Just Write: All roads lead back to Baku


At the beginning of the year, I set out to make a sizable dent in my novel, Retribution.  In the process, I discovered that my story sucked.   As the novel stood, it was riddled with holes and contradictions.  It was over-simplified in places, too complicated in others.  It was a completely unworkable piece of garbage.

Coming to that conclusion was painful.   I was left feeling beaten and discouraged.    So, I did what any self-respecting writer would do when faced with such a situation.  I set the manuscript on fire in my outdoor barbecue and I walked away.

Oh, wait.  That’s only me?  Real writers don’t do that?

My bad.

When I walked away, I felt relieved.  It was like a huge burden had been lifted off of my shoulder.  I carried forward the hope that my creativity would once again flow freely, and I could move on to something fresh and exciting.  All I wanted to do was put this failure firmly behind me.

For a while, that’s exactly what I did – moved on.  I roughly sketched out a new story idea with a protagonist inspired by a brilliant, young biologist I know.  She has long intrigued me and it seemed like the perfect time to explore the idea of her further.   I have eight solid chapters and an opening sequence outlined.

Progress!  I’m on my way.

Right?

Wrong.

I haven’t touched this new story – I’ve tentatively entitled it The Faction – in a month.  Hell, I haven’t even told my writing group about it.

Why?

Because I can’t concentrate on it.  I find that I am holding back, hesitating.  I can’t seem to allow the story to envelop me, take root, and grow.

Why?

Because Anna won’t leave me the hell alone.

It began with a whisper –  feather soft, barely audible, across my ear.  Just a passing word carried on the wind.  Then, the noise began to build.  Its invocation more demanding, more imperious.  That whisper evolved.  Soon it turned from a hushed hum into a deafening roar inside my head.  At every turn Anna screamed at me.  She taunted me, cursed me, begged me to tell her story; to finish what I had started, to give her the vengeance that she seeks so that she may finally know peace.

I am not a spiritual person by nature, but I am superstitious and hold to the belief that there are things in this life that happen because they were meant to be.  I thought Retribution was dead.  I thought I had buried Anna and her secrets, but somehow the road has led me back to her.

Back to Baku, where her story began and where I must begin anew.  It seems Anna will not rest until I have given her what she desires most.

Retribution.

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Author: Peggy Isaacs

This is me. Is that you?

5 thoughts on “Just Write: All roads lead back to Baku”

  1. Holy crap, I know exactly what you mean. It’s probably the most frustrating thing ever to put so much time into some project and then come back to it to find the thing is straight up trash. What a suck-fest that is.

    If this Anna character keeps hounding you then you might consider giving her an audience. Working through problems with my characters can be tough, but it’s ultimately the only thing I can do to get them to shut their yaps.

    Also, you’ve just entered my running list of all-time coolest people for lighting your manuscript on fire.

    1. Yes, it is very frustrating. 154 pages! Utterly useless. I’m glad I’m not alone in this.

      And thank you. I wouldn’t recommend it, but it was good for the soul.

  2. Sigh. I’ve come to that same conclusion. Back to the bare bones. I was upset at first, but now that I’ve actually started the process, it doesn’t feel so bad. It must be done.

  3. Don’t you love being harassed by your own characters? Mine do it to me all the time. Hell, two of them are playing tug of war at the moment and guess who’s the rope?

    My suggestion, from my own experience with a similarly problematic story, is to go back to the basics with it (as painful as that might be) to figure out what worked and what didn’t, what was like ice freezing in the bedrock to split the whole apart. From there, you can probably find the flaws and figure out how to fix them and what needs to change. And don’t be afraid if that changes everything. You would be amazed at how that can lead you to a new, better place that you never expected to be in but love when you get there. Trust me on that. 🙂

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