Friday, June 14, 2013

Houston, We Have A Problem

I just counted my active project files and came up with fourteen.


What on earth ever possessed me to start so many projects while leaving so many others unfinished?

Alright, so some of these files are more “active” than others, but I didn’t even count the ones that I’ve cast into a file I’ve simply named “Black Hole”.  Some projects have grown so old, so stale, or so frustrating that I just don’t want them to escape into the light of day.  

Yet, I can’t throw them out altogether.

Part of it, sure, is sentimentality.  My writing, since I started all the way back in junior high, has matured.  At least I hope it has.  The first stumblings of a wannabe author are, just like those of a toddler, amusing and cute, but wholly unsuited to enjoyment by anyone but a parent.  One of my first efforts (thankfully lost even beyond the clutches of the “Black Hole”) plagiarized whole sections of a favorite author.  I never thought it would be published, and didn't dream of attempting to do so.  I admired the author, enjoyed those passages, and included them in my own story.  A fourteen year old’s homage.

But it’s more than sentimentality.

Having my “Black Hole” sometimes proves fruitful and even inspiring.  Working on an active project, inspiration will strike like a brick to the back of the head, and I’ll realize I’ve written something, a character, a scene, a vast landscape of descriptive text, that not only fits, but matches perfectly.

It’s better than serendipity.  It feels like the execution of a plan years, decades, in the making.


  1. The worst thing about that file, you call a black hole, is when you pull out an old project and go: Wow, okay, this is really good . . . then reach the end of what you had to realize, that there is no more to it, and the story is nowhere to be found in your head either. It is dead and no amount of flogging it will bring it back. I, too, can not ctrl-A- delete those files, even the ones that should have been cremated and their remains let out the door of airplane long ago..

    1. That is, of course, the downside. The story idea that seemed so good when you started, but only lived through a chapter or two before it became clear it couldn't carry an entire novel.