Prompt 2 AKA Which story made you tear your hair out?
What is the hardest story you ever had to write? What was the easiest? And why?
Hmmm, another prompt to ponder on. Back to your pipe Data – I somehow keep expecting bubbles to come out of it in the gif. Keep watching, maybe they will.
The hardest? This is probably an easy answer – Kestrel Hunting Grounds.
Well it is and it isn’t.
Kestrel has been a joy to write. It simply sang off the pages in so many sections. It’s filled with wit and banter, McGregor escapades and Molly Cartwright lectures. So many parts have been easy. It’s the unfinished nature of it and the fact now that I’ve stalled on the concluding parts to it. It’s into the end game territory of the story. And I want to finish it but I also want to run and hide from the end too. I want to throw the crew into another little misadventure and a few more character flashbacks and a few just for the hell of it character moments of interaction. Yet these will not serve the story proper – some perhaps are necessary but I need to work those out.
Basically, bad things are soon due to happen to characters I’ve invested in writing in. Some of the characters have these really important backstories that merit being handled correctly yet I feel the story will not properly give them resolution. And I just do not know how to properly meet those expectations and standards that I want to do for them. I’ve struggled with the ending for a long time. I’ve it roughly written now – I mean roughly. And by the ending, I mean the last frames, not the chapters or the long haul of the actual story. This though was a hard thing to do because it meant deciding on a particular ending. Up until now, I had certain avenues as to where the story could go and the direction it could take and/or end on.
I’ve known since the start that a certain character has to die but now … well … it’s just harder because I’ve gotten into these characters’ heads. I’m loathes not to make the bad things happen to them. And in my personal life, I’ve dealt with some tragedy that really brings tragic death home and it has made it very, very hard to write death and grief. It might end up being cathartic to do so but I’m naturally reluctant to step into that head space.
Kestrel has always had the advantage and the disadvantage of having a large ensemble cast. The advantage is a rich stable of characters inhabiting the one story and ship. There’s so much potential. In my head at least. Infinite diversity in infinite combination seems suited to describing the motley lot. Maybe that’s vanity on my part, but I do feel they could easily make for a regular story crew, with lots of adventures. However, the nature of Hunting Grounds is such that it has become this huge thing and it needs to be finished to allow any other developments to happen.
The disadvantage of course, is trying to hit up all of the wide array of main characters and offer their stories up. Now there’s a lot (a lot!) of background characters littering the screen too and it would be great to delve into them more. Some could warrant such exploration. But the main characters have their stories to tell first. And having an ensemble piece means it is difficult to find the time for them all. McGregor gets a lot of attention but he himself has yet to feature as a point of view character in any chapter. Likewise, Rah and Stanley have not had their moment to shine. Part of that is design. Their three stories are connecting and are planned for the latter part of the story. Yet, others like Eddie and Noah, and Sebastian and Molly, oh and Dexter have yet to give their story. There’s been a lot of set up on some of these fronts and of course finishing the story means bringing some of these to resolution.
In particular, T’Vel and her son Ronak. This is my big stumbling block. I’ve got their story worked out but I feel it needs more development and room to breathe. Yet, I’m running out of story to do it properly. Given the sensitive nature of her story, I feel a particular responsibility towards depicting and handling how T’Vel’s story pans out. There’s a lot of pain in her story and it has been an arduous task for her. I want to offer her some sort of reprieve but the healing will be long and hard. And I never promised any happy endings.
The easiest? This is probably a harder answer!
Certain stories have harder story material. The original ‘A Question of Survival’ was written in one fell swoop. It just churned out. It was hard writing and hard reading but the story itself was written in the one sitting. A few other stories have come out that way too. Heck certain chapters of difficult stories (such as Kestrel) have similarly spilled out easily. Maybe it just takes getting into the right head space to write the story.
The first Rhapsody Rabbit Gavilán was a blast and a breeze to write. It perhaps did not fall out of the sky in one sitting But it was a simple short story that acted as an introduction to the Rabbit, its passengers, its crew and its master and commander Tabatha Chase.
Less of a romp were the other two introductions within the Watchtower Universe. The story of Étoile Cheval was just one large extended fight sequence really. Again, it was short and this time had the advantage of having a small cast involved. The only difficulty was making use of another author’s character creation but CamSPD was so open and excited by the use of her character in the story it turned out to be very easy indeed.
The Aegolius Harrier’s first two stories, Reputations and Duels were easy to write. Duels especially as I did not have to worry about the use of other people’s characters and I had the end scene visualised from the beginning. All the story before hand was directed towards building to the moment in the converted hanger by where Cyste Ryaenn duels with Anjek but delivers a powerful message to her crew and those doubting her ability to command them. Sometimes having such an image to target towards makes things easier as it helps to set tone and build towards an end. However, subsequent Harrier stories have hit a little bump. Additionally, the first story of Star Station Hope is written – but it ends on a cliffhanger and I can’t get started on the next part so I’m not doing that to my few readers. I punish them enough as is!
Lastly, any story though can be easier to write if it’s a work in progress if it receives reviews and feedback. It makes things so much more motivating and compelling for the author and it adds an urgency and vibrancy to the writing. It’s a whole other challenge of course but boys it is a thrill of a challenge it has to be said.