I did it. The story is complete.
In the end, I sat on my modus operandi for a couple of weeks, taking notes as I went. Then one fine morning I said to my husband – I need a change of scene. I’m going into town to write.
And that’s what happened. I sat in the Rainbow Cafe under the shade of a palm tree and wrote about 300 words. I fell into the voice of the character; his voice just opened up, and later when I kept writing at home, his voice remained, even after letting what I’d written rest for a few days (actually, a week).
I wrote the story in three bursts, editing as I went. The third burst started with a major reshuffle of scenes, and a clear idea that had taken shape from research I had done (bless the internet) and some wonderful intuitive writing that somehow tapped into things I didn’t know but later found out. You can’t explain that part of it.
There is the idea, the work you do to get to it, and the magic that somehow comes out when you let the work and the idea flow into words that makes the story work, that somehow fits it all together and gives that moment of yes, I did it, it’s there.
The end result is a story of 1500 words that I was so happy with I promptly sent it off to a competition, as well as handing it in for my lecturer to mark. Here is the synopsis:
An African man, duped and captured by fellow Africans in the great trade slave (great in this instance meaning large) of the 18th century, (a continuation of the ongoing domestic slavery market of the African continent), ends up in a mine in Bolivia, the Potosi silver mine, where he is trapped forever. That is the circumstance and the setting and the plot. But what really happens is in his mind; the circumstances of his capture, his guilt over his stupidity (naivety) and his cowardice at running away from the marauders when he could have still saved his wife (pregnant with his child), or at least attempted too. He thought she was dead and ran. He gives sacrifices to his adopted god, Tio, and wishes for death in the mine, but his spirit is too strong and will not abandon him. It is the story of a man in true spiritual torment. I don’t know how I managed it, but it does end on a hopeful note. It’s really about a man praying for redemption.
What excites me about it though are several things, namely those I mentioned in the previous post, as I have proved to myself that I can actually do it; but more importantly, I’ve discovered the excitement of building a story from nothing, just because I can and I want to, which is probably the most motivating thing I’ve ever accidentally or purposefully learnt about writing.
And I know I’ve written something good, and well written; the story itself excites me, which is a bonus beyond compare.