They say that muscle weighs more than fat, and with all of my running of late, I seem to be putting on some muscle. (After that half marathon I did last month I had aching muscles where I didn’t even know I had muscles!)

But enuf of that. I am in that curious state of muscling my stories lately. As I have noted here before, my stories tend to have a year+ development period. I may get the core of the story down quickly, even in a single setting, but then the requisite, relentless rewriting begins. And the further musing. And the general paying attention to life for little bits of reality that I might use in the story. And the tinkering. And so it seems as though a full year must pass before I have a story in what I believe is a finished state. (I could probably say the same thing about blog posts, but I don’t want to wait a year to post. A couple of weeks is long enuf.)

And for most of my stories right now, I’m in that frustrating and yet fruitful middle passage state. The plots are mostly worked out. The themes are in mind (though when themes evolve, I find my greatest burst of creativity and work). I’m just tinkering with the verbs, the images, the foreshadowing, and for the Fathers and Sons stories, the places where their interconnectedness can be worked in. I’m muscling the stories into shape. It’s a slow process.

But that’s where I am and they are. I don’t mind this, of course. Writing is rewriting, as they also say. But I miss those heady days when a new idea burns so hot in my little head that I must push everything else aside so I can work on it, actually create, actually write.

It happens. I mentioned several weeks back that a certain short story pretty much forced itself upon me and I knew I had to get a first draft down before I’d be mentally free to work on anything else. And so I did. It was a mess. But then the muscling began, and now that story is in a pretty good state. I’m going to give it some time, and come back to it repeatedly to see where I can refine it, focus it better on the underlying theme (the nature of charity), and do what I can with it. This one feels different, though. It feels as though I will have it in a finished state sooner rather than later.

Such an erratic state of being, isn’t it?


For the record, the word “enuf” is my attempt to evolve the language. I’d like to contrive a story in which I could use it so that it would be in print. You’re welcome to do the same, with “enuf” or any word of your own.

Explore posts in the same categories: Humble efforts

4 Comments on “muscling”

  1. donnaeve Says:

    Funny how writers find themselves in pretty much the same predicament, isn’t it? (i.e. my zone piece) Like you mention above, I know the overall core of my story fairly well, I can “see” it in my head, what the characters will do, and some idea of when, although, at this point, I’m not sure how the story will conclude.

    Congratulations on your half! I’ve been slowly plodding along – still not doing more than 3 days a week. Yoga the other 3. I can run pain free, but still, at night, if I get up, the first five steps or so are pretty rough. This PF has been an odd/persistent injury. A year into it now, but at least I’m about 95% better!

  2. Professional curiosity: why “enuf” in particular?

  3. Paul Lamb Says:

    Donna – define “pain free.” I sure feel agony as I’m running (mostly exhaustion, angry quads, screaming lungs).

    IC – No real reason for “enuf” in particular. I think it came from my hand written journal where I abbreviate a lot. I thought about using the word “stoopid” but I didn’t see how that was an improvement. “Enuf” is more economical.

  4. English has a long way to go to being economical, but I like the idea that enuf should be enough.

    And I’ve managed to run most of my mile-longer-than-normal route without stopping or feeling terrible after. Not so much with the writing.

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