Writing Is Hard Work

Musings of a Hard Working Writer...

  • Roger Colby

Pulling Back on the Reigns

I’ve never really ridden in a horse drawn carriage much in life, (but if these gas prices keep going up I may soon do so) but I think of the horse drawn carriage as a perfect metaphor for my writing process.

Think of the horse as the wild animal of my imagination, the carriage as the finished product, and the reigns as the way I shape the imagination to do what I feel is right and good.  I have to guide the runaway animal of my imagination to do what I want it to do, but how much should I reign it in?  Get the picture?  I spend a lot of time pulling back on the reigns.

I am currently writing a post-apocalyptic satire/parody of all things biblically end times.  I started out with a very serious action-adventure story with a strapping hero who looked like Harrison Ford with a beard and had been a Lt. Colonel in the Army Rangers.  I wrote six chapters of that before becoming totally bored with it.  That horse became very tired and I had to ship him off to pasture to live out his days.  I bought a new horse, and this one is a little more free spirited, and closer to what I like to write and feel more comfortable writing: comedy.  I love the absurd, the random, and the ironic.  This horse suits me, but I have had some trouble controlling his whinny or voice.  My “hero” is now a high school graduate (barely) who used to work as a grocery store bag boy until the “big end”.

I started out writing the book in first person, then tired of that because a romance from one perspective (with the love interest I have cooked up for later) would be boring.  I then stayed in first person but from the perspective of a mysterious narrator who is telling the story ala “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” and that was just too daunting and not enough for what I needed to tell the story properly.  I have settled on an “As I Lay Dying” approach where each chapter is a different character in the story from their perspective and the reader has to piece the story together and decide which character is lying to them.

Now that I have my horse reigned in, I shall endeavor to set him apace, galloping to the conclusion that I have written in the outline.  I wrote several chapters last night and found the narrative to be fun and at the same time a challenge: just what I love. 


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