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When the Whole Is More

Something drives me as I write my newest MS – the whole must be greater than the sum of its parts.


A book can be just an assemblage of words. A compilation of character actions and reactions. A sequence of events. And when I sense that I’m reading such a book, I tend to put it down. But when the author is driving at some larger story with deeper meaning, that’s when I tend to continue read.


But how am I to know as an author when I’m writing such a book?


I guess I can’t with certainty. But I know that it must start with a germ of an idea that carries me to the end.


My current nonfiction piece is driving towards art, desperately. Frankly, I don’t know if I have enough words to make even book. But I have this distinct feeling that I’m onto something, something deeper than just being a recitation of facts that can drive it to be that thing, even if I’ve changed the format three times already. There is something artistic in what will come of it that might be daring for its genre. It must be finished.


The Tarnished Key was like that, even if I have my qualms with it. It has a larger puzzle built in that goes beyond the meaning of the story. The story itself is an exposition of sci-fi vignettes that I’ve been exposed to. But the larger puzzle has meaning.


City of Visions didn’t get there. It had the words, but not the syncopation it needed. It needs an overhaul before it can become anything. I’ll give it the treatment I gave the MS that became the foundation for The Light in Darkness.


The Light in Darkness is there, I think. I saw it in the last draft, putting the pieces of the puzzle together, connecting plot lines and story themes from beginning to end, and some union of it all. It’s beyond the hopes and dreams stage and into the reality, editing stage, where that may just break.


But all of them were driven by this idea to create something that isn’t just words on paper.

Maybe the takeaway here is to not settle. Don’t be afraid to press on when you have a good idea that may hit your highest standards. Don’t be afraid to destroy that which does not. Recreate and restart if necessary.


Make all of your works greater than the sum of their parts.

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