Joel’s Journal – 11/12/2015

20151107-_JJW0647It was an interesting morning today.

A lot of times, as a writer, you’ll spend a lot of time working on a project, whether that be a short story, a feature article, or even the mother of them all, a novel, and you’ll step away from it completely proud.

It’s like you’re drunk on writing, so giddy with the fact that the fucker is finally done! Done!

And each writer has their traditions too. The same thing you do after each project is complete.

When that final key stroke is in. I take a deep breath, stare at those final words for a minute, then I go and get myself a small glass of the best scotch I’ve got in the house (full disclosure, it’s never very expensive scotch).

It doesn’t matter what time of day, as many of you know, I write in the mornings, but sometimes I’ll finish things up at night.

Morning or night, a small glass of scotch is poured, the novel is saluted and the drink goes down.

Then I put the project away from a few months and try my best to forget about it.

I got this little tip from Stephen King, who mentions a similar tactic in his memoir On Writing (an amazing book that I’ll, again, recommend to any writer). It’s like the sober second thought.

As I said, you’re drunk on the writing, the success of finishing it, it fills you with a feeling twice as strong as alcohol.

If you sat down at that moment and started reading through the story, you’d make a serious mistake, the same way you would trying to pick up a girl at the end of the night after nine Jagerbombs and a six pack.

Take a step back and let it sit.

The reason I mention this process again is because this morning I took a look at a short story I had completely forgotten about for a long time.

20151107-_JJW0636The morning started like many others do. I pushed the blankets off, grabbed my cardigan and headed to the stove to put coffee on, trying not to stumble or bump my table in my weariness.

Usually after the kettle is blipping away and the coffee is ground I’m mostly awake and I head back to bed, toss the blankets back on and grab my laptop from my bedside table.

It was during breakfast that I decided to read an old story of mine, partially out of needing something to read and partially because I want to give them a final edit before they start appearing on here.

When I went through my trunk I found one that I hadn’t set eyes on since I got back from Europe, or at least it feels that way.

It’s called “How I Know”, a horror story about a man who confronts his guardian angel, all the while fending off some other more nefarious forces.

Aside from a novella I wrote a couple years ago, this was the last horror story I wrote before my words started leaning towards a more literary bent.

Now, the mention of my writing process will make a little more sense.

When I finished this story (I wrote it all by hand on a pad of graph paper), I thought it was perfect. A god-damn literary masterpiece.

Yeah, take it easy.

It’s not a complete loss, but God the thing needs work. There’s a few holes in the plot, and a few of the characters are absolutely flat.

I’m going to fix it up for you guys. I still like the story-idea itself, I actually think it’s more akin to a plot line that should be used in a novel series or something, but I tried to squeeze it into less than 10,000 words.

Oh well, when I wrote it, generally during early European mornings or while zooming from one side of the country to the other inside speeding trains, I really had no plans to publish it anywhere.

I just wanted to write it because I had the idea, and, well, because it’s just what I do.

I’m going to finish some edits on this thing and it will be up first thing after the conclusion of Horizon’s End, which if you haven’t been following along, you should get caught up. Part 7 will be coming out tomorrow!

If you want me to give you the quick summary of Parts 1 to 5, well, I was going to say leave me a comment, but no, read the damn things! If it’s not worth your time, then drop me a comment there and let me know why, but if you like it, then tell me so.

Thanks for reading,


(Photos taken along the Grand River last weekend) 

Coming up:

Next blog: 11/13/2015

Next fiction post: Horizon’s End – Part 6 – 11/13/2015

Next writing update: 11/14/2015

Next feature post: 11/21/2015 – On skateboarding