Interweaving Narratives

Two Fridays ago, I posted my second story on our Muses blog. I…was actually really proud of it. The first story, I was excited how it turned out, but the entire day before I posted it, I was so nervous. I kept telling myself how shit it was, how no one was going to like it and I would be letting my fellow Muses down by writing something so unreadable. Yet with this story–with The Beginning to the End of the World–I was counting down the days to post it. I was so excited to share this story with the world, because I just had so much fun writing it and I was so proud to write something, once again, completely out of my normal realm.

Yet it didn’t start out that way.

When February’s prompt was first introduced, I was really excited about it. I loved all the possibilities and there was so much promise. I was eager to start writing the story and see what ways I could challenge myself. I knew off the bat that I didn’t want to write a contemporary setting, but something fantastic.

Yet I didn’t get much farther than that.

Days passed and I had adopted a new mantra, a new roadblock that was stopping everything else from moving forward. It haunted me while I slept, when I was showering, at the gym, during meals. Over and over, I would whisper and repeat my conundrum, sometimes dripping with frustration, other times, choked out as a begging plea.

Why can’t we dig here?

I had a setting. I knew my protagonist was male and snarky as hell, with questionable morals and teeter-tottering levels of sympathy and hatred from the readers (or, at least, that was the goal). I heard him, one night, while showering. So clearly in my head, he told me about the Inn he caused to burn down and the bastard he had begotten, yet wanted no association with. Later, I even woke up in the middle of the night, desperately snatched my notebook out of my bag and wrote out the first paragraph in the dark, my protagonist spoke so distinctly to me. Yet I could never shake the main issue. I could never answer my question.

Why can’t we dig here? 

A week and a half before my story was due to be posted, I made an impromptu visit home to pick up a few things. My Mom was working late and my brother was at a basketball game, so my Dad was the only one home. We don’t get a lot of 1-on-1 time and I had surprised him, so he wasn’t expecting it. We made some leftovers for dinner, went downstairs and turned on some Family Feud while we discussed college basketball and the weather. I’m still not sure how, but somehow, I weaved my struggle surrounding my short story into the conversation and explained everything to him.

And, without a moment’s hesitation, he looked at me and said, “You know what would be really cool?” before proceeding to speak for the next five minutes about hidden trees of opposing wills and the accidental uncovering of the Tree of Darkness, setting off the quest to find the Tree of Light. As he kept talking, it was like my protagonist was alerting every possible siren inside my head, shouting, “That is why we can’t dig here!”

I went home and wrote the entire story the next day.

I’m sure I could wrap up this blog post now and it would feel properly closed; a struggling writer finds inspiration by bouncing ideas off another soul and, by doing so, writes a story she actually loves and makes her deadline. Sounds like a complete arc to me.

Except this is so much more than that.

I’m very lucky to have a great relationship with both my parents; with my entire family, actually. My Dad is one of my greatest role models and utmost inspirations. Yet we haven’t always been the closest. Nothing to do with bad blood or anything of that sort–far from it. It’s just I tend to talk with my Mom more than my Dad when I visit home. In the past month, however, my Dad and I have been hanging out and talking more and more. And after he gave me the missing link to my story, I surprised him and mailed him a copy of it, after it was edited. Due to his non-existent online presence, he doesn’t read any of my blogs or see any of my work; not because he isn’t interested, he simply doesn’t have access to it. A few days later, he texted me and told me that he’d read my story and he thought it was awesome; really enjoyed the ending and the only drawback was that he couldn’t help reading it in my voice–which, if you read the story, you’ll know that my narrator’s tone is definitely not akin to mine. He then proceeded to let his entire crew read it, who also messaged me throughout the next week with fantastic feedback and support.

And we haven’t even reached the end of this arc, yet.

This past weekend, I went home to watch hoops with Dad. On our way to the grocery store to pick up some dinner, without prompting, he turned to me and asked, “So what’s this month’s prompt? Need help coming up with an idea?”

I’ve always believed in the power of words, in the awesome power that writing has. Yet to experience it firsthand…especially from my work, in such a personal way? Sometimes, I forget how real life narratives can be affected by the stories we write, read and tell. And in this case, where my writing became a springboard to help strengthen my Dad and I’s relationship?

Talk about fantastic.

Cheers

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About Nicole Evans

Nicole Evans is a writer of fantasy and science fiction. She is currently unpublished and is working fervently to get the “un” removed from that statement. She has five completed manuscripts: a trilogy about destined heroes that fail anyway, a science fiction standalone that pits the natural desire to love against the natural instinct to kill during the extinction of the human race and a new series about a writer who can't get published and gets the chance to live a life that all writers dream. She also has two scripts done. Currently, she is about to start writing the second of a nine book series while planning two more. (If you can tell, she really likes this whole writing thing.) Considering she has run out of space for putting rejections letters up on her wall, Nicole now uses her spare time doing the typical things that nerds do: blogging, dying repeatedly during video games (which she believes is retribution for the characters’ she’s killed), wishing she was the character she is currently reading about and trying to fight off the real world by living in her own head, with varying degrees of success. Nicole has a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Film and Media Studies, and works part-time as a supervisor in a library at the University of Kansas. View all posts by Nicole Evans

9 responses to “Interweaving Narratives

  • M.A. Crosbie

    This is wonderful. I love that you and your dad connected over your story! It’s such an intriguing concept, the two trees. And how cool that he’s so keen to help with the next one too 🙂

  • Jessica M

    That is so beautiful that your father is in to your writing! There is something very special about the father/daughter relationship, and how it blossoms and transitions into adulthood — same goes for the mother/daughter relationship, but that’s a different sort of relationship which undergoes a big transformation after making her a grandma 😉 But of course, you will always be his little girl, and your biggest support. And so much more awesome that he’s your writerly help, too!

    • Nicole Evans

      He’s always been really supportive about my writing (both of my parents have been), but for some reason, I’ve never really let him read any of it. Not really sure how that happened. But I’m really excited that we are going closer! 😀

      • Jessica M

        It’s a weird thing, showing our writing to our parents! I don’t know why, either? My drawings are one thing, but my writing… ugh, I’ve yet to let my father read any of my stuff. Needless to say, he’s not much into supernatural and fantasy, though he is the one that introduced me to the Hobbit when I was young 😀

  • justbmoreblog

    Loved this post! I have the same thing with my Dad-he follows my blog religiously and always comments. It’s so cute to say my Dad is my biggest fan!

  • Olivia

    I’m so glad you have a personal story of how your story and writing brought you closer to someone! The gift of storytelling, which in this day and age has been transformed into writing and publishing stories/books, is one that has brought me closer to so many people in my life. A way for ideas and opinions to be shared about something that gave you feeling and happiness.

    Also – you KILLED with your second short story. Absolutely rocked it. If you right a story about that character someday I would read it in a heartbeat :).

    • Nicole Evans

      It was just so neat; totally didn’t expect that to happen from one of my short stories but will be forever grateful that it did. Or even when you came over the other weekend and we spent the first solid 30 minutes standing by my bookshelves and salivating…storytelling is one of the greatest gifts, in my opinion. Awww, thank you!! I *definitely* want to write more with that character..whose name I don’t even know! 😛

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