Sunday, October 24, 2010

Entering Imagination Land

So. I'm apparently not done blogging for the night, as I'm still in the mood to write. Read it or not, but here's some more food for thought. In talking over why I have such trouble writing, I've come to the more concrete notion that when I was young and my teachers talked about what a gifted writer I was, they were absolutely wrong.

I'm not going to be falsely modest - this is a blog, not a job interview. I have a great talent, and I was quite gifted when I was young. Just not at writing. My gift is my creativity, my ability to come up with fascinating worlds and stories instantly, and to immerse myself within them and discover them to possess more depth than I'd ever thought possible. As C.S. Lewis put it memorably in "The Last Battle," to find the true world, one must go "further up and further in." I can, and do.

However, as an actual writer, I'm really only average. No head for lovely descriptions (although I have a keen admiration of them), nor any particular talent with putting the right word in the right place at the right time. The best you could say is that I rarely ever have to double-check a paper or a post. I'm a grammar and spelling fiend, and I have a reasonably large vocabulary, if not an eloquent one.

Still, it is something, and I'm about to introduce you to more. What you're about to hear is not anything I've told anyone in my family or circle of friends. What I'm going to divulge, in bits and parts, are details of my creative castoffs over the years, the ideas in a 62 page file called "The Big Index" that are highlighted in green and blue.

"The Big Index" is a list of every story idea I've ever had, and where to find notes on them. My story files, scattered across two computers, three large notebooks, and a backup drive, have quirky titles such as "Bizarre Bazaar of Words," "Alpha Files," and "Middle School Mix." Files don't match titles, nor are all story details always contained in a single file. They're disorganized, and more often than not, make sense to no one but me (if they make sense at all). But having the list to help me sort through them keeps me sane.

Green in that list signifies stories I've grown out of, ones that I've decided are just too silly or juvenile to bother writing. Often, if the plot is good, it evolves and finds its way into another, more mature story. Good characters migrate to more defined universes. Blue indicates that a story is good, but fan-fiction. For instance, if I think up a sequel to a story that ended unhappily in my mind, it makes me feel better and it might be good, but it's still illegal to sell it. So it sits on the shelf, lonely and untouchable.

To begin - directly before I end this ridiculously long post, I'll start with the last section of my list: Musicals.

The Basic Facts: I have written ideas for 36 musicals. I've written outlines for 10, and 2 of them are complete, with lyrics, script and all. I wrote one in 6th grade, and it is absolutely horrible. I never know whether to cringe or laugh looking at it. The other, called "Summer Romance," was written at sleep-away camp, and is a sappy, ridiculous, musical romance novel, wherein four girls and their counselor fall in love with the four boys and counselor of a neighboring bunk. I showed it to the theater counselor. After that, I haven't shown it to anyone else, nor do I think I ever will again. There's only so much humiliation a person can take.

There are three musical ideas that I might actually write someday, and you're not getting the details of those. They're based on myths and fairy tales I love, in particular, "Eros and Psyche," "Pomona and Vertumnus (look it up, it's sweet!)," and "King Thrushbeard (the most under-used good Grimm's fairy tale)."

But maybe in another post I'll tell you some more about the rejects. There are some spectacular ones. Fun, isn't it, watching the writer crash and burn? Meet me back at Pyrakanthe's Place in a little bit, and maybe you can hear about my two separate ideas for a Phantom of the Opera spin-off and sequel. I promise, you they can't be worse than what's playing in London right now. :)

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