Milking a picture for more than a thousand words

It’s stupid how many different directions your mind goes running in after seeing something cool.

Late into the process of writing a first draft I had an idea that my main character would be interested in/drawn to abandoned places in her city. I put the idea on the back burner because as my original outline went there wasn’t much room for it. But here I am going through a finished draft and working on revisions at a snail’s pace. The more I look at what I have the more it feels like an expanded outline with plenty of room for all the ideas I thought of too late the first time around. Thankfully my main character’s city is my city, so I went looking for some hidden, urban ruins. And I found one. And it was terrifying.

From anything I read online this was supposed to be sealed, so when I turned the corner of the concrete wall that ran down a steep, bramble covered slope I almost had a heart attack. I’m not too courageous. I honestly expected some deranged hobgoblin to come screaming out of that small opening waving a couple of rusty daggers over head while he pooped his pants and made a run at me. Thankfully he didn’t, but one probably will in the book. (No it won’t).

Over the forty-five minutes I was there I got more and more comfortable. Not comfortable enough to go in (I was alone and had no light and that shit was death dark) but comfortable enough to snap some photos and sneak around the grounds, which were very wet and very cool. I’d like to go back with a small group of people to pop our heads in and take some interior photos but in the mean time it’s more than jump started my slow moving–when its moving at all–revision process. Characters and situations I’ve only ever give half-thoughts to at best started to come to life here. The trick will be making room for them.

One of the toughest hurdles, I’ve found, is parting with words that I’ve already written. I sit down and look at the fat stack of paper that is my first draft and hate myself for even thinking of getting rid of large parts of it. I slaved over it for months, how can I justify destroying thousands of words and weeks worth of progress after a few hours or at most days of thinking of something I’d rather do. The trick is talking myself into believing that its okay to do that. None of it was a waste of time. Committing mediocre ideas to paper and then scrapping them for something better isn’t a bad thing. It’s progress.

I’m very excited about Tunnel Town. It’s not one of Providence’s more well known neighborhoods, but it’s got some cool shit going on. Visitors beware.

Also: tentative title for the new book is Lady Jackalope.

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2 responses to “Milking a picture for more than a thousand words

  1. Staring @ a particular picture to help inspire a mood or scene in a stroy is just something i have discovered & seems to be working well. Nice to know I’m not the only one that utilizes this!

  2. Where is this scary shite??? Holy cow, I’d pee myself.

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