Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Finishing What Was Started Part 5, the end

Once I finished writing a screenplay for the fictitious movie, Blood Sucking Coal Miner Zombies I had absolutely no excuse not to finish my novel, Coppertown.

I've lived in Colorado for most of my life. Rather, I have lived here for far too long feeling like an outsider, an alien. I don't ski. I don't drive a Subaru, I loathe dogs. I don't care about the Broncos, the Nuggets, the Avalanche or the Rockies. In fact, I don't care about mountains, weed or fracking wells. And truth be known, I don't really like the sun.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Finishing What Was Started Part 3, the middle

I knew I was in trouble when I considered the long months I had been stalled out on Coppertown. I knew I was in trouble because of derelict condition of my thoughts about the manuscript. I also remember the moment, sometime last spring when these thoughts occurred to me.

In the spring I knew two things: I would have time come the fall and I would not be able to rejoin the manuscript with any sort of easy. It's like running a race, making it half to the finish line and then sitting down for months, or years and trying to move on after the hiatus.

What I did know was that the entire story of Coppertown revolved around the town itself. A dead Colorado mountain town that has seen it's heyday some time ago. I knew that the town had been part of the gold then silver rush then died in or around 1890. I knew the town had been the site of the 1977 film Blood Sucking Coal Miner Zombies. So, that's what I knew of the town I had manufactured for the story.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Finishing What Was Started Part 2, the end of the beginning

I have no idea why I was unable to abandon this project. I guess it's only because I worked on it for so long that I was just unable to forgo it. I'm also that type of person who has to finish something. Not everything, but everything that I've given any time to. I have begun stories that I thought might become something, but after a few scribbly-scrawly pages I ditched them. This was not the case with Coppertown. I wrote and wrote and wrote all sorts of small vignettes, then I began writing the story.

I also began to write the story many times. In a way, the entire first half of the manuscript is the beginning of the story three times.

I remember reading I, the Divine and loving that it was nothing but the first chapter written over and over and over again. It was a well thought out book and one that was well written.

Not the case with Coppertown.

If I can draw experience from all the other manuscripts I've written over the years, it is this: write them fast. I never spent less than six weeks and never more than three months on a manuscript. None of course accept this one. Something else I've learned is that the first half of a story takes about 90% of the time, and the second half goes very quickly. At least for me.

The end of the beginning has taken place for months. Every time I opened up this manuscript and began to write anew, it was, in a way, a new beginning. What a hassle.

Moral? Just write it. Sit down and do it. Don't drag it out.

Next time:
Finishing What Was Started Part 3, the middle

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Finishing What Was Started Part 1: The Beginning

I began Coppertown during the summer of 2013, in the waning days of my Portland, OR life. I wish I could sum up the time. The summer of 2013, August especially, was a whirlwind of finality. I do mean finality. The oldest date I can find for this project is August 5, 2013 when “Coppertown: First Thoughts” launched at Sophia Ballou.

First Thoughts” was not something that I continued. It was sort of a short story, mostly a little vignette about a young couple in a fabricated Colorado mountain town. The two were in a restaurant. There was some conflict and ultimately I wanted one of them to murder the other.