Tag Archives: depression

Writer’s Log: 1846

[RE: Iced, in reply to my editor…]

This story is one where I’m trying to put my big-boy pants on and write to a bit higher age level. It’s still not fully “adult” yet, despite the cursing.

There is one writing factor that I’ve recently been trying to internalize which I’ll be attempting to apply across the board. This is the avoidance of any explanation of a character’s mind or emotional state. The best writers somehow avoid this lazy writing and use only description and dialog to portray whatever is going on inside a characters mind. But for a neophyte writer, it’s natural to want the reader to understand precisely what character X is feeling — so why not just tell the reader?

~~~
Normally, Travis seethed with anger. He’d failed six times to finish the Iron Man race but, this morning, depression sucked him deeper into the nest of bedding he’d swum in all night.
~~~

Easy to write, but explaining this situation distances the reader. The reader doesn’t have to do any work, any distillation of the scene to understand Travis’ mind.
The problem, now, is that to convert that “telling” scene into a “showing” scene will take some doing. Will take some work on the author’s part to place Travis in a situation where these same emotions become evident through his actions and speech.

~~~
It was eleven pm and Travis still sat at the bar tapping his fingernail on his empty glass. He glared at the sportscaster describing the results from the twenty-first Maui Open. “Fuck,” he mumbled. He’d been forced to pull out of the race that afternoon, exhausted. “I should just give up, right Joe?” Joe wasn’t listening; hadn’t listened all night. Travis walked home the ten blocks and fell into fitful sleep. Cheerful Hawaiian birds woke him at dawn. He lay there, eyes wide, a frown chiseled into his face. I’m just not cut out for this, he thought.
“Get up, Trav,” his brother called from the kitchen. “So what you had to quit again. Now you know six ways the Iron Gods will beat you down.”
Travis cracked his frown, stretched it into a grimace and threw off his bedding. He swiveled upright and attached his artificial leg. “Go to hell, Drew.” He clumped from the room to start another day of training.
~~~

More writing to get the emotions out, but the reader had to figure them out, had to participate.

That is the lesson I’m trying to teach myself now.

~~~

Second attempt at version #2. Not much shorter (19 words). A few extraneous details were pulled. I like Joe ignoring him and the birds waking him up.

It was eleven pm and Travis still sat at the bar glaring at the sportscaster describing the results from the twenty-first Maui Open. “Fuck,” he mumbled. He’d been forced to pull out of the race that afternoon, exhausted. “I should just give up, right Joe?” Joe wasn’t listening; hadn’t listened all night. Travis walked home the ten blocks and fell into fitful sleep. Cheerful Hawaiian birds woke him at dawn. He lay there, a frown chiseled into his face. I’m just not cut out for this.
“Get up, Trav,” his brother called from the kitchen. “So what you had to quit again. Now you know six ways the Iron Gods will beat you down.”
Travis grimaced and threw off his bedding. He swiveled upright and attached his artificial leg. “Go to hell, Drew.” He clumped from the room to start another day of training.

 


Writer’s Log: 1570

Writing keeps me alive.

The experiment continues. A couple of months ago, death and its long ivory fingers reached unerringly for my throat. Writing, the act of writing, held them off. The effort of putting words to paper continues to do so today.

The stories that I wish to tell implore me — do not forsake us — and so, I stay the knife, the noose, the clack of pistol hammer slamming home against the breach.

But the pleading grows faint. The day-to-day grind draws its pint of life’s blood, its quart of soul from me every setting of the sun. The light turns orange and the lift I feel from the sunset’s cheery color lessens.

But the stories are relentless. They will not be, so far, denied. I rather resent them at times.

To abandon all that is this mundane daily slog and leap out, writing, would be everything I could have ever wished for. I’ve considered this act throughout this long, strange ride that is my life.

Yet here I am, an established, and dependable provider, dedicated to the mechanical production of money through the venue of software code; the ugliest, the most ineffectual end product the world has ever seen. Turn off the power and what do you have? Emptiness. That is my contribution. Despicable. These are the words that run through my mind right now — I FUCKING HATE COMPUTERS. But that sentiment is less than useful. We are here. Trapped in our digital snow globes. And the fact remains, I’m far more culpable that you. I helped create this dystopia we languish within.

But writing… It’s the only soaring vista that spreads out and returns, piercing my heart. Write. Write well and maybe all of this will not have been for naught.