A Short Analysis: a Story and its Idea

A strange thing happened on the way to the end of the story: it wanted to be something else. Do you know this odd experience? Of course you do if you write. I document it here though because I’m just thinking/typing out loud: is it best to have loved and lost an idea (which became something else), or never to have had the idea at all?

Or, should I have just meekly gone along with the flow that the story wanted to be? Should I have been more forthright, trying to batter the thing into the shape I thought and expected it should take?

On the one hand, of course we should go with the flow: amazing things can happen, though a story less crystal-cut than the one imagined might be the end result. On the other hand, maybe we should beat and push and pull and sculpt the idea into the shape it is ‘supposed’ to take, inside our heads.

Today I have written, but I don’t know what the taste of what I’ve written is: is it something previously unknown and so to be mulled over, or is it something disagreeable by comparison to what it could have been? Does that imply that what has been written is lacking? Perhaps what has been written is just a different beast altogether.

I’m still thinking/typing out loud. Should I just now leave today’s written piece (notwithstanding all necessary tweaks and edits)? That is, should I even try to take the kernel of the idea that spawned this piece and use it again? Sure, ideas overlap in time, come back again and again, evolve and shift and morph; or is an idea used, an idea used, for now?

If I use an idea again so soon after its first telling in some form, does that then make the — subsequently — less elegant story of the two poor? Yes, there will be stories that are better than others, but stories too close as cousins may not sit easily together in comparison. Perhaps that’s why I don’t want to use the kernel of the idea of today’s writing again so soon.

In the end, today’s story is written. It is good because it breathes, though it will be better in a short time. That it insisted on being written one way instead of the other is, perhaps, important only for itself: the idea, poor thing, shifted out of original shape, might well be the thing that needs the looking after (bully as the story itself has been).

Tell me something . . .

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