On the art of towel-throwing, or how “the good parts” ruined a potential manuscript.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a towel:

Folded white towelNote its features: its innocent, unassuming shade of white; its modern, recessed, yet multifaceted stripe pattern; its more-than-likely soft, 100 percent cotton composition.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, an important and knowledgeable book if ever one has been written, will tell you to always know where your towel is. If you have not already, you should read it.

I know exactly where my towel is. Because I’m throwing it in.

As often happens when bold declarations of intent are made, this one has proven impossible for me to fulfill. My 60-day manuscript project is not going to work out, and certainly not in the time frame allotted. Why, you ask? There are numerous reasons, a few of which I will detail here.

The main reason is that I simply could not focus and give the project the attention it needed to really get off the ground. This, I have discovered, is my biggest problem as a writer. I get distracted easily. While writing this manuscript, I found myself constantly wanting to work on other projects, such as the apocalyptic fiction story I recently wrote about. I have lost count of the number of times this has happened to me, especially with this particular story.

The draft started out strong, but I found myself rushing to get to “the good parts.” You know what I’m talking about. When you are writing, there are key moments in the story that you just can’t wait to get to. Of course, you have to wait—you need to set up the novel for everyone else who doesn’t already know every detail of the story in your head.

I admit that I enjoy parts of this story more than others, and its those “others” that I kept having problems with. They are necessary parts of the story, but I found myself not wanting to actually write them. I know I will find a way to make them interesting again; however, if I as the author get bored writing certain parts, won’t you as the reader more than likely get bored reading them? That’s how I feel.

I do have several chapters of the story written, but, ultimately, I don’t feel that this is the version of the story that was meant to be. I have already started a new draft—one that utilizes several of the things I liked about this draft while implementing new ideas that occurred to me during the writing process.

This new draft will be my fifth attempt at writing this story. This time, however, I will be playing to my strengths. I am framing it as a series of interconnecting short stories, focusing on one character—or one group of characters—at a time. That way, I can keep the focus small while still telling a big story. It opens up all kinds of options and possibilities that a straightforward narrative just would not allow.

To my loving and patient wife, I apologize. I know you, more than anyone else, wanted me to finally finish the story this time. But I will. I promised you that I would finish it one day, and I am holding myself to that.


About [rlh]

Ryan L. Haddock is an aspiring writer, emphasis on the "aspiring." He mostly writes short stories, but that is only because he doesn't seem to have the attention span necessary to write a novel. At least, not yet. He is also a husband and a father . . . yet he is still struggling valiantly against the notion that he has to grow up. View all posts by [rlh]

3 responses to “On the art of towel-throwing, or how “the good parts” ruined a potential manuscript.

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