I took the weekend off from writing, and though I wanted to write yesterday, I had too much stuff to do out of the house to get anything done. I woke up this morning before my alarm, and I got to work as fast as I could, because I wanted to know what happened next in my story.
I think I have identified the complete three act structure, more or less, and I’ve also figured out how this story can loosely follow a Hero’s Journey. That’s not to say that I’m following a formula, just that understanding how those structures apply to this story will help me know where I am in the narrative when I get there, instead of having to look back a few thousand words and compare.
Last week, I thought I’d finish this up around 30,000 words, but I know it’s going to go longer than that. On the one hand, that’s cool because it means I’m putting together a much bigger story than I thought possible when I started. On the other hand, if it doesn’t all hold together, that’s a lot of words that aren’t necessarily going to see publication.
But I’m not worrying about that now. Right now, I’m enjoying every step of this process, and having a really good time as I level up my ability as a writer and storyteller. Even if this whole thing ends up being cut down by half or something, it will have been worth the time I spent writing it, and I’m pretty sure that, once it’s finished and I get some fresh eyes and perspectives on it, I can polish it up and ensure it holds together in the rewriting process.
This is a significant growth for me, personally and professionally, because as recently as two months ago, I would have been convinced that it had to be perfect and ready to publish right out of the first draft, when I know that only a select number of extremely experienced writers are capable of doing that.
So I wanted to share a little piece that I wrote today, because I think it’s neat. As always, this is a first draft and will likely change before it’s finally published:
If you go to Universal Studios now, it’s a full-on tourist destination. There are multiple high rise hotels, an epic shopping and dining area with a few dozen shops and fancy restaurants, and an actual theme park with thrill rides. In the 80s, it was much smaller. There was a single hotel, two fancy…ish restaurants (the train-themed Victoria Station, which was reachable by funicular, and Whomp Hopper’s, which was western wagon-themed for some reason) and not a single thrill ride. The entire theme park experience was just a few shows of varying quality, and the eponymous tour. A lot of people talk about how the world seemed simpler, and less complicated when they were young, and I think that could apply to Universal, but my clearest memory of it, the way that I can best describe it, is “uncluttered.” I’ve been once as an adult, and a lot of the magic I loved as a kid is just gone, and it isn’t because I’m older and know how all the tricks work; it’s just another theme park that’s too crowded, and the tour feels more like an afterthought than it did when I was a kid. But in 1983, it was amazing.
When we got off the bus, the counselors met us, and we gathered in small groups around them. Carlos told us that we’d spend the first couple hours seeing the different shows, and then we’d reconnect with the rest of the group to ride the tour. We were going to all get our own car in the tour tram, which I thought was pretty cool. There were six other kids in our group, including the red headed kid from the previous day, and a brother and sister who were fraternal twins. I can see their faces in my memory, dirty blond hair and brown eyes, braces on both of them and dark summer tans, but I can’t remember their names. It was like Michael and Michelle, or Abby and Andy, or one of those precious naming combos that yuppies in the 80s did, like giving everyone in the family the same first letter in their name.
Carlos wore what would be an ironic trucker hat today, but was entirely sincere then. His Van Halen tank top was tucked into his shorts (and if I can step out of the story for a real quick second and just say to the kids today who are romanticizing how we dressed in the early 80s: no. Just … no. Don’t make the same mistakes we did.)
I did 2032 words today, for a total of 26505. I’d keep writing because I love where I am in the story right now, but Anne and I are going to a show tonight, on a date, like adults.
And this, which I found while I was searching for a title image, is too great not to share:
I really hope this all holds together, because I love telling this story.