Wayback Wednesdays are my weekly throwback series.
Lead me to your water is the perfect companion piece to my entry from last Monday.
Four years ago, I was floundering in my professional life. I was dying inside, wanting to tell stories and calling myself a writer but having no network to observe, no training to put me in the right mindset. I think around this time I was prepping An Idol Story and believing it could be viable to submit for my grad school application. I was also talking myself into and out of applying to my grad school program, to begin with. So I was waxing poetic about what being an author really means.
Every story you write, you create a tiny world of flora, fauna, animals, vegetables, minerals, emotions, colors, feelings, and so on. It doesn’t matter if it’s placed in a fantastically magical world, or if it’s in real time, in the real world. This universe’s time stream is entirely dependent on me. I can put up the Great Wall of China, I can tear it down, I can have wars fought, ships launched, hearts were broken, all with the flick of my fingers. I can fall in love, I can fall out of love, I can examine the reasons why love is love is love.
World building is massive for me and a huge part of why I write, even if it’s a story set in the “real world” (whatever that is). I write short fiction. You must create tiny worlds in a finite amount of space regardless of the genre you write in. It does tend to work against me, because all the novelists who critique my work whine and say, “this feels like a novel! Wah-wah-wah.” Well, it’s not, so give me feedback that I can actually use. Just because you think the world I created is massive does not make the finite room I used any less important. Which is what I felt like they were saying.
Anyways, there is something powerful, God-like about thinking back on the hundreds of worlds I created over the course of my life as an author. Some of them didn’t get past the preparation period. Some of them were too grandiose even for a novel length piece. I would plot out a beginning, a middle, and an end, but not actually foresee the end. I’m confident that the lack of an ending kills most of my stories in the planning stages. I love frolicking in these worlds but I get to maybe the middle part and have to second-guess myself. I’m like, “uh, yeah, this story is the pits.” My hands hover over the page and I mutter to myself,
The entry was born out of an AskReddit thread and it was asking about the saddest realization a person has had. Freedom is born out of sadness, and that’s what made the question powerful for me.
I think that’s how God feels. You send these beautifully flawed creatures created in your image out into the world to do whatever they want, and all you can do is guide them and let them know in small ways that they exist. They’re real because they want to be.
I hold onto my stories in my vise-like grip a lot. Like, a LOT. I’m trying to be conscious of it and let it go. There is beauty in letting those stories and characters breathe and make their own decisions.
And now to the studio audience: is there anything you’ve done with your career that made you realize you were on the right path? Let me know below!