IIII. My Vantage Point

I’ve never worked on two major projects simultaneously before. I have friends who have done this; but they have the luxury (and weight) of relying only upon their writing for a living, and therefore have time in places where I have a Day Job.

It was, for me, an experiment. The two stories were very different. I bounced back and forth between them quite regularly, so that they were always within a few thousand words of each other. I wrote bits of one, then bits of the other, then back to the first–all the way until one came within spitting distance of its end game. Now it’s complete, at just over 20,000 words, while the other, at over 18,000 words, has a bit further to go.

What did I learn about me and my writing process during this experiment?

The two stories are, on the surface, entirely different; but thematically and tonally, they are in fact more similar than not. There’s one major structural difference. But they both utilize the same point of view (third person limited), they both are written in the same tense (past), they both unravel slowly while building tension; they both lead to unexpected places. Could I have done two pieces that were more drastically different? Could one have been a first person, fast paced, chaotically structured romp? Could one have been over-the-top from the start (not just at the end), extravagant, sharply pointed, and hyper-surreal?

In short, yes.

In long, maybe not. You see, my vantage point, as a writer, changes with time; both these stories, written concurrently, reflect my current mindset, my current approach to fiction and word play, my current condition in life, and my current place within this unimaginably vast universe. Of course, these aren’t things that change on a daily basis. But I could no more have written these stories twenty years ago than I could write my first published novel, Sins of Blood and Stone, today–the same story, the same structure, and the same characters, I still would have ended up with something else.

Both these novellas are stories of self-discovery, even as I continue to discover myself. Both of these stories have unconventional conflicts at their core, a certain non-linearity to their overall linear plots, which shows exactly where I am today. But the foundation of me, the places from which I’ve always looked at things and written things and approached things, can still be found in the underlying themes and concepts and, frankly–or more precisely, starkly–in the climaxes and denouements of each.

I’m growing as a person, growing by uneven leaps of logic and faith and experience, and it shows in what I write. So yes, obviously, if I write two things today, both those things will reflect that, even when they are entirely unique.

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