18 December, 2001

Well, it only took six months, but the first chapter of the prequel to The Magic Flute is finally finished. It is as finished as anything gets when one is writing. I am sure that in a week or a day I will find cause to go back to the chapter and rip it a new one. I will find every single last little thing that is wrong with it and discover that I—in fact—hate it with a passion that knows no limits.

What is that saying? Books are never finished; only abandoned.

Something like that. The saying may have been referring specifically to film; I forget. It does not matter. I am going to abandon the first chapter. I shall set it free and shall let the wolves come to devour it if they will.

The first chapter is kind of interesting and is very different from all previous drafts. Armada shows-up late in the first scene whereas before she had waited until chapter two to make her entrance. Alexander arrives halfway through the chapter and dominates the proceedings from that point forward.

In fact, the first chapter pushes into the beginning of what had always been the second chapter. This really shows the extent of the changes that are going to happen. The revised chapter two is going to span events that used to take place through chapters two, three and four. The old chapter two is going to be cut back dramatically, and chapter three is out. It does not exist any more. It was only six pages, anyway, so there is no great loss there. There will be a chapter three. Chapter five will fill the vacuum left by all the shuffling.

Not that anybody cares about any of this nonsense besides me.

There was one thing that happened late in the first chapter that left me stumped. Alexander said something totally out of character, and I didn't know what to do about it. I very quickly realized that he would never say what he said and definitely not under the conditions by which he said it. I axed the lines; no problem there. The problem was it locked me up. I didn't know how to proceed.

It was as if one of the characters acting so completely and utterly out of character had shattered my groove. I couldn't proceed. I was locked-up for two weeks and couldn't commit a single line to paper. It drove me mad.

This is supposed to be the shit draft of the prequel. What is the shit draft you ask? Well, the shit draft is the one where you simply throw words at the page letting them fall where they may. The purpose of the shit draft is to be done so that you can then begin the labor-intensive process of shaping the shit. I know. It makes your hands smell but so what? Get it done. Get it done. Get it done.

I've got a problem with the shit draft. I don't like to revise. My shit draft has this amazing tendency to be the final draft. Well, it's the penultimate draft, anyway. I will go back and hunt for typos and assorted riff-raff. So, I tell myself that I'm working on the shit draft; even though, I know that it really is the penultimate draft. The contradictory impulses drive me nuts. It's probably why I tend to sputter and start in my writing. I'll get pages and pages done and then nothing for weeks or days and then pages and pages more.

The chapter ends with some nice poetic language. I think I'm finally starting to find a balance between the density of The Magic Flute and the jabber-jawing of The Faire Folk of Gideon: Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

copyright © 2001 by keith d. jones – all rights reserved
home | books | music | fiction | spoken word | comics | journal | news