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THE EVER CHANGING STORY

Michele Amitrani

My story has a will of its own.
I mean, seriously. And it’s driving me crazy.
I must have written close to 20,000 words in the last few weeks. I’ll be lucky if I’ll be able to use a fifth of them.
Yup. Everything changes on an hourly basis.
Main characters I believed would be the backbone of the plot are gone. Other have been relocated. Few have survived.
What I believed to be something in the beginning, turned out to be something entirely different in the end, or nothing at all.
I’m writing you this while staring at pages and pages of notes I’ve spent hours on. Notes I treasured. Notes I’ll probably never use again.
I’m aware that this is called the craft of the story. It’s ninety percent writing and trashing, nine percent writing and changing and one percent writing and refining.
I wrote and published seven stories, and every time I start a new one I fell like I’ve never written any.
I fell useless. I fell lost. I fell this is probably going to be the last story I write.And then I’m rescued by the very thing I developed a love/hate for. I’m rescued by books.
I’m reading a great one, these days. It’s called ‘America Gods’, by Neil Gaiman. A clever book. Endearing. Well built. Easy to read.
And yet is not the story at all the most useful thing I found in Neil’s novel, so far. It is a sentence in its introduction.
It’s where I found out that after writing American Gods, Neil told his friend Gene Wolfe, “I have now learned how to write a novel,”
“You never learn how to write a novel,” Gene had answered. “You only learn how to write the novel you’re on.”
The man was right, indeed.
And I’ve never been more aware if this myself.