Cutting Room

So today I did some work, and it was productive and stuff, as work should be. My third-time’s-the-charm experiment with Realm of the Myth is … well, today was the first day, and considering that it’s actually been going pretty well.

My goal today was just to take this one idea that I really liked and write down that I was not going to use it in Realm of the Myth, that it belonged somewhere else. Darlings don’t need to be killed all the time; a lot of the time they just belong somewhere else, or as the start of their own thing. This was one such instance, and once I did that I found that there were more of those ideas. A lot more. And the closer I got to the core of this story, the more I realised that not only is this a horrible, thin, shitty story, but it’s also more than one horrible, thin, shitty story. Which I already knew, but it’s one thing to know something and another thing entirely to find out that it’s actually true.

But this is good, because I’ve managed to assign some darlings to new homes, homes that I’m very happy for them to have, and I’m whittling down the mess to find the underlying pattern. I predict it’s going to be a case now of not only assigning ideas to different projects, but of splitting this project up into individual projects as well. And by the time I’m done, I think I’ll only have individual projects left, and nothing of Realm of the Myth will remain at all.

It’s kind of funny, actually, making this happen. I put so much time and hope into this thing, put it on a pedestal, imagined how it would one day be my magnum opus if only I could get it right, and now that I’m actually going through the trouble of killing/relocating darlings in order to try and find a story worth telling I’m finding that it’s other stories that are worth telling, not this one. Which makes sense. Because this is a story that I came up with when I was 14, starring characters based on me and my at-the-time best friend and our families and friends, where we could do magic, summon magical creatures to fight for us, and would have exciting adventures. It was a story I made up because I was fucking around. Which, when you’re 14, you should be doing. I don’t regret it. I just regret making more of it than it could sustain, and insisting on doing it for 15 years.

But even then, not really, because if it means I get to finally learn what it takes to take something seriously enough to give up on it, then it’s been worth it. 15 years – most people waste that much of their lives, probably, on something or other. At least this wasn’t a marriage or a business deal or a university degree. It was just some impulsive, heat-of-the-moment, wouldn’t-it-be-cool-if-this-happened self-indulgence.

And for that, it was pretty great. It shouldn’t be anything more than that. It doesn’t need to be.

And I don’t need it to be. Not anymore.

Still gonna spend the next 36 days playing around with it though because who knows what else might turn up. And because, so far, leaning in has been the most effective way of making myself realise that it’s time to finally give it up.

 

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