Finding the David
Hello, blog. How are you? It’s been a long, long time.
Oh, where have I been? What have I been up to? (Nosy, nosy, eh?)
OK, OK. Here’s the deal: I’ve been finding the David.
Allow me to me explain.
You see, the concept of “finding the David” goes like this: David — as in Michelangelo’s David — has always existed. It was simply Michelangelo’s job to find him in the marble.
Michelangelo was quoted as saying, “In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”
I’ve always liked this concept, and I’ve shared it over the years with fellow scribes and students alike. It’s kinda cool to think that all of the “perfect” Davids — in my case, stories — are “out there” somewhere, floating around in the ether, just waiting to be coaxed down to earth where they’ll live a happy life thrilling and entertaining the masses. It gives me hope when I’m slogging through some of the messy parts, uncertain where I’m going. I trust that the real story exists, is out there, and I’ll channel it, at some point.
That said, I’ve also discovered that sometimes a person (this writer, anyway) can be chasing after false Davids. You know, like the knock-offs being sold at a street corner in NYC, right next to the vendor selling cheap Prada handbags. That’s really where I’ve been for the last several months, chiseling away at the marble, uncovering what I thought was my David (otherwise known as novel #3).
Luckily, I caught on. At the end of April, I knew deep in my gut that I had to start over, and all because the story I was chiseling wasn’t the real David. It was some imposter, an imposter who had stuck around for a year. No amount of hammering and polishing could turn this sucker into my David. So what did I do? I let it go, all 60,000 words of it, and started over. It was painful leading up to the decision. But I was fine once I made it, which proved to me it was indeed the RIGHT decision. And now the real David, the one for this story, is within my sights again.
OK, let’s take a deep breath and step away from this new-age sounding thing and talk specifics. Here are some of the questions people have been asking me:
Q: Didn’t it hurt a little bit, even after you ditched the 60,000 words?
A: Nope. Honest. It was the most liberating thing, and I never looked back.
Q: Not ever? You didn’t rescue any of those 60,000 words?
A: I was able to rescue some. I’d say 90 percent of what I’ve written is brand new and maybe 10 percent is stuff I brought over, but even that isn’t right, since I didn’t do a simple cut and paste. The words I brought over still needed work.
A: Because in addition to starting from scratch, I also did the following:
- I changed tenses. The current work in progress (WIP) is in past tense.
- I lost some meandering story lines.
- I gutted the entire structure.
Q: How many words are you up to now?
A: As of the writing of this blog post, I’m just over 50,000 words. So I’ve almost made up the entire amount I lost (I should hit that milestone the middle of next week).
So what have you been up to this summer?