reflections on EasterCon 4: tying up loose ends

While at EasterCon last month, I set myself a challenge, as noted in reflections on EasterCon 2: the beginnings of things.  I started with an idea and I set myself the challenge of writing (the first draft of) an entire story during EasterCon.  Not surprisingly, I didn’t entirely succeed.

I spent time going to panels, talking to friends, the occasional drink in the bar, and I spent significantly less time writing than I’d intended.  But I have now finished the first draft of that story.  I will admit that I cheated a bit, in that I melded the current political news of the day with an idea I’d been playing around with for some years.

And it’s this last part I found interesting.  I have an idea.  It’s a crazy idea, an idea that anyone who read my first drafts will recognize as a genuinely bonkers idea, and it’s an idea that I’m still trying to find the right home for.  Is this current draft the right home for this idea?   Perhaps, but I’m not entirely sure.

But this now leads me down another read.  We write for particular audiences.  We each as authors have the ideas we like to explore.  And we all have a list of ideas for future projects, stories or longer, not all of which will be written.  Not all of which can be written.

But perhaps ideas are like pegs.  Some ideas are round ideas, and some stories are square holes, and round ideas can’t always be made to fit into square story holes.  I’ve tried a lot of different story possibilities for this one particular idea, and I’m not sure what the right shape of story is for this idea.

But even if the current story doesn’t work, I’ll keep trying, and I will find a good story shape for this idea.  One day perhaps it will be out there for all to read.  I’m coming to the point where I feel I’ve made a promise, not as much to myself as to this idea.  I will find it a good home.  I will do it justice.

What I find fascinating is that I don’t have the same reaction to some mathematical ideas.  There are some mathematical projects I’ve been working on for a lone time, and will never abandon.  But there are some ideas, some directions of mathematical travel, that haven’t worked, or that I haven’t been able to make work, and what I find strange, and what I have a hard time admitting, is that abandoning a mathematical idea is harder than abandoning a fiction idea.

Perhaps it’s just that it’s easier to see the flaws in a mathematical idea, the reasons it can’t be made to work, than it is for an idea for a story.  There’s a malleability to fiction, a freedom to make ideas work, that doesn’t hold for some mathematical ideas, where there is a notion of truth by which we have to abide.

~ by Jim Anderson on 14 May 2017.

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