Journal: The (ugly, unwanted) heart of the story.

This morning…a little bit downhill on the viral front.  I broke out the new gin and peach bitters last night and I feel terrible this morning.  It’s like I can’t believe that the same thing that happened to me last time (drinking even a little alcohol while I’m recovering causing me to be completely wiped out the next day) won’t happen to me this time.  And of course my inner voice is no help.  “What are you, some kind of alcoholic?”

And yet so much of my life has been, “Well, it’s been six months since you got screwed on that front.  Why not try it again?  Instead of swearing that you’ll never do it again.”

So if it’s a choice between, “Poke the boundaries and have something negative happen” and “Never poke the boundaries at all,” I have to go with the former.  But I also feel like I should be able to find a middle way that doesn’t involve being dehydrated and miserable in the morning.

This morning:  working on a story idea that I was stuck on.  Plot usually doesn’t cause me problems, but when it does, they’re doozies.  However, I backed up and went, “This isn’t actually a plot problem, but a story problem–I don’t know what the heart of this story is.”

This story is stupid and I don’t understand it!  What am I struggling with here.  Plot.  A series of logical events.  I don’t like being railroaded [by my plots].  “Now, we have to look for the killer.  It’s a whodunnit!”  But it’s not a whodunnit.

I’m struggling with keeping the reader in mind.  Tell myself a story, tell someone else a story.  I’m telling nobody a story, I’m just back at the stage of not even being able to figure out a logical sequence of events.  Yay.

What is the heart of this story?

Once upon a time, a writer had to seek revenge.  It was a horrible thing.

(Please note that I generally hate revenge stories and was both amazed to see myself writing these words and yet knew that’s exactly what it was, too.  I cut a bunch of story specifics here on the revenge plot.)

You don’t contain a berzerker by force.  You contain one by erasure.  The “Mama Bear” is the true face, not the comforting mother.  Story idea:  A female serial killer who kills the people who hurt her kids, over and over and over.

I couldn’t figure out what the heart of that story would be, and decided to move on this morning to the one that I’m already invested in.  If you’d like to claim the idea of the female serial killer who kills the people who remind her of the asshole who hurt her kids, feel free.

If you liked the blog, today I’d like you to check out my horror/dark fantasy short story collection, A Murder of Crows:  Seventeen Tales of Monsters & the Macabre.  Since I seem to be on a revengeful rampage and all this morning.

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