic is real for me, so it’s easy to write.
How about everything else?
By writing at the pace that I am, with a minimum burn rate of 500-publishable words per day, I keep writing. Doesn’t matter that I wrote 4500-words on the 24th. While that boosted my weekly average, it’s still a red mark if I don’t write 500-words. It’s tough! I’ve been itching to re-watch Tron: Legacy for two weeks now. Writing is more important than researching a Top 50 favorite movie.
How about the traditional path of an author?
I am finding the time to read and study literature more. I skipped reading to instead write this essay. I won’t get much sleep tonight. There may not be enough time to study tomorrow morning because I’ll need to write another 500-words before I can do much in the way of leisure. That includes following traditions, “learning from the masters,” and learning the rules of thinking inside the box. Because here’s the thing.
I don’t want “The Story” to be a normal thing.
I want it to encompass everything. Life, humanity, pain, pleasure, the benign pleasures of being alive, truthful agony, and everything in between. John and Trishna are just two characters in their universe. They’ve been my narrative focus since high school, sure, but the ease to which I’ve been telling Sammohini’s story is refreshing. Easier than John’s college friends Float and Quest or the adventurers that discover, colonize, or industrialize Eville. Their stories will happen.
My writing practice here, and my life practice abroad, better serve writing “The Story.”