Sunday, August 22, 2010

Aside: How do you find your story's "Heartbeat"?

This is something I'll do on occasion to keep the blog active; reference other blogs that seem meaningful and worthwhile.  Today's - Norman Partridge, author of "Dark Harvest", "Lesser Demons" and "Johnny Halloween".  He blogged recently about finding the "heartbeat" of his stories, how that looks like for him.

It really resonated with me, because I'm almost done with the first draft of my first novel - a real milestone - and it's taken over a year, but that's because all LAST summer I don't even think I was writing the novel; I was looking for its heartbeat.  I spent three months writing, thinking, taking long walks, erasing, starting over, tweaking, getting feedback, and re-writing.  

By early to mid fall, I finally found the heartbeat.  It took much longer than I expected, and hopefully as I gain a better handle on my craft, it'll take less time.

But maybe it shouldn't.  Maybe that's how really great stories are told (in my own youthful vanity, assuming I'm trying to tell a GREAT STORY) by searching and searching and searching for a heartbeat, not being content with delivering a staple, pigeonholed story that's essentially "stillborn".  Maybe it SHOULD take all that time to discover the life beating and pulsing in our stories. There'd be less stories, but maybe much better ones.  

Anyway.  Norm says it a lot better than I can, so....

American Frankenstein: The Roller Coaster's Heartbeat: "When I was a kid, I had a couple of recurring dreams. One of them involved surviving (and sometimes not surviving) a full-on zombie apocalyp..."