Recently I finished reading Joe Hill’s newest book The Fireman (I’m pretty sure I’ve swooned over it here a bit) and one of those fantastic things happened. One of those things that when it strikes you feel it in your core, kind of like a lightning bolt coursing through the center of your insides. Inspiration.
For starters I fell in love with that book on the instant and always felt the need to read it. I read a lot a books over the course of the year and there are always three to four that just grab me, The Fireman was definitely one of those books. Immediately I felt drawn in to Harper (which is a name I love), she was so believable and honest. I’m sure some of you are asking yourself how a fictional character can be honest, but the fact is Harper was. She stayed true the entire story and way both believable and prominent. I’ve read most of Joe Hill’s work (outside of his short story collection) and I have to say he has a knack for writing strong, badass, female characters. In any type of pop culture the key to my heart is the characters. If you can supply me with a group of people that I can care about, and feel the need to spend time with, then I’m yours. You’ve got me. This is part of the reason why stories like Lost, The Dark Tower, Paper Towns, Breaking Bad, and Game of Thrones have such a hold on me. I legitimately feel for these characters and want to see what’s going to happen to them next, and gods forbid if anything terrible happens to them. I seriously am a believer that it’s acceptable to call into work asking for a day off because of the emotional damage a work of fiction has done to you. If you’re so immersed in a story and it’s characters it would only make sense for their fates to have severe emotional impacts.
I like to write fiction, have even self published a story to Amazon which might be the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and lately have not had a lot of time for it. Which is only half the truth. I started writing this time travel story a year ago and was probably having the best string of consistent fiction writing I had ever had. It was such a high going back to the story each and every night and watching as the pages piled up and the story progressed in a natural manner. It was beautiful and then came to such a fierce stop that can only be described like getting hit with the blue shell in Mario Kart. One minute you’re cruising, kicking ass, and taking names. The next thing you know you’re flying in the air as a stocky Italian plumber drives past you screaming “itsa me Mario”. Sucks.
As I was writing this story I started to believe that I could be working on my first novel or at the very least a novella. I had little doubt that I would be able to find more than a hundred pages within this story and that was exciting. I had never written anything that long before and was excited by the prospect. I even had this other time travel story I had written that I thought I could make fit into this story. My wheels were spinning and there was a lot of excitement, and then there wasn’t. The connecting of the two stories didn’t go as well as I planned. As a matter of fact it didn’t go at all.
Instead of trying to figure something else out I kept trying to shoe horn this older story into this newer narrative and it was like banging my head against a wall for fun. Eventually it starts to hurt and you walk away, which is what I did. I left fifty pages, of some of my best story telling, sitting on a hard drive collecting figurative dust. It’s shouldn’t be actual dust otherwise you’re computer isn’t going to work. Have to take care of your tech people.
Then enter this week and the finishing of The Fireman. As I got to the last page I saw that Joe Hill listed the amount of time it took him to complete writing his book, and those trickles of inspiration started to climb up my spine. Four years. It took him four years to create this fantastic story and I started feeling optimistic. You see Geeklings, I get discouraged when I stop writing a story, and walk away from it. I’m very hard on myself and in some ways it seems like giving up. I know I’m not really giving up because I think of the story often, but there’s this sense of failure to it. Seeing that it took Joe Hill four years gave me hope. I don’t have to answer to a publisher. I write for me and to eventually self publish. It’s something I love doing. Who’s to say that I need to finish in a certain time frame? Labors of love can take many years to come together. My first published short was very similar. It took longer to write that than it should have, but life happened, and life happening helped make that a better work.
Suddenly my story was back in my thinking, granted in the background, but I was quietly coming up with ways I could get back into it. There’s a bigger story there and I want to see it unfold. I love these characters and they deserve to reach the finish line, and then on Friday I figured the whole thing out. I figured a way to navigate past my problem. I just won’t directly connect my older short, I would open a new door and then find a way to work it in. It wasn’t the end all be all of this narrative, and that’s when the visuals started pouring in. I watched as the story unfolded in my mind and knew that this thing had an ending, what it was, and that it was possible for me to get it there. It is one of the most liberating feelings in the world.
So now I have to re-read the story as I’ve been away for awhile. I need to hear the voices of these characters and trust in them to take me back to the thread that leads to their world. I’m optimistic. I’m hopeful. And most importantly I’m inspired. Joe Hill and his wonderful book gave me hope and started those creative juices flowing. Don’t get me wrong, I feel that writing here and on Fan Fest are creative too, but there’s just something different in writing fiction. It’s a different type of creative and I’m getting ready to re-open the door to that this week.
I think with most of my shows being finished for the summer that I can spend the majority of my nights writing this story, and still have time to write my pieces here and at Fan Fest. Yes, it’ll be a lot of writing but I enjoy it, and it’s two different types of writing so I think I’ll be able to balance them out. Only time will tell but I’m excited about the prospect.
I’ll keep you guys updated on my progress, and hope to get back into things by the end of this week. I started re-reading what I have but I need to finish that before I can do anything else. But it’s going to happen. Of that I’m confident.
Enjoy the rest of your weekends Geeklings. May Game of Thrones not break your heart tonight. See you tomorrow for the Week In Geek.