Into the Book

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I couldn’t believe it when I realized that All Right was nearly two years old. But thanks to the record here on Writing Life, I realized that All Right came into being during May of 2016 — over two years ago at this point. I wrote plenty of columns about it, too: here, here, here, and here. If you read any of these, you’ll recall some hilarious goals: finish a draft by December (of 2016!), for example. Which brings us to today. . .October 2018.

If you’re not familiar with the story, All Right is a story about time travel and opportunity, set in 1970s Northeast Georgia (Not really the 1970s, but there’s a sheen about the whole thing). Jacob, our main character, is on a quest to find home. Most of the story has changed and shifted since I first thought of it two years ago.

But there’s also some stuff that’s stuck around. Jessica’s still a main character. The whole story still has deep roots in Northeast Georgia, too. We’re still looking at time travel, alternate realities, and what-could-have-beens.We still have sassy southern fates.

And yet, more has changed than stayed the same. Jacob belongs with instead of away from Jessica — and Jacob exists, where two years ago, the main character was just a proxy for myself (always a struggle with first-person writing).

In one sense this could easily be considered a failure. All Right is over two years old, still under 10,000 words, and has a long, long way to go. But on the other hand, All Right still exists. I finally got the outline to a point where the plot makes sense. I’ve smoothed out most of the hilarious inaccuracies in the time travel. The draft is progressing and actually reads OK, so far.

The whole story still has deep roots in Northeast Georgia.

Isn’t that a win? All Right has come so far from that original seedling story: it’s grown into a real, living story with real, living characters. It steals from the Greeks, more than once, in fact. I have snapshots that root me in a time, and place, and to specific people. I have a full playlist of old, good, country music that I listen to, which slides me into the world like slipping into a pair of comfortable jeans. I have a full-fledged outline which actually works, for once.

So yeah, this writing life has been sporadic. Life in general has been sporadic: Into the Book as a whole petered out, followed shortly after by writing altogether.  2017 was a terrible year. I realized (again) that writing is, after all, just caring. And I decided to care again.

Are you along for the ride? It’ll be a little rough and bumpy in parts, but we’ll get a story out of it. It’ll be All Right. Really.

Published on 17 October, 2018. Last updated on

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