The Accident (19/11)

(this was set to Draft last night, apologies!)

A friend and I used to have a running gag, a callback we’d make when we were bored, wanting to change topic, or just be silly. We’d purposely go dark, and say something like “I haven’t seen him, not since…The Accident.” Occasionally this would raise alarms, or pique curiosity. “Oh?” They’d say, “What happened?” “Oh we don’t talk about that…not since The Accident.” It’s circular and silly, but effective for putting off answers.

One of the very first devices in my story is a letter. It is a hand-written, hand-addressed piece of communication, completely unremarkable except that it is sent to a name at an address that isn’t a person or an organisation that actually exists. Spooky, huh? Without giving anything away, the letter kickstarts the investigation at Port Amble. But when I got to the point that I needed it, I found that I knew what role it was going to play, and how it would fit in, but I couldn’t find the right voice for it.

So I didn’t write it.

Instead I left a placeholder that reads , and wrote up another card (Yay!), because if I couldn’t write the prose itself, I could at least record its formula and all its important details. At this point I knew how this letter would fit, and knew everything that the letter would play into – the benefit of fore-planning, right? With all of these details sorted out, I carried on with my writing.

The story has evolved, and the second major plot progression involving the letter has come about, and to be honest, writing that section has been like walking through knee-deep mud. By planning the letter, knowing its contents and role, but not its language and phrasing, what made my job easier in the first instance has simply made this step equivalent to running blind. I am struggling with making the scene work, because the characters are referring to something well-understood, by them and myself, but its non-existent.

Having a running joke like The Accident can be amusing, and allows for backstory (if needed), but don’t do this with an active plot point, it’s dumb.

End of Day Word Count: 26,425. (Highest word count I’ve ever written, well…since The Accident.)

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~ by nick on November 20, 2013.

2 Responses to “The Accident (19/11)”

  1. I thought we weren’t supposed to talk about the accident?

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