It’s taken four chapters of “THOD,” but I have finally found my narrative voice.
There’s nothing objectively wrong with what I’ve written previously. It’s just feels flat to me.
Last night I was working on a scene between one of the story’s protagonists, Freddy, and someone he knows briefly in his youth, a woman named Anna. (When I say “briefly,” she’s gone by the end of this chapter, never to return again.) Their brief interaction doesn’t define Freddy’s life, but it does provoke an epiphany on Freddy’s part and it informs some of his actions later in the story.
I’d been thinking about this scene for a few days, and over the weekend I took a stab at writing it, but the results lacked vibrancy. Yesterday afternoon, I saw a better approach, and I started scribbling down ideas. When I sat down and started hammering them out, the words flowed much better, and the wording felt lively. I’ve found the right distance, I’ve found the right spot.
I feel like I’ve found my voice for “THOD.”
Later: On the subway home I wrote out more longhand. I actually like writing out longhand sometimes. There’s something about the process of taking pen in hand, scribbling on paper as fast as I can but still still slower than I can type that forces me to engage with words differently.
For example, some of the articles I write for the catalog that I write for are written out, at least in part, longhand on the morning or evening commute. Believe it or not, I like writing some of that material on the train in that fashion.
Tonight, though, I wrote out a little more of “THOD.” A snatch of conversation between Freddy and Anna, and then a passage for a completely different scene, in a completely different part of the book.
This particular scene is not something that I outlined for initially. It wasn’t until last weekend, actually, that I “saw” this scene in my head. It goes near the end. I think it’s either from the penultimate chapter, or the chapter before that. It’s near the end.
I know where the scene takes place — in Washington, DC in general. A Smithsonian museum in particular. I know the two characters in the scene. Freddy is one. The other I’ve not mentioned previously.
They talk. And this is what I wrote on the train:
“Are you lost?”
“Lost? No, I’m not lost.”
“I can’t be lost, not when you’ve found me.”
“I wasn’t looking for you.”
“Well, in that case, I guess I am lost.”
The conversation continues past that point, but I won’t say where it goes.
And now, I am really enjoying writing this. Based on my previous work, this is not a story that anyone would expect from me, but then, I thrive on the unexpected. This is different, in a lot of good ways.